Saturday, September 19, 2015
Cana, Cancer and Change
The Friday morning Bible Study guys continued with the Gospel of John, reaching Chapter 2 and the story of the Wedding Feast at Cana.
We talked about placing ourselves in the shoes of the Bible characters to better understand their thinking. What was the servant thinking, as he asked the chief steward to taste “the water” from the jar? Was he expecting a slap for asking him to taste the water used for washing--- or had he already tasted it himself? What about the words Mary spoke --- the last quoted words of her in the Bible: “Do whatever He tells you”? Why were those words chosen as her last, and why now?
But then a thought came to me: What was Jesus thinking? Was His miracle a result of His mother’s prod? Why was He reluctant to do it, telling His mother: “My hour has not yet come”? And then I perceived an answer to my own questions, and voiced it to the group:
Jesus, as God, knew the future. And He knew that with the first public miracle He performed, the word of it would spread, and it would ultimately get the attention of the Temple high priests, and its ultimate result. I compared what Jesus was thinking and feeling to an example of our feelings: “It’s as if you haven’t been feeling well of late, and you begin to strongly suspect the cause. And then finally going to the doctor, he confirms it: ‘You have terminal cancer.’ And at those words, you can see clearly the end in sight for you; you know what will happen next. This is perhaps how Jesus felt when Mary said: “They have no wine.” She didn’t directly pressure Him, just as the doctor didn’t directly say: ‘Well, you’ll have to start chemo tomorrow.’ The doctor had already just said it’s terminal, and you didn’t need to hear anything else, because you knew the rest of the story. Maybe hearing such a diagnosis you would be reluctant to begin the road to the end: ‘But I’m feeling good right now.’ Perhaps comparably, Jesus said: ‘It’s not my time.’ But you would know, as He knew, you must begin.”
The guys got the analogy, and discussed the serious thoughts going through Jesus’ head. Perhaps He was concerned not so much with His coming pain, but that which He knew His loved ones would feel. Perhaps He didn’t wish them to start on this road of pain also. But He knew the time had come to make this decision to proceed. It was the right thing to do, however hard.
How many of us reach a similar crossroad in our life, and are reluctant to make the decision to go forward with what we know we must do? Perhaps our crossroad and decision involves one of those rare vocational changes in our life: to choose college and leave home for the first time, to choose a job in a distant location, to choose a spouse, to retire, or perhaps it is to choose to do what we know God is calling us to do --- but the change seems so hard; we are comfortable now, and so we are reluctant to begin.
But our life, all life, is a journey ending in death. We can’t pretend it is not so; we cannot stop. And we must treat each of life’s important turns like that final one; we must decide to go on, and have faith in God. No matter how much we may fear; no matter how much pain we may see ahead, still we must proceed.
He told us: “Do not be afraid; I am with you always.”
I think those were Jesus’ thoughts, as He somewhat reluctantly changed the water to wine …. And the journey began.