I’m looking at passages that tell us the Father and Lord are looking at the big picture in our lives, rather than zeroing in on every little thing in our lives.
Lord’s Supper and the marriage proposal
In Jesus’ day, when a prospective groom wanted to become engaged to a woman he went to her house with a cup of wine. Her father and her brothers (as witnesses) then negotiated the engagement with the groom. Usually this negotiation included the dowry, the groom’s plan over the next year to prepare a home for her, the marriage ceremony details, and a contract was entered into as a result, breakable only by divorce.
When details were set the woman was called and the groom’s cup of wine was placed before her as the groom said this:
“You believe in God, believe also in me. My father’s house has many rooms, and I’m going to prepare a place for you, then I’ll return and bring you with me that where I am you may be.”
It was a common custom of the day as it is today in many parts of the world, for a groom to build a room onto his father’s house for them to live in, thus this statement. If the woman accepted the groom’s proposal she would drink the wine to seal the contract as a point of remembrance, while also looking forward to her wedding day.
In John 14:1-4 Jesus quoted these words to describe Himself going to the cross and then to His Father’s ‘house’ to prepare a place for us – the big picture. He therefore asks us to drink the wine of the Last Supper, which was done just before He said this as acceptance of our betrothal to Him, while also looking at the present through the eyes of the future marriage.
Even with the cross looming the next morning, He was pointing us to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
This is why He had also made the statement that no man knows the day of His return – in the custom of the day the timing was set by the groom’s father, eagerly keeping the secret of the timing of the wedding within himself as a surprise for the couple. The groom’s father withheld permission until the room the groom was preparing for his (His) bride was was completed, as well as the bride’s own preparations completed. Then the Father gave permission for the groom to collect his (His) bride.
Secret message imbedded
Jesus ended His time with the disciples with a command to remember Him at the Last Supper, looking backwards, yet imbedded within was a quote from the marriage custom of the day, looking forward.
What Satan and religion and we ourselves do, is separate our thoughts from the big picture to concentrate on the present ‘small’ things, to our own hurt. Throughout the New Testament the writers couple dealing with the present by looking at it through the eyes of a certain and eternal future.
Count with me now
Even as John closes the life of Jesus with coded talk of a future marriage ceremony, he started his gospel with a coded reference to a future marriage ceremony as well, through the earthly wedding at Cana. Within this story is an imbedded message about our heavenly future.
The first chapter of the Gospel of John details 4 days one after the other, the only time he does that in his whole gospel. But there is a reason.
John 1:19 starts out saying ‘And this is the record of John (Baptist)…and continues through verse 28, which concludes day 1. Day 1 is when John the Baptist is asked if he is the Messiah, which he denies.
Verse 29 says ‘The next day’, starting day 2. This is when John said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’. (Note; He took away the sin of the world, not sins. He dealt with the root sin not our individual sins, so that by paying for the sin of the world all our ‘little sins’ are automatically paid for.)
Verse 35 says, ‘The next day’, starting day 3, which is when Andrew introduces Peter to Jesus.
Verse 43 says, ‘The day following’, starting day 4 which continues to verse 51. This day Jesus invited Philip and Nathanael to become His disciples.
So we see that John 1:19-51 there are 4 days one after the other detailed for us – but why?
The answer is seen in the next verse, John 2:1 which says, “On the third day (3 days later) a wedding took place in Cana of Galilee…” This is where He turned water into wine.
In other words, we see Jesus’ activities for 4 days as detailed above, then we don’t see Him 2 days, then we suddenly see Him on day 7, the wedding at Cana.
The 7th day
John is giving us a clue to look at the big picture, not just the details of a week in the Lord’s life. In prophetic language, a day is as 1,000 years, so look at this week that way: 4 days, or 4,000 years, Christ is seen by mankind – the 4,000 years between Adam and Jesus’ ministry.
Then for 2 days or 2,000 years He is not seen. This is the time we are living in, after the Ascension but before His 2nd coming. That is 6 days or 6,000 years total.
The last day, the 7th, is a wedding and marriage supper – the 7,000th set of years, which answer to His coming and the Millennial reign of 1,000 years on the earth.
(The 6 water pots with water that was turned to wine is a picture too. They were used for washing as the text indicates, yet they were turned to wine which is a type of the blood of Christ washing us clean. Also, 6 is the number of man, or 6,000 years, showing how Christ was active in redemption throughout man’s history.)
The apostle John is led to start his gospel with a natural event of a wedding, yet imbedded a message to us to look up, look future, look at the big picture, not just at the part of life we are dwelling on now. While dealing with the here and now also remember to look up to the future event of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. This helps us understand our present lives forge within us qualities of eternal value.
When Barb was first born again, she believed on the Lord in the midst of a very dramatic set of circumstances, but that is her story to tell. Yet it serves as the backdrop to her need to know the Lord was real, that He had a plan and future for her, and out of His willingness to give her assurance He gave her this experience:
She was in an upstairs room in her house late one afternoon, looking west through some trees at the ever lowering sun and the light playing through the waving branches and leaves. Suddenly the whole wall of her house disappeared, the natural world disappeared, and she was standing in heaven with Someone she assumes was the Lord, on her right side.
She was so captivated by what she saw it never occurred to her to turn and look at Him. What she saw was a stone rectangular block house set in a yard, with flowers and plants and birds and butterflies around, the crude stone house standing starkly plain in the midst of all that color and activity. She says the blocks of stone were similar in construction to the pyramids, yet with cut outs where a door and windows would go, yet just a rectangular collection of block stones forming the outline of a house.
She asked ‘What am I looking at?’, He said, “This is your home in heaven. As you give us more to work with, we’ll build it for you.” And with that, the vision disappeared and she was back in her room.
The largest construction project in the universe
The largest construction project in the universe is the subject next week – and it is both personal in nature, and heavenly in scope. Whatever we are going through in this life there is a deeper meaning to be found, an exhortation to look up and look future, to look at the big picture. Until next week, blessings,