The Master of the Banquet

I remember the first time I saw Martha. We were in Spain, at the Adventist school’s Church building during a weekday. I was helping my neighbor lead a worship choir for English speaking students. I was not going through a particularly great season in my life, and thus had zero expectations that I would be meeting my future wife. Yet, there she was. She walked in with a few friends, all dressed in running clothes, sweaty and fashionably late (please don’t tell her I wrote this). My friend greeted her, and the moment I laid eyes on her, I was forever hooked. That instant was a fitting inauguration for the next thirteen years of my life. Full of surprises, most of them good. A great adventure, sometimes exhausting but always rewarding. An intimate relationship, not free from challenges but always resulting in joy. Simply put, the jogging young woman with a smile capable of lighting the world would turn my world upside down, and I would be better for it.

In John 2, verses 2 to 11, we find the story of Jesus’ first miracle. There is a wedding banquet going on in the city of Cana. As a matter of fact, it has been going on for three days, and to the master of the banquet’s stupor, they ran out of wine. In this society, honor and community driven, this was a disgrace on many levels. Mary, the mother of Jesus, who apparently was a part of the organizing committee, decided to come to her son and see if he would be willing to do something about it. Keep in mind, John records no miracle of Jesus in the first chapter of his gospel. According to him, Jesus has done little more than collecting disciples. So when his mother comes asking for help, he pushes back and claims his “hour has not yet come”. As only mothers can do, Mary pushes forward and Jesus finds himself talking to the servants working at the banquet. He asks them to fill jars with water and serve it to the master of the banquet. Yet, when he tastes it, it isn’t water, but the best wine he’s ever had! Everyone, from the married couple to the servants, are pleasantly surprised, as the best wine was usually served first in the banquet, not last. This is Jesus' inaugural miracle in the gospel of John: saving the master of the banquet’s neck and keeping the wedding festivities alive.

What does that tell you and me about Jesus?

He is the true Master of the Banquet. His goal is not to make a somber, conveniently behaved and fearfully obedient child out of you. He wants to make your joy full and your life abundant. Everything He did and said was to redeem the good life that He created you to live.

The best is yet to come. We tend to devour what promises us a good life, but sooner or later always end up with an empty stomach. Through his inaugural miracle, Jesus promises not emptiness but a feast is waiting at the end of our story.

As we journey through March and look forward to Resurrection Sunday, let’s keep this picture in mind. Jesus did what He did because He was and is for us, not against. This Easter, remember that there is an invitation to a Banquet waiting for you. Take, open it, and answer yes as quickly as possible!’

“Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” (Revelation 19:9)

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