Now we are going to a wedding feast. It is the most important wedding feast in the world. For nearly two thousand years it has been remembered. To be sure, our history books do not mention it, but the greatest of all books, the Bible, does.
This wedding caused much excitement at the little village where Nathanael lived, at the time when Jesus with his five first disciples had reached it. I think it must have been some friend or relative of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was getting married, for Mary, Jesus, and his disciples were all invited. Indeed, it would seem that for a short time Mary had been staying at Cana. We do not read of Joseph being there, and it is thought that he had died some years before.
But Jesus, his mother, and his disciples, being invited, go, and we will be unseen guests there too.
The day before had been a feverish day of preparation on the part of the bridegroom’s household, for here was to be held the feast. The walls of the large room of the house were covered with festoons of flowers and leaves, the floors covered with carpets, as well as the slightly raised platform which ran along one side. What washing and scouring of vessels there was! and among them the large pots outside which must be filled with water so that the guests may wash their feet before entering.
Is there enough wine, for many are invited, and other may join in, and the feast will probably last a week? Yes, there seems enough.
Has the bridegroom sent to the bride his presents of the bridal dress, ornaments, perfumes, and fruits? Yes, and the bride has sent her present of a long white garment which the bridegroom will wear upon each New Year’s Day and Day of Atonement.
But the bridegroom is not in this bustle, nor indeed is the bride.
They have been fasting, and they will confess their sins in prayer.
And now the evening is coming, and it is time for the bridegroom to set forth with his groomsmen to meet the bride.
The flute-players are before the door, the singers and torch-bearers too, and soon the happy throng are passing down the street, constantly being joined by neighbours, who swell the sound of rejoicing.
Now lights appear ahead. It is the bride coming. Then the shouts rise higher as the whole unite into a happy throng, the bridegroom leading the veiled bride at the head of it into his father’s house.
All the invited guests have entered. The master of the feast commands the feast to begin, and the door is shut.
On high, decked in his bridal garments, sits the bridegroom, wearing a crown of flowers.
Apart, with the maidens sits the bride dressed in her bridal garment, with its long veil covering face and figure, and wearing a wreath of myrtle leaves.
Now comes the sound of singing, then follows a rhythmic danced. Soon wine is handed around, but it is partaken of moderately. Wine is a symbol of joy and festivity, but was seldom abused by the Jews.
Thus the first day of the feast passes, but more will follow, each similar to the first. No wonder that some times, if the company proved more numerous than was expected, the supply of provisions ran short.
Excerpt from The Life of Jesus by W.R. Mitchell
Read what happens next in John 2:1-11.