I was listening to a sermon by Tim Keller the other day called “Lord of the Wine” which was about Jesus’ first miracle: changing water into wine (You can listen to and download the sermon by clicking here). Normally, people like to use this passage as a justification for Christians to drink, which is wildly offensive to the text (not that I disagree with that assertion, but making that the aim really trivializes the meaning of such a rich passage). Anyway, Tim talks about Jesus’ response to Mary and how it indicates that He is looking forward to His future wedding. Jesus is profoundly moved by reflecting on what is needed to purify His bride for that day. He understands that the wine of His blood must be spilled in order for His bride to enjoy wine at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Is. 25:6, Mt. 26:29).
This got me thinking, “How does my wedding measure up to the one which we will enjoy with Christ in His kingdom?” I came up with three deficiencies from my wedding, which will in no way be deficient in the feast we will enjoy with Christ (This warrants a qualification: I am in no way unhappy with my wedding. Kristin and I had a great wedding and are very satisfied with it!). So take a look at these three contrasts.
Contrasts of Our Wedding with the Marriage Supper of the Lamb:
1. No Wine
Kristin and I didn’t have one drop of alcohol at our wedding. Right off the bat my conservative Christians readers are thinking “Yeah, smart move. Alcohol consumption is evil”; whereas my liberal readers are thinking “What a couple of judgmental, conservative freaks. Don’t they know how to have any fun?” Well, you’re both wrong. We didn’t have any alcohol because we were paying primarily out of our own pockets and couldn’t afford it. Our venue charged a huge extra fee to have alcohol and then forced you to hire a bartender. We decided that it would have to be left out.
So how is this contrasted with the feast we will enjoy with Christ? There will be plenty of wine at His party. Consider what Jesus says in Matthew 26:29: “I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Why is wine important? What does it signify? In the words of Tim Keller: festival joy. Wine is important because it, especially in ancient cultures, defines the life of a party. When the wine runs out, the party is over. This is why it is so critical that Jesus turns the water into wine in John 2. He saved that party, thereby showing that He would be the life of the party at the coming feast. The presence of wine at the feast can be boiled down to represent one thing: joy! Our senses will reach an ultimate ecstasy, never experienced here on earth. Wine is a shadow, a sign that points us to the joy in which we will partake. This is secured for us because Christ poured out the wine of His blood to cleanse us for that day.
2. No Food
The second struggle on our wedding day was lack of food. Now saying that we had “no food” is a dramatization. There was SOME food. However, the guy we hired to come and do tacos only sent one employee to cook and serve 150 guests. Needless to say, his services were unquestionably deficient.
Isaiah 25:6 reads, “On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.” This verse pictures a feast which will take place in the established kingdom of God. Here, there is no shortage of food. The marrow and fat off of meat represents the best parts of it, not the gristle. This abundance of food teaches, similarly to wine, that our senses will be absolutely satisfied. A note to remember: we will not go away to heaven to enjoy the kingdom of God, the kingdom will be creation restored. Our mortal bodies will be perfected and we will eat and drink just as Jesus did after the resurrection. We will eat, not out of gluttony, but to glorify God and celebrate all that He has done for us. It is the same with alcohol; we won’t drink to be drunk, we will drink to glorify God and celebrate all that He has done for us.
3. No Time
My last point is that Kristin and I were only at our reception for about an hour and a half. For those of you who understand wedding time lines, that is ridiculously short! This is attributed to the fact that nobody was getting fed and our plan was to have our grand entrance once everyone had food. This of course didn’t work out so great.
The beauty of our festival joy with Christ will be that it never ends! Just imagine having joy that is infinitely greater than anything you’ve ever experienced for an infinite amount of time. The point is, you can’t even begin to imagine what that’s like! There will be no constraints, nothing better to do, no other places to go or people to see. We will enjoy Christ forever.
How did Jesus secure all of this for us? Through sacrifice. In our world, people are only saved from poverty when someone with more wealth sacrifices it for their sakes. We are the spiritually impoverished, so Jesus, by giving up His riches, has secured an incredible inheritance which we shall enjoy for age after age after age to come. Oh what rich blessings has the Savior secured for weary, broken sinners!
I pray that your hope would be complete in knowing all that Christ has purchased for you with His precious life!