Rethinking Jesus: Jesus makes the party better

by Kyle
published April 25, 2015


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Since the beginning of civilization, marriage has been a cornerstone institution. Almost as long as marriage has been an institution, marriages have begun at ceremonies we call weddings. And as long as there have been weddings, weddings have gone terribly wrong.

Grooms say something stupid. Brides pass out from standing too long. Embarrassing secrets are revealed. Cakes end up places cakes shouldn’t be. Rings get lost. At the very best, the weather doesn’t cooperate.

One couple I know of ran out of wine. It seems like a constant among all the different cultural permutations of a wedding has been alcohol, and this couple had run out in the middle of the party.

They were a normal couple, but their wedding turned out to be rather special because their guest list was extraordinary. It included Jesus.

And Jesus went. To a party. With alcohol. Not only that, but they didn’t just have alcohol because they couldn’t drink the water. The wedding planner made it very clear in John 2:10 that the wine was there for the guests to get drunk. And Jesus made more of it as his first miracle.

Jesus liked a good party. He actually went to parties all the time.

Levi, a tax collector (who in Jesus’ day was more like unethical repo men), threw a party for Jesus in Luke 5. Zacchaeus, another tax collector, threw a party for him in Luke 19. In Luke 7, Jesus even goes to eat with one of the Pharisees. From the criticism the Pharisee levies against Jesus in Verse 39, I think it’s safe to assume this would be one of the same Pharisees that would have a hand in his death.

Jesus even drew criticism for how often he spent time eating and drinking with people in a social setting, ironically observing: “John [the Baptist] came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ (Matthew 11:18-19)”

What I don’t want to do is convince you that Jesus was some kind of uncontrollable party animal. He didn’t participate in any kind of debauchery. He wasn’t dancing on tables or doing shots. He did, however, seek out the company of other people. I’ve got two theories for why.

Remember Jesus loves people. You have never met a person Jesus didn’t die for. Jesus was awfully clear about his mission. He understood he had “come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10)” and that he had “not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)”

His only motive for undertaking this mission was his love for people. He called the command to love people the most important thing God ever told people to do, second only to loving God himself (Matthew 22:37-40).

How much sense, then, does it make that Jesus would seek out people to spend time with. Our priorities are revealed by how we spend our time. Jesus honestly enjoyed spending time with people he had created and loved.

But Jesus didn’t only spend time with people for his own good, but for the good of the people he spent time with. Another time Jesus stated his mission, he said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)”

Jesus doesn’t just promise heaven. Jesus promises abundant life here and now. In John 4, he calls it “a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” Jesus promised a previously unavailable access to fullness of life to people who put their trust in him. There is freedom from sin (John 8:34-36). There is direct access to God (Hebrews 4:16). There is security in knowing that nothing can ever take away that relationship with God (Romans 8:1, Romans 8:38-39, John 10:29).

Think about the wedding. Jesus not only made wine. He made good wine. Perhaps the best wine. He was concerned with the social well-being of the couple. Running out of wine and ending the party early was a social faux pas and would have colored the couple’s social life for the rest of their marriage. Jesus didn’t just cover the oversight, but did so with excellence. Jesus made the party better.

When I share the gospel, I often hear that people don’t want to give up something in their lives for Jesus. First, giving something up is not a condition of eternal life. Jesus said to believe in him. Second, the Christian life is not boring and dull. It isn’t meant to take the good things out of life, but to make the good things in life better. The evidence? When Jesus showed up at a party, the party got better. When he shows up in your marriage, your marriage gets better. When he shows up in your work, your work gets better. When he shows up in your life, your life gets better.

So here’s the question: will you put Jesus on your guest list?

What do you think?

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