Rev Writes July 2008

Dear Friends,

Challenging Jesus

What is your picture of Jesus?  Over the last few weeks I have been challenged by one particular incident in Jesus’ life.  I can’t seem to get Jesus’ first miracle, when he changed water into wine at the wedding of Cana (John 2), out of my mind.

At first glance this miracle seems fairly standard (well, as far as miracles go).  Jesus meets an immediate need with divine intervention.  Everyone is happy and Jesus’ glory is revealed. On a symbolic level this miracle works too.  The vine was a symbol of Israel and so, with Jesus producing wine, we have a sign of culmination, of God’s promise in Israel meeting its fulfilment.  However I’m still troubled.

On that glorious occasion Jesus produced some 900 bottles of wine!  Wasn’t that such a foolhardy thing to do?  The opportunities for abuse are obvious.  Why didn’t Jesus do something safer?  Also why didn’t Jesus stand his ground when his Mother brought the lack of wine to his attention?  Remember what he said? “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come” (John 2v4). And yet Jesus seemed unable to help himself!  He loved, he saved the day and in doing so revealed who he was (and is).

I have taken such encouragement from this passage.  When I despair at my own failings, I take courage, when I see how Jesus was drawn to help.  And, praise God, Jesus is as practical today, as he was then, and his help just as transformative.

This reminds me of an incident that happened here at Christ Church just a few weeks ago. A parishioner phoned one day to say that she had just reached the end.  Her family was stuck in debt and not matter what they did or how hard they worked it never seemed to get any better.  I felt so impotent to help, and after listening said I would pray. She responded by joking that if I prayed, I could pray for something useful, like winning the lottery.  I said that although I couldn’t do that, I would pray that God would give her what she needed (and I did).  That was the Tuesday, and on the Wednesday she received notification that she had won £25,000 in a magazine competition.

Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding, he stepped in to help a family in crisis – all because both asked for his help.  This is what we all need to do all the time!  Now, we can’t dictate how he will help, instead all we can do is place our needs before him and let God be God.  But this is Jesus we are talking about – and he just can’t help himself!

God bless,