Life In The Kingdom of God is About A Marriage Feast of Life and Joy
Why do you think Jesus choose a wedding and the act of turning water into wine as His first miracle? I think He did so for a number of reasons, and one of them being in order to demonstrate what life in the world that He brought with Him was like. By this, we mean that Jesus brought the life and reign of the kingdom of heaven with Him to earth. One of the obvious and most appealing dimensions of life in the kingdom of heaven is joy.
Please do not get sidetracked over the morality of winemaking and wine drinking so as to miss the point of the miracle. One Baptist teetotaler pastor was asked if he believed Jesus turned water into wine and he replied, “Yes, and I always did resent him for doing it.”
Observe in the following scripture references the joy or gladness in God as Jesus described the kingdom.
He proclaimed a parable that set forth the kingdom as being like "a wedding feast for a king’s son" (Matt. 22:1-14).
He conferred the kingdom on His disciples in these words: “And you are those who have stood by Me in My trials; and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:28-30).
Matthew 13:44, "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.”
John 15:11, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”
John 16:24, “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
Romans 14:17, “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
The royal feast is one of the chief Old Testament images of the coming kingdom of God. In the Psalms and the Song of Solomon, the marriage feast pictured the joyful fellowship of the heavenly King with His people (Psalm 45; Song of Solomon 5:1). Isaiah described the messianic banquet that would take place on the mountain of the Lord. “And the Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain; A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, and refined, aged wine”(Isaiah 25:6).
Feasting is a central act in the corporate worship of God’s people. The people of God assembled for the old covenant feast at the tabernacle (Lev. 23; Deut. 14:22-29) The sanctuary was a place of feasting and joy, where the people of Israel were encouraged to eat oxen and sheep, and to drink “wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires” (Deut. 14:26)
Joy, not frivolity or silliness, but deep-seated gladness in God, is the mark of the kingdom, the ministry of the kingdom, and the final manifestation of the kingdom. Where Jesus commenced His earthly ministry, at a wedding feast by helping the server out of a mess, He concludes at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb where He is the Server!
The renown church father, Augustine, said, "The Christian should be an alleluia from head to foot." The reformer, Martin Luther said, "The Christian ought to be a living doxology." John Wesley said, "Sour godliness is the Devil's religion." T.S. Eliot notwithstanding, the world ends with neither a bang nor a whimper. The world ends with laughter -- the laughter of a wedding feast!
A joyless Christian is a libel on his Master. Lack of joy makes the Christian life even more unappealing to the unbeliever. When people look at the church they don't often see people who are full of joy. More often they see, to use the words of Earnest Gordon, "people who have managed to extract the bubbles from the champagne of life."
Joy is deep