The Wedding at Cana (The Groom for the Groom)

John 2:1-11

Pastors are often asked to preach on the Wedding at Cana for weddings in their parish. It makes sense but not for the reason we might think. It is more than “Isn’t that nice, Jesus went to a wedding and we are at a wedding today.” Or “Jesus blessed the wedding as Cana so he will bless this wedding and marriage.” That’s nice, but perhaps there is something more we can mine from this text.

Did you notice that the groom got credit for Jesus’ miracle? The groom was to be in charge of making sure there was enough food and wine. He might even hire, as in this case, a master of the banquet who made sure the food was served and everything went smoothly. Well, the groom failed. There was not enough wine. Either he was unprepared and bought too little or he was cheap and tried to get by with the least amount of wine he could. Either way he came dangerously close to ruining his bride’s special day and his own family’s reputation. He failed. The groom failed.

Mary saw this coming so she tried to enlist her Son to save the night. She wanted Jesus to save the day. He is reluctant, but he turns water into wine anyway. A miracle. His first. An important event for his disciples and us. He truly is God. But when the wine comes out the master of the banquet gives all credit to the groom. “You have saved the best till last! Most people bring out cheaper wine because the guests won’t know the difference at that point in the night. But you! Oh, what a generous and wonderful man!” The groom gets credit (at first) for the Groom’s generosity. Only Mary, the servants, and the disciples realized what occurred in the moment.

Is this not exactly what happens to us sinners? We who fail are made righteous by Christ. We get credit for his righteousness! And isn’t this a perfect way to start the marriage of two sinners? Here is your righteousness: Christ. And here is how he comes to you: in his Word and Meal. There is a wedding feast every Sunday which looks forward to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb in heaven and it too involves a miracle. You are invited to this wedding banquet. Here you get credit for Jesus’ righteousness. You are forgiven. You are made righteous. Your Groom presents you, his bride, to himself without stain or wrinkle.

So what makes a strong marriage? A lot of things, but it is Christ’s forgiveness for husband and wife and through husband and wife that is essential. So the grooms out there who fail (that’s all of us) and the brides out there who fail (that’s all of them) should come to the Groom who did not. Come to his Meal and his Word. He bailed out the lazy and cheap groom at Cana already and he will bail you out in a far more important way.

Michael Berg

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