Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Ms 16, 1899

The Marriage at Cana of Galilee


February 19, 1899

This manuscript is published in entirety in 10MR 197-203.

“And the third day there was a marriage at Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.” [John 2:1, 2.] 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 1

Christ was present at the creation of the world, as Commander in the heavenly courts. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” [John 1:1-5.] Adam was appointed to be monarch of the world, under the supervision of God. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 2

“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of the tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” [Genesis 1:26-31.] 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 3

“And the Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. ... And the Lord said, It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. ... And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” [Genesis 2:7, 18, 21-24.] 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 4

He who gave Eve to Adam as a help meet performed His first miracle at the marriage festival. In this festal hall, where friends and relatives rejoiced together, He commenced His public ministry. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 5

By His presence at this gathering, our Saviour sanctioned marriage, recognizing it as an institution He Himself had formed. In the beginning, when the Sabbath law was given to man, the marriage law was also given. Then God bestowed on man His two great gifts—woman as a help meet, and the Sabbath as a day of rest. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 6

Marriage has received Christ’s sanction and blessing, and it is to be regarded as a sacred institution. True religion does not counterwork the Lord’s plans. But God ordained that woman should be united with man in holy wedlock, to raise up families who would be crowned with honor, who would be symbols of the family in heaven. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 7

Priests and popes have made laws forbidding priests to marry, and secluding them in monasteries. These laws and restrictions were devised by Satan to place men and women in unnatural positions. Thus Satan has tempted human beings to disregard the law of marriage as a thing unholy, but at the same time he has opened a door for the indulgence of human passion. Thus have come into existence the greatest evils that curse our world—adultery, fornication, the murder of innocent children born out of wedlock. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 8

Christ knew all about the human family, and at the beginning of His public ministry He gave Him decided sanction to the marriage He had sanctioned in Eden. Thus He witnessed to all that He will not refuse His presence on marriage occasions, and that marriage, when joined with purity and holiness, truth and righteousness, is one of the greatest blessings ever given to the human family. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 9

Jesus came to our world to rectify mistakes and to restore the moral image of God in man. Wrong sentiments in regard to marriage had found a place in the minds of the teachers of Israel. They were making of none effect the sacred institution of marriage. Man was becoming so hard-hearted that he would, for the most trivial excuse, separate from his wife, or, if he chose, he would separate her from the children and send her away. This was considered a great disgrace, and was often accompanied by the most acute suffering on the part of the discarded one. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 10

Christ came to correct these evils, and His first miracle was wrought on the occasion of the marriage. Thus He announced to the world that marriage, when kept pure and undefiled, is a sacred institution. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 11

The Scriptures state that both Jesus and His disciples were called to this marriage feast. Christ has given Christians no sanction to say when invited to a marriage, We ought not to be present on so joyous an occasion. By attending this feast Christ taught that He would have us rejoice with those who do rejoice in the observance of His statutes. He never discouraged the innocent festivities of mankind when carried on in accordance with the laws of heaven. A gathering that Christ honored by His presence it is right that His followers should attend. After attending this feast, Christ attended many others, sanctifying them by His presence and instruction. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 12

The feast was in progress, and an important point in the ceremony had been reached, when it was discovered that the supply of wine had failed. Mary at once went to Jesus, saying, They have no wine. She had an interest in this ceremony, and Christ had ever been to her a wise counsellor. The answer was, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” [John 2:4.] This should be, What hast thou to do with me? This was not in any sense disrespectful. Christ was always respectful, and courteous to all, but He was especially so to His mother. Christ was engaged in His Father’s work, and He must follow the dictation of no one but God. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 13

Mary understood His words as encouragement, not rebuke, and she said to the servant, “Whatsoever he saith unto thee, do it.” [Verse 5.] 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 14

“And there were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.” [Verse 6.] In those days the Jewish religion was composed largely of forms and ceremonies. A certain amount of washing was required by the law, but they carried this matter to an extreme, prescribing certain forms never required by God, and making a tedious process of that which was intended to cleanse and refresh. Seeing the stone jars standing there, Christ bade the servants fill them to the brim. This was done, and He said, “Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.” [Verse 8.] 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 15

“When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, and saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse; but thou hast kept the good wine until now.” [Verses 9, 10.] 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 16

The wine created by Christ at this time was the best wine those present had ever tasted. But it was free from all fermentation. Christ himself had forbidden the use of fermented drink, saying, “Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: t shall be a statute forever throughout your generations: and that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between clean and unclean; and that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.” [Leviticus 10:9-11.] 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 17

Fermented liquor confuses the senses, and perverts the powers God has given. He is dishonored when men have not sufficient respect for themselves to practice strict temperance. Fermented wine is not a natural production. The Lord never made it, and with its production He has nothing to do. When Paul advised Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach sake, and often infirmities, it was the unfermented juice of the grape that he meant. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 18

The use of fermented wine caused Nadab and Abihu to confuse the sacred and the common, and death was their penalty. After this severe restriction was placed on those connected with the sacred service. They were prohibited from touching wine or using grapes in any way, when they came before the Lord in sacred service, that they might avoid the consequence of becoming familiar with fermented wine. When food or drink which bewilders the brain is placed in the mouth, the destroyer sees his opportunity to enter and dethrone reason. Be assured that Paul never advised Timothy to use what the Lord had prohibited. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 19

Some who claim to be Christians clothe themselves with fig leaves and feel at liberty to use intoxicating drinks, and they claim to be in harmony with Christ in this particular. But Christ did not set the example they claim to imitate. Be assured that Christ would not have made intoxicating wine on the occasion of His first miracle. He give to those present a safe drink to give to all humanity—the pure juice of the grape. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 20

Christ never placed a glass of fermented liquor to His lips or to the lips of His disciples. Drunkenness was rare in Palestine, but Christ looked down the ages, and saw in every generation what the use of wine would do for the users. Therefore at this feast He set a right example. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 21

He did not give publicity to His action, and at first only a few knew of the embarrassment of the governor. But after the wine made by Christ was brought in, great astonishment was expressed by the guests regarding its superiority over the wine first placed before them. The knowledge of the miracle became known, and the very work Christ desired to see done was accomplished. The faith of the disciples was confirmed. This miracle was to them a convincing testimony that He was the world’s Redeemer. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 22

Christ’s future work shows the influence of this miracle. “When he was come into Galilee,” we read, “the Galileans received him, having seen all the things he did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they also went unto the feast. So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum, when he heard that Jesus was come out of Judea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son; for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman said unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; they son liveth. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 23

“And the man believed the word that Jesus spoke unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then inquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth; and himself believed, and his whole house. This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judea unto Galilee.” [John 4:45-54.] 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 24

Christ did not touch the water in the jars. He simply looked upon it, and once became like wine fresh from the cluster. Only a few days before Christ had refused to work a miracle to satisfy His hunger. He was weak and emaciated, for He had been without food for forty days and forty nights; but He would not command the stones to become bread to satisfy His appetite. To the temptation of the enemy He answered, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every world that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” [Matthew 4:4.] Neither would He accept a challenge to imperil His life by casting Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple to prove that He was the Son of God. In answer to the challenge He said, “It is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” [Verse 7.] But on the occasion of the wedding feast Christ desired to show that marriage is not forbidden by God. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 25

The divine love emanating from Christ never destroys human love, but includes human love, refined and purified. By it human love is elevated and ennobled. Human love can never bear its precious fruit until it is united with the divine nature, and trained to grow heavenward. Jesus wants to see happy marriages, happy firesides. The warmth of true friendship and the love that binds the hearts of husband and wife is a foretaste of heaven. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 26

God has ordained that there should be perfect love and perfect harmony between those who enter into marriage relation. Let bride and bridegroom in the presence of the heavenly universe pledge themselves to love one another as God has ordained they should. Let no draught of unkindness chill the atmosphere which should exist. The wife is to respect and reverence her husband, and the husband is to love and cherish his wife. As the priest of the household, the father should bind his wife and children to his heart. The wife should feel that the large affections of her husband sustain her before the children are born, and after their birth he should co-operate with her in the management of the little ones, who should be wisely, tenderly, lovingly educated. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 27

The family relationship should be sanctifying in its influence. Christian homes, established and conducted in accordance with God’s plan are a wonderful help in forming Christian character. Families here should be a symbol of the great family above. Parents and children should unite in offering loving service to Him who alone can keep human love pure and noble. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 28

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and give himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 29

“He that loveth his wife, loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth it and cherisheth it; even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” [Ephesians 5:22-33.] If this instruction had been heeded by those who enter into the marriage relation, the home life would be pure and elevated, garrisoned by a holy love. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 30

Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill its every specification. He came to pull down and destroy the works of oppression that the enemy had raised up everywhere. It was in perfect harmony with His character and work to make known the fact that marriage is a sacred and holy institution. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 31

God made from the man a woman, to be a companion and help meet for him, to be one with him, to cheer, encourage, and bless him, and he in turn to be her strong helper. All who enter into matrimonial relations with a holy purpose, the husband to obtain the pure affections of a woman’s heart, the wife to soften and improve her husband’s character and give it completeness, fulfill God’s purpose for them. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 32

Christ came not to destroy this institution, but to restore it to its original sanctity and elevation. He came to restore the moral image of God in man, and He began His work by sanctioning the marriage relation. He who made the first holy pair, and who created for them a paradise, has put His seal upon the marriage institution, first celebrated in Eden, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. 14LtMs, Ms 16, 1899, par. 33