Friday, February 14, 2014

Mary's Faith

  Life of Christ 24

          In Jesus' day, on the evening of a wedding, the bride walked from her father's home to her husband's home. Along the way a sort of torch lit parade developed, accompanied by music and dancing. The bride, who remained veiled, on her arrival stood with her espoused while the marriage ceremony was conducted, and then a feast was held.
          It was to just such a feast that Jesus returns when He arrives back in Galilee after being gone for almost two months, accompanied by His small band of three or four disciples. He arrives just in time to join His mother at this wedding feast to which she had been invited. Hospitality has traditionally been very important in the Middle East, and the hosts would have been mortified to run out of something. Of course, Jesus and four other men showing up uninvited might have had something to do with that too. In addition, it was customary for people to bring a gift of wine or food to such a communal event, and there is no indication that He had. So perhaps for these reasons, when the wine ran short, Mary went to Jesus and asked Him to fix the problem.
          This is very interesting to me. What caused her to think He could fix it? After all, His life hadn't yet hinted at the ability to perform miracles, and He hadn't so much as done anything other than pound nails in her experience. Well, we must remember that a mother never forgets the events surrounding the birth of her children, and the events surrounding Jesus' birth were anything but forgettable. For instance, His was a virgin birth, on the road, announced by an angelic choir, visited by complete strangers that happened to be shepherds, pronounced upon in prophecy by Simeon at the Temple, accompanied for years by a blazing star, worshipped by gift giving Magi, and finally concluded with a hasty flight into Egypt and just as hasty of a return. Not only had she seen all of these things decades ago, but events in the intervening years had only served to confirm His uniqueness, such as His interaction with the rabbis in the Temple at the tender age of 12. Additionally, for three decades she had observed Him as closely as it was possible for another human being to do so, and He had never yet done anything wrong. He had always obeyed and honored her. He had always treated His siblings with kindness and respect. He had always been diligent at school and work. In other words, she, of all people, knew He wasn't just another good man, and while she didn't know exactly what He was or would become she did know that He was different than everybody else, and that He had been sent straight from God in Heaven.
          Jesus, who has been gone for months, suddenly shows back up, with an entourage of disciples, and she puts two and two together and knows His life has shifted. What faith she shows here (John 2.1-5)! Some will say this is simply the faith a mother places in her favorite child, but I think it is much more than that. No, He had not done any miracles yet, but she knew miraculous things had happened at His birth, and it appeared that He had launched into a different life entirely, and a religious one at that. She knew He was, in every sense, an amazing man. Her faith, then, was a natural outgrowth of everything she knew about Jesus up to that point.
          Have we not also seen, in the past, God do miraculous things in answer to prayer? Do we not also know well our Saviour's ability and His love? Can we not also freely admit that we have never seen Him do anything wrong? Then can we not also trust Him with great faith to solve the intractable problems that present themselves in our lives?
          I will say it about a hundred times this year in this blog series – Jesus came looking for belief. He had found it in John the Baptist. He had found it in some of John's disciples. He had found it in some of their friends. Now He finds it, very sweetly, residing in the breast of His own mother.

          Does He find it in you?

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