The fact that weíre standing here today like this, with smiles on our faces about to celebrate this particular marriage is a miracle. Thereís no good reason for this. Thereís nothing really ordinary about any wedding. When you think about all the twists and turns in peoplesí lives, decisions to move, decisions to take particular jobs, decisions to go to a particular event or not. If you think about all the ways in which something could have gone wrong, should have gone wrong, all the ways you shouldnít have clicked, it shouldnít have worked out, the impossibility of a wedding looms large. But sometimes the circumstances are even more obviously fantastic, obviously impossible.
And I donít mean that anyone doubted that you liked each other. I mean the fact that youíre standing here, your parents and siblings are all around you, and youíre in fellowship with one another. Youíre standing underneath a huge fountain of Godís grace and blessing that you donít deserve, that we donít deserve. Godís goodness is pouring out on you right now, far beyond measure, far beyond reckoning. I hope you can feel that.
But this isnít a vague, you-won-the-lottery-lucky, the point isnít to say, oh looky, sometimes things randomly turn out. No, the point is to say that there is a God and He has revealed Himself to us in Jesus. And Jesus is alive. Heís not dead. Heís not a mythological character. Heís not a figment of our imaginations. Itís not a name that we say like some kind of good luck charm or superstitious incantation. Jesus is God; Jesus came and died and rose again for our sins and for the sins of the world. Heís alive now in heaven, and He rules and reigns over all things. And ďall thingsĒ includes our lives, in every detail.
We wouldnít choose the story that God tells in our lives, but God knows better. He weaves the dark shadows into our stories so that the light of His grace and mercy shines brighter.
And what is His grace and mercy toward us? At the center, at the very core, Godís love is manifest in this: not that we loved Him but that He loved us and gave Himself for us, to cleanse us with His blood (1 Jn. 4:9-10). In the passage just read in Ephesians 5, Paul says that Jesus is the Savior of the body, and He became this Savior by loving the church and giving Himself for her, so that He might cleanse her and make her holy, spotless, without wrinkle, without any blemish (Eph. 5:23-27).
The grace and mercy of God is that Jesus heals, Jesus cleanses, Jesus forgives, Jesus takes the broken and puts them back together. Jesus takes the filthy, and He washes them off with His word. And His word is, ďYou are forgiven.Ē His word is, ďI love you. I suffered for you. I bled for you. I was condemned for you. I was mocked and spat upon for you. I was stapled, naked to a Roman cross for you. I died for you and for all of your sins.Ē Thatís how Jesus saves. Thatís how Jesus intervenes. Thatís how Jesus does His miracles.
And Jesus has done in miracles in you. Jesus has softened your hearts. Jesus has forgiven you of your sins. Jesus has lifted you out of the miry pit you found yourselves in a year or so ago, and He has set you up on the rock. Jesus didnít leave you in your sin, He didnít leave you in your hurt, in your frustration, in your shame. Jesus is alive, and we know this because He answered our prayers. He answered your prayers. He answered the prayers of your families and church family. You see, today, you two are a proof of the resurrection for all of us. Weíre all standing here today under His blessing, and thatís impossible. Thatís ridiculous.
So hereís the exhortation to both of you: Keep walking in the impossible grace of Jesus. Because hereís the thing: marriage is impossible. Being a faithful husband and father is impossible; being a faithful wife and mother is impossible. And you know all about how families frequently shipwreck and splinter into a million pieces full of bitterness and hatred and strife. And apart from Jesus, thatís what happens. But Jesus is the Captain of our salvation, and that means we donít go off of our own instincts, our own feelings, our own judgments. When we try to be our own captain, our own pilot, we steer our lives off cliffs, into ditches. But Jesus is the Good Captain, the Faithful Pilot who steers us into the way of grace.
But the way of grace looks impossible because the way of grace is ultimately the way of the cross. Itís following Jesus. And Jesus says to you, Jared, that you need to die for your wife. You need to serve her when you donít feel like. You need to be patient with her when she doesnít deserve it. You need to confess your sins to her even when she doesnít. You need to lead her and love her by dying for her daily, by forgiving her daily, by loving her like you have been loved and forgiven by Jesus.
And Janine, youíre called to do the same thing. Youíre called to die for your husband by following him, by submitting to him, by respecting him and honoring him. You need to serve him when you donít feel like it. You need to be gracious with him when he doesnít deserve it. You need to confess your sins to him even when he doesnít. You need to follow him and love him daily, by forgiving him and loving him just like you have been loved and forgiven by Jesus.
And as you do this, you continue the miracle. You continue to be a picture of Godís impossible grace. You continue to be a walking, living proof of the resurrection of Jesus. Because when people see you living and loving like that and they ask, ďhow do you do that?Ē You smile and laugh, and you say, ďWe donít. Itís a miracle. Itís Jesus who is alive and who is living in us.Ē
So thank you, Jared and Janine, for letting us share in this moment with you, thank you for letting us witness this miracle. And do us a favor: keep walking in this impossible grace, this amazing grace.
In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.