Thursday, April 28, 2011
Jesus smiles as he sees a friendlier crowd greeting him. He is glad of some breakthroughs he experienced a few days ago. Yes, he has performed some miracles but what makes him happier is when people believe who he is just by what he says. Like the Samaritans the other day or the famous lawyer, Nicodemus, a step closer in believing him. But when people ask him for signs to prove himself as the Son of God, he will be agitated. Worse still, some just want to watch and wonder and that’s about all. The Messiah is cautious about the hearts of men even though their faces speak of warm welcome.
“Remember, John, about the wine, whew! Excellent wine,” Peter nudges his friend. How could Canans forget that incident, the water changed into wine. Ever since that first miracle, Cana has become a tourist spot for weddings and wine. “Hey, can you not think of wine in noontime?” John elbows his side. “I was thinking about our Master, the miracle working Messiah,” Peter quickly chips in. “I wonder what will be the second miracle he would do here in Cana," he adds.
“Jesus, please heal my little boy, please, please,” the well-dressed man kneels beside the Son of God and holds on to his cloak. The disciples afraid to get near him, knowing that this man is a royal official. The Messiah helps him up and turns towards the crowd, “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe.” The people’s heads bow in silent embarrassment. They have heard and some had seen of what Jesus did in the temple at Jerusalem. He would not mince his words. Then the cries of desperation punch a hole in the air of silence. “Sir, come down to Capernaum before my child dies,” the highly-positioned man cries unashamedly. His young son is much too precious in comparison to his dignity. The man knows that time is not on his side as travelling to his hometown takes one full day.
“You may go. Your son will live,” Jesus answers his request. Those words resonate deeply in the soul of the desperate man. Jesus is his only hope! “Eh…Master, you mean you don’t need to..,” Peter gestures with his hands, trying to get Jesus’ attention. The question of ‘seeing first then believe’ or vice versa not only needs to be addressed by the masses but also by the disciples of Jesus. The Messiah grins in satisfaction when the man hurries off believing his son will indeed live. “At least one man believed my words without seeing a miracle first,” Jesus thinks to himself.
The man's heart thumps like mad when he takes the ride home in his donkey. The encounter with Jesus has built in him a bed rock of faith. There are some things he sees in the eyes of Jesus, the compassion and the authority. He looks to the heavens and utters a praise, “Thank you God, for sending Jesus to my path.” As he travels a considerable distance, he sees a servant of his on the opposite direction
“My lord, I am so glad I got you!” the servant speaks excitedly, gasping for breath. He explains to his master how his bed-ridden son just got up and asking the mother’s permission to go outside and play. Everyone in the house broke down and cried except the kid. The royal official hugs the servant, both of them in tears. “What time did the boy get up?” he asks. “About one in the afternoon,” the servant remembers vividly. It dawns on him that it was the exact time Jesus spoke those miraculous words. “Let’s go home and I will tell everyone in the house the whole story,” the man speaks enthusiastically.
When Jesus and his disciples finally arrive at Capernaum, news of the healing has been reported far and wide. The man who works in the palace has become the spokesman for the Messiah that one can trust Jesus without seeing a miracle first. That day, the second miraculous sign in Cana leads the man and his household to the Saviour. The wonder of that miracle leads them to worship the true and living God. He would not have imagined how a sickness could lead to salvation for the whole family! Indeed, Jesus deserves all the glory and honour!
(The story above is taken from John 4:43-54).
Next: Healing at the pool of Bethesda.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
“I love weddings!” shouts Peter. “I love joyous celebrations!” he continues while the rest of the disciples gobble down some traditional wedding food. “Here, have some wine,” Andrew tries to calm him down. Mary smiles at their playful attitude. “Hey guys, don’t drink too much, it's dangerous!” Jesus raises his hand in a relaxed mood.
An attendant rushes to Mary and abruptly takes her to one side. John tries to listen to what he is whispering about but he cannot make up the words. Jesus turns his face towards his mother. He sees Mary looking at him while the attendant keeps on mumbling.
“What?” Peter blurts, like someone steals that moment of joy from him. Mary goes closer to her son and says, “They have no more wine.” Moans can be heard from some followers of Jesus. She has always believed in Jesus as the Christ. Yes, miracles have not been performed yet by her Messiah son but how she prays that he can just start it off right here. “I know, son, this is just a wedding, nothing spectacularly spiritual,” Mary thinks to herself. Women always have that gentle nature of not wanting to spoil a happy occasion. On this day, to avoid a great embarrassment for the host too! That look of genuine concern of Mary can melt any heart.
“Dear woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come,” Jesus protests gently. But Jesus’ eyes give him away and she knows that he will do it anyway. The disciples may not understand the communication style in this intimate relationship between the mother and the son. “Okay, do whatever he tells you,” Mary speaks boldly to the servants. Do what? Peter and Matthew shake their heads while the rest of them look confused.
Jesus takes charge and the disciples look on curiously. “Fill those jars with water,” he orders the servants. “Master, those were for washing…” Peter gestures to get his attention. The attendants fill each of the six jars with water in obedience, not knowing what they are for. Jesus loves to see servants doing their work in such an obedient manner. I know what I am doing, Peter. This is better than outward wash. This is going to be inward joy! One day, you will understand.
“Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet,” Jesus gives further instructions. While they pour out some water, something has changed. The colour and the smell are surprisingly different. It just doesn’t look like plain water anymore. Their faces tell of awe at what has taken place but Jesus just waves them on. “What?” Peter blurts again, uncomfortable at not knowing what’s happening.
The ceremony head is seen pacing up and down looking for the servants. “Hey, there you are! The guests need more wine.” One servant passes that ‘Jesus water’ to the banquet master and he tastes it. He has drunk all kinds of wine before and when this wine touches his lips, he cannot even believe how exquisite it is. Where does it come from? He reasons in his mind. This is incredible!
He quickly takes the host aside, “My man, the bridegroom, king for the day, 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.” The bridegroom looks puzzled. He takes one sip and he let it slip down his throat slow and steady. “I can rest assure that every guest tonight is so privileged to be invited. Tell me, man! Where did you get that wine from?” the astonished master of the banquet asks. “Honestly I didn’t know anything about it. I leave everything to my relatives and friends to handle my wedding. Ask this woman named Mary,” the bridegroom replies promptly, he himself wants to know.
The lowly servants get the privilege to work for Jesus, the miracle performer! The disciples get the glimpse of what is to come in following the Son of God! The bridegroom gets the honour of providing the best wine ever in a wedding, a talk of the town of Cana for some time to come. The guests get to taste a miracle. Mary gets the satisfaction of her Messiah son doing the first miracle at her bidding. And Jesus Christ gets all the glory!
The above story is taken from John 2:1-11
Next: The Healing of the Royal Official’s Son