"Calvin Miller", a party in Cana, a wedding, Jesus, looks like a laborer, Max Lucado, property on Jupiter, show off or show up, the apostles, The Book of Jesus - Calvin Miller, the harps of heaven - the parties of extortioners, walking 90 miles to go to a wedding
This article is another “chapter” about Jesus, taken from The Book of Jesus, edited by Calvin Miller. Miller, in turn, takes us to Max Lucado’s comments on Jesus attending a wedding party. The story is part of the Gospel of John, chapter 2.
I (Lucado speaking) was planning to write a chapter on twelve verses this week, but I never got past the second verse. I got stuck. The second verse wouldn’t release me. It took me hostage. I’ll tell you about it, after I set the stage.
Picture six men walking on a narrow road. The gold dawn explodes behind them, stretching shadows ahead. Early-morning chill has robes snugly sashed. Grass sparkles with diamonds of dew.
The men’s s faces are eager, but common. Their leader is confident, but unknown. They call him Rabbi; he looks more like a laborer. And well he should, for he’s spent far more time building than teaching. But this week the teaching has begun.
Where are they going? To the temple to worship? To the synagogue to teach? To the hills to pray? They haven’t been told, but they each have their own idea. . . .
Jesus lifts his hand and says softly, “We’re on our way to a wedding.”
Silence. John and Andrew look at each other. “A wedding? John the Baptist would have never gone to a wedding. Why, there is drinking and laughter and dancing . . . Why would we go to a wedding?”
Good question. Why would Jesus, on his first journey, take his followers to a party? Didn’t they have work to do? Didn’t he have principles to teach?
Wasn’t his time limited? How could a wedding fit with his purpose on earth? Why did Jesus go to the wedding?
The answer? It’s found in the second verse of John 2 (the verse I could not pass). “Jesus and his followers were also invited to the wedding.”
When the bride and groom were putting the guest list together, Jesus’ name was included. And when Jesus showed up with a half-dozen friends, the invitation wasn’t rescinded. Whoever was hosting this party was happy to have Jesus present. “Be sure and put Jesus’ name on the list,”he might have said. “He really lightens up a party.”
Jesus wasn’t invited because he was a celebrity. He wasn’t one yet. The invitation wasn’t motivated by his miracles. He’d yet to perform any. Why did they invite him? I suppose they liked him.
Big deal? I think so. I think it’s significant that common folk in a little town enjoyed being with Jesus. I think it’s noteworthy that the Almighty didn’t act high and mighty. The Holy One wasn’t holier-than-thou. The One who knew it all wasn’t a know-it-all. The One who made the stars didn’t keep his head in them. The One who owns all the stuff of earth never strutted it.
Never. He could have. Oh, how he could have!
He could have been a name-dropper: (Did I ever tell you of the time Moses and I went up on the mountain?”}
He could have been a showoff: (Hey, want me to beam you into the twentieth century?”)
He could have been a smart-aleck: (I know what you’re thinking. Want me to prove it?”)
He could have been highbrow and uppity: (I’ve got some property on Jupiter . . .)
Jesus could have been all of these, but he wasn’t.
His purpose was not to show off but to show up.
He went to great pains to be as human as the guy down the street.
He didn’t need to study, but still went to the synagogue.
He had no need for income, but still worked in the workshop.
He had known the fellowship of angels and heard the harps of heaven, yet still went to parties thrown by tax collectors.
And upon his shoulders rested the challenge of redeeming creation, but he still took time to walk ninety miles from Jericho to Cana to go to a wedding.
As a result, people liked him. Oh, there were those who chaffed at his claims. They called him a blasphemer, but they never called him a braggart.
They accused him of heresy, but never arrogance.
He was branded as a radical, but never called unapproachable.
There is no hint that he ever used his heavenly status for personal gain. Ever.
You just don’t get the impression that his neighbors grew sick of his haughtiness and asked, “Well, who do you think made you God?”
His faith made him likable, not detestable. Would that ours would do the same!
Where did we get the notion that a good Christian is a solemn Christian? Who started the rumor that the sign of a disciple is a long face? How did we create this idea that the truly gifted are the heavy-hearted? . . .
May I tell you why I think Jesus went to the wedding? I think he went to the wedding to have fun.
Think about it. It’s been a tough season. Forty days in the desert. No food or water. A standoff with the devil. A week breaking in some greenhorn Galileans. A job change. He’s left home. It hasn’t been easy. A break would be welcome. Good meal with some good wine and some good friends . . . well, it sounds pretty nice.
So off they go. . . . to Cana
His purpose wasn’t to turn the water to wine. That was a favor for his friends.
His purpose wasn’t to show his power. The wedding host didn’t even know what Jesus did.
His purpose wasn’t to preach. There is no record of a sermon.
Jesus went to the wedding because he liked the people, he liked the food, and heaven forbid, he may have even wanted to swirl the bride around the dance floor a time or two. (After all, he’s planning a big wedding himself. . .
So, forgive me, Deacon Drydust and Sister Somberheart. I’m sorry to rain on your dirge, but Jesus was a likable fellow. And his disciples should be the same. I’m not talking debauchery, drunkenness, and adultery. I’m not endorsing compromise, coarseness, or obscenity. I am simply crusading for the freedom to enjoy a good joke, enliven a dull party, and appreciate a fun evening.
It’s been awhile since I pegged Jesus as a party-lover. But he was. His foes accused him of eating too much, drinking too much, and hanging out with the wrong people!
Loosen up. Don’t you have some people to hug, rocks to skip, or lips to kiss?
Jesus took time for a party. . .shouldn’t we?
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