Summary: A Detailed Study of biblical Marriage and Divorce
Second, only to a personal relationship with God, marriage is the single most important relationship that one will ever have. It is also the most HOLY thing a person will ever do. It should be entered into like the High Priest entering into the Holy Of Holies - with reverent fear and trepidation – fully understanding the consequences of failure.
People enter into a marriage with great joy and wonderful expectations of spending the rest of their days with the love of their life. Vows are exchanged, commitments are made, and the journey of learning how to make two distinctly different individuals become one begins.
Sadly, statistical evidence has shown that a majority of all marriages end in divorce. 33% of all households in the USA are single-mom families. Household unwed co-habitation is on the rise.
What is interesting to note is that a Harvard study revealed that couples who read the Bible together regularly, pray together regularly and attend church together regularly have a divorce rate of 1 in 1287, less than one-tenth of one percent!
Contrary to popular belief, the statistical evidence also shows that, on the average, second marriages actually last four years less than the first marriage. It has been said, and I think rightly so, that marriage at its best is a struggle. In order for a marriage to continue and grow strong, it must flow in forgiveness.
First Century Marriage Customs
During biblical times it was customary for fathers to select wives for their sons. The betrothal, or engagement period, could last up to two years. On the wedding day, the bride would bathe and put on richly embroidered white robes. She would then cover her face with a veil, adorn her head with a garland of flowers, and wait for the groom to come to take her away to the wedding ceremony.
The groom, surrounded by his closest friends, would leave his home and begin his journey to pick up his bride. As they proceeded through town, the procession got bigger and bigger as people from each house they passed would join with them—until finally, they would arrive at the home of the bride's parents. Once at her home, they would both proceed to the marriage supper, or wedding feast, which could be held at either the home of the groom’s father or of the groom.
This was a joyous procession, with the invited guests singing and dancing to the sound of musical instruments as they moved through the streets. Everyone gathered together for a huge banquet, the vows would be made, and the marriage consummated. Wedding festivities would sometimes continue for up to two weeks! The joy of marriage gives a glimpse into the depths of God’s heart for the Bride of Christ!
Part 1- The First Miracle of Jesus
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, He attended a wedding in Cana in Galilee. The story is told in John 2:1-11:
“Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, ‘They have no more wine’ ‘Dear woman, why do you involve me?’ Jesus replied. ‘My time has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’
“Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water;’ so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.’
“They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, ‘Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.’” (John 2:1-10)
Jesus chose to perform His first miracle at this wedding. His transforming power, He caused water to acquire a new form. He showed Himself to be the God of nature by doing this. In the Old Testament, we see that at the beginning of Moses' miracles there was the turning of water into blood. (Ex 4:9; 7:20) By turning water into wine as the first of His miracles, Jesus was showing the difference between the Law of Moses and the law He was to preach—the law of love. The curse of the law turns water into blood; the blessing of the Gospel turns water into wine. Wine represents His spirit. Water represents our spirit. This wine was unfermented, pure with no decay. Our marriages can maintain their purity and avoid decay as we open ourselves up to being filled by the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.