For the last two parts in this mini-series, I have tried to describe how related wine is related to Jewish celebrations. I hope I have done that successfully. The first celebration I mentioned was Passover. On that day, Jewish people remember the night they became free from slavery and actual physical death by sacrificing a lamb. The wine on that night represents promises of deliverance God had given them, and also represents the blood of the sacrifice they offered.
The second celebration I talked about is a Jewish wedding. There are many parts to it, but particularly, two cups are really important. The firs cup of wine, from which the bride and the groom drank, represented the Betrothal Ceremony. After drinking from this cup, they were committed to each other and legally married. The Bride would make herself beautiful while waiting for her groom. And the groom would go away for a log period of time. When he came back, there was a big uproar on the streets. Once they gathered at the groom father’s house, they would drink from a second cup of wine. After this they would live together happily ever after.
Based on that, I would like to tell you that I am amazing, and that I know it all. I am not and I don’t. That I have read my Bible, and understand everything there is to understand about Christianity. I have, but I don’t. A friend told me a long time ago, that the reason she could never be a Christian was because Christianity could not answer all her questions. Christianity didn’t make sense…
I wish I could tell you that Christianity makes a lot of sense to me, and that it answers all my questions. But that has not been the case. A guy dying and coming back from the dead does NOT make any logical sense at all. They day I can figure God out and explain why He does or does not do things – THAT day- I won’t need God at all.
If God has to make sense at all for me to follow Him, then my approach might need a little direction. But I tell you what, My God is a faithful God. My God is a Mighty God. My God is a powerful God. You cannot put My God in a box. My God is inviting me to have a relationship with Him because He loves me – in spite of me!
And He loves you. He loves everybody. I am telling you, when you want to pursue God and really want to find Him… He shows up. Tonight, I guess, I had one of those nights.
Then [Jesus] took a cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them [the disciples], saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom
All these years I never EVER saw this. I knew the Last Supper of Jesus had happened during the celebration of Passover, or at least that’s what the writers of the synoptic gospels tell us. Now a days, however, historians are concluding that the meal Jesus had most likely was not a Passover Seeder, like the ones Jewish people celebrate now. That practice began around 70 AC based on rabbinic sources.
Seeder or not, Jesus is telling his disciples to drink from a cup that represented his blood. These were Jewish boys. They knew about the Temple, and about the Law of Moses. They knew about sacrifice and atonement for sin. Jesus is asking them to drink for the forgiveness of sins. But why? Jesus had forgiven sins before. He had healed many people before. Why in the world was He talking about pouring out His own blood for forgiveness?
Not only that, but then He tells them that He won’t drink again from that cup until He drinks it with them in God’s Kingdom. Is this making any sense to you? Am I making stuff up?
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I [Jesus] go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
The greek word for room is μονή. It represents a dwelling place. An abode. Jesus, as they drink, is inviting them to join in a wedding celebration. Their own. Jesus, as the groom, will go and prepare a place in God’s Kingdom for them. Not only for them. Jesus is preparing a place for everybody that in faith has placed his/her faith in Him as Lord and Savior. No wonder why communion is so important and full of meaning.
In the New Testament, The Church is referred as The Bride of Christ, and Christ is portrayed as the groom. God wants to be married to us. That’s why marriage is one of the most delicate and intimate relationships you can ever have with someone. That’s why God talks about sexual purity and inner purity. That is the relationship God wants with us. I am not making this up. Jewish people believe God married them at Mount Sinai, as told in My Jewish husband – Part 2.
Tonight, as I realized these things, I felt like God was smiling. If not smiling, then singing at the tune of B.T.O’s song. He totally blew my mind away…
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
B-b-b-baby, you just ain’t seen n-n-nothin’ yet…
Here’s something that you never gonna forget,
B-b-b-baby, you just ain’t seen n-n-nothin’ yet…
I am married. If I’ve learned something from following Jesus as Lord and Savior, is that you don’t quit on marriage. Marriage is hard, and even harder when you have children. But the rewards of keep on trying, keep on making peace, keep on forgiving, keep on hoping, keep on loving a spouse and children unconditionally… The rewards far exceed the sacrifice. I will never quit on you, my earthly husband. I will never quit on you, my son and daughter.
I may not understand many things, and I don’t have all the answers, but the groom I chose is coming back. He might explain things once He is here. And if He doesn’t explain, does it really matter? He’s coming back!
Of course I’m not quitting on my Jewish husband!
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.