Before my daughter married her beau in March, many asked if she invited me to ‘perform the ceremony’, and they did, but I said I would rather be DAD. I wanted to watch her stand giddy next to the man with whom she wants to spend her whole life. I wanted to see him look at her and smile as her eyes lit up when he promised his heart – for a lifetime. But truthfully, when the vows were exchanged, I did not want to accidentally call her by her mother’s name or accidentally replace a name with the family dog – either.
But you know, there is one dad in Scripture with whom I related as we prepared for that day. There was a dad at wedding feast in Cana that could have seen their joyful feasting turn into a nightmare (John 2:1ff). Jesus’ mother Mary discovered that the wedding provisions had practically been depleted. While most Americans might worry about cake. However, for that father of Cana, it would have been “a social faux pas that would become the subject of jests for years (since) the host was responsible to provide his guests with adequate wine for seven days” according to some resources. Seven hours, I get that. Seven days. Wow.
Additionally, “the women’s quarters were near the place where the wine was stored; thus, Mary learns of the shortage of wine before word reaches Jesus and the other men. Her words probably suggest that Jesus should do something (since) guests were to help defray the expense of the wedding with their gifts. It seems that their friend needs some extra gifts now” (from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993).
Had it not been for Jesus’s mother finding out and Jesus Himself gifting this miracle, the fond memory of these parents for a beautiful wedding for their daughter would have unraveled to a fiasco that likely would have made them a laughingstock among neighbors and sharp-tongued gossips too. I am certain that father was grateful without fully appreciating the scope of how lucky he was that Jesus had been invited. Jesus saved the day.
So, in my wedding sermon I would have said, “we invited Jesus here today!” The reason is because…
We invited Jesus to her life when she was born. We brought her, with her brothers, to hear His word and celebrate His worship. We read to her Bible stories and sang songs of worship as we drove down the road. We held hands when we prayed. We laughed. We cried. And we felt the broken heart and the brokenness of the world in which we were raising her – but we wanted her to know Jesus, to follow Jesus and to love Jesus.
And we invited Jesus to our family time and vacations. We would stop for worship along the way and meet Christians we had never met. We would battle the skip services for “convenience” because “no one will know” syndrome but because Jesus had already been invited, we tried to put Him first in front of our children always. I’d never say temptations never came, but we tried to bring Jesus along every day – doing on vacation what we would want other Christians to know we did. In our home, we prayed around our meals. But we also argued – even the father of the bride. And when I spoke harshly – or incorrectly – I had to acknowledge that if Jesus was going to be invited to her wedding, I had to invite Him to my home to stay and then apologize. Every man (woman and child) needs to see that. Jesus needs to be the reason you love your wife. He needs to be the reason that you stay together. And He will be the reason that your marriage will be to you all God ever intended it to be. But, you have to invite Him now.
So, I invited Jesus to my daughter’s wedding not because I was afraid we would run out of cake or coffee. I wanted Jesus to be there for them so that when they ran out of love, of hope, of kindness, forgiveness and compassion, Jesus would be there for them – as He has been for me – to help me supply in me what keeps running low. Marriage was God’s idea. And it will be everything our hearts really need and everything we need to experience. But if you forgot to invite Him to your own wedding or even now realize that He is missing in your marriage, Jesus takes late invitations. Even if it is “the day of” He will come to those whose hearts realize marriage is all about finding in each other what God has found in us.
Invite Jesus now to your marriage. That’s what I would have said because He would indeed, as He did in Cana, save that day – and every day thereafter.