Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903)


Ms 126, 1903

Christ at the Marriage Feast


October 26, 1903 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in CD 436-437; Te 18; CTr 229; 10MR 204-207.

“And the third day there was a marriage in 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.] 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 1

The joyous festivities of a Jewish wedding were preceded by solemn religious ceremonies. In preparation for their new relationship, the parties performed certain rites of purification and confessed their sins. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 2

A most interesting part of the ceremony took place in the evening when the bridegroom went to meet his bride and bring her to his home. At the house of the bride a company of invited guests awaited the appearance of the bridegroom. As he approached the cry went forth, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” [Matthew 25:6.] The bride, clothed in pure white, her head encircled with flowers, received the bridegroom, and, accompanied by the guests, they went from her father’s house. By torchlight, with impressive display, with sounds of singing and instruments of music, the procession slowly proceeded to the house of the bridegroom, where a feast was provided for the guests. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 3

For the feast the best food that could be secured was provided. Unfermented wine was used as a beverage. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 4

It was the custom of the time for marriage festivities to continue several days. On this occasion, before the feast ended, it was found that the supply of wine had failed. When a call was made for more wine, Jesus’ mother, thinking that He might suggest something to relieve the embarrassment, came to Him and said, “They have no wine.” [John 2:3.] 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 5

Jesus replied, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.” [Verse 4.] 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 6

Jesus loved and honored His mother, and His words were not spoken disrespectfully. Notwithstanding His reply, Mary felt assured that He would do something to help them in their perplexity. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 7

The active part that Mary took in this feast indicates that she was not merely a guest, but a relative of one of the parties. As one having authority, she said to the servants, “Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.” [Verse 5.] 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 8

“And there were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing about two or three firkins apiece. Jesus said unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them to the brim.” [Verses 6, 7.] 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 9

Christ did not touch the water, nor approach the jars. He simply said to the servants, “Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine,” with glad surprise he said to the bridegroom, “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 8-10.] The bridegroom made no reply. He knew not whence this wine had come. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 10

In answer to the inquiries that arose, the servants gave an account of the miracle by which water had been changed to wine of the purest flavor. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 11

The action of Christ at this time was left on record for all ages, that men might see that Christ did not fail even in such a perplexity as arose on this occasion. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 12

Yet He never worked a miracle to help Himself. A few days before this He had refused to satisfy His own hunger by changing a stone into bread at Satan’s suggestion. He refused to work a miracle to supply His own necessities; He refused to secure popular favor by casting Himself from the dizzy height of the temple into the surging crowds below, saving Himself from injury by the exercise of His divine power. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 13

“This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory, and His disciples believed on Him.” [Verse 11.] This action increased the confidence of these humble fishermen whom He was preparing to lay the foundation of His new kingdom. Throughout Palestine an interest was awakened in Christ and His work. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 14

Christ’s Example of Temperance

When the temperance question is agitated, and the need of reformation urged, some refer to this miracle as an instance where Christ sanctioned the use of fermented wine. But the wine that was created by this miracle was not fermented wine. It was the pure juice of the grape. Christ never by word or act sanctioned the use of fermented wine. At the sacramental service, He used neither leavened bread nor fermented wine. He it was who instructed the wife of Manoah, “Drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing.” [Judges 13:4.] 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 15

The father of John the Baptist was visited by an angel who instructed him concerning his son that should be born, “He shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.” [Luke 1:15.] 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 16

The necessity of strictly temperate habits was outlined to John, of whom Christ said, “Among them that are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist.” [Matthew 11:11.] John lived in the wilderness, where he would not be molded by the habits and practices of society or even of the Jewish church. As the forerunner of Christ, he was to lift his voice in rebuke of sinful practices. Many, even of the priests and rulers, came to him to be baptized, and he addressed them all as sinners. He condemned their course in departing from right principles. They were riotously eating and drinking and indulging in sinful practices. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 17

The pure juice of the grape, free from fermentation, is a wholesome drink. But many of the alcoholic drinks which are now so largely consumed contain death-dealing potions. Those who partake of them are often maddened, bereft of their reason. Under their deadly influence men commit crimes of violence and often murder. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 18

Christ was the perfect pattern for the gospel medical missionary. He came to seek the lost sheep, to save souls ready to perish. In answer to the charge that He ate with publicans and sinners, He replied, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” [Mark 2:17.] Christ understood the laws of health. He partook of simple food and only ate that which would preserve the body in a condition of health. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 19

The early Christians were especially instructed to preserve sobriety, to be temperate in all things. No Christian will take into his system food or drink that will cloud his senses, or that will so act upon the nervous system as to cause him to degrade himself, or to unfit him for usefulness. The temple of God must not be defiled. The faculties of mind and body should be preserved in health, that they may be used to glorify God. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 20

It was by eating that which God had forbidden that man lost his right to Paradise. In preparing for Paradise restored, it is necessary that man should bring perverted appetite under strict control. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 21

The indulgence of depraved appetite weakens the power to resist evil. Satan is enabled to fasten upon man evil habits, ensnaring him in the net of his devices. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 22

The Home School

By His presence Jesus honored the marriage ceremony. The active interest that He manifested on this occasion showed that He came not to put a cloud over the happiness of the family and the guests. Jesus was in full sympathy with the pure joy to be found in this occasion. By His presence He showed Himself to be in harmony with the blessed institution of marriage. And He gave His sanction to every gathering that is pure, and lovely, and of good report. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 23

Jesus did not enforce celibacy upon any class of men. He came not to destroy the sacred relationship of marriage, but to exalt it and restore it to its original sanctity. He looks with pleasure upon the family relationship where sacred and unselfish love bears sway. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 24

The family on earth should be a type of the family in heaven. The home that is beautified by love, sympathy, and tenderness is a place that angels love to visit and where God is glorified. The influence of a carefully guarded Christian home in the years of childhood and youth is the surest safeguard against the corruptions of the world. In the atmosphere of such a home, the children will learn to love both their earthly parents and their heavenly Father. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 25

The husband is to be the “house-band,” the priest of the family. Like Abraham, he is to be a faithful instructor of his household. And he is to cherish and respect the mother as the guide and educator of their children. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 26

The education of the child for good or for evil begins in its earliest years. The children should be taught that they are a part of the family firm. They should be trained to act their part in the home. They are not to be continually waited upon; rather they should lighten the burdens of father and mother. As the older children grow up, they should help to care for the younger members of the family. The mother should not wear herself out, by doing work that her children might do and should do. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 27

Parents, fit your children to become members of the Lord’s family. Give them an education such as they can continue in the school above. Do not allow them to be careless or disrespectful. Unless you discipline yourselves, you will be unable properly to discipline your children. Train the voice, that you may cultivate a kindly tone. Refrain from all scolding and fretting. In the home no unkind words should be heard. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 28

Let the clothing for your children be simple, and such as can be easily made and frequently changed, that they may cultivate a love for cleanliness and order. Ruffles and ornaments are unnecessary. Their care consumes precious time and brings unnecessary worry, thus tending to create an atmosphere of gloom and sadness. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 29

O how many more souls might be saved to enter the kingdom of Jesus Christ if parents would do thoroughly the work that should be done in the home school! 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 30

In some cases it would be better if children had less work in the school and more training in the performance of home duties. Above all else they should be taught to be thoughtful and helpful. Many things to be learned from books are far less essential than the lessons of practical industry and discipline. 18LtMs, Ms 126, 1903, par. 31