sexta-feira, 16 de janeiro de 2015

THE GREAT WINE PARTY


What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee
was the first of the signs
through which he revealed his glory;
and his disciples believed in him.

John 2:11 (read 2:1-11) - NIV

 

The Jesus of the gospels was not the austere puritan like person that the church usually portrays. A cheerful, smiling, partying Jesus with goblet of wine in hand, drinking and laughing with his friends which included sinners, rarely gets attention. This was the first portrayal that the Gospel of John made of Jesus.

The first miracle that John described was Jesus saving a wedding party in Cana of Galilee! He transformed water into wine to gladden even more the hearts of the participants who were already a bit tipsy. The groom was greatly embarrassed that the wine had given out long before the end of the celebration, but Jesus saved the party and cheered the partyers by instantly making between 120 and 180 gallons of fine wine. The city became famous as the place where Jesus transformed water into wine (4.46). The ministry of Jesus in John's Gospel began and ended with wine. The last act of Jesus before he died was to take cheap wine on the cross (19.29-30).

The other gospels also portray Jesus as drinking wine with "sinners" and the disciples. He used wine as a symbol to represent his blood and described it as being part of the Kingdom.

The gospel Jesus was much more cheerful and festive than churches generally portray. To come down to us, the story of Jesus went through two language translations: from Aramaic to Greek and from Greek to English. Translation loses many plays on words (puns) of the original language. Because of that, the text comes to us sterile of humorous content. Linguistic scholars can capture bits of humor that should have left the listeners and the readers of that time roaring with laughter!

We have a hard time associating humor with holiness and envisioning a playful God. Perhaps one of the signs that God has a keen sense of humor is the creation of humans. Seeing our "antics" should leave Him (or Her) dying of laughter. We do so many absurd things worthy of provoking laughter. I’ve heard the expression "Don’t play with the things of God". Does God not play? Doesn’t He or She have fun?

We associate godliness with solemnity and lack of humor. Being playful is considered to be lightness. It is "holier" be serious, closed and demanding than friendly, open and liberal! It makes us use Coca Cola and cool aide instead of wine at church festivals. But for Jesus, the invitation to the Kingdom is an invitation to a party which includes wine! Jesus was criticized for enjoying life with sinners. But, in doing so, He was already living the Kingdom.

John Wesley said that a sad religion is a religion of the devil. Medical science recognizes that laughter, joy and a festive spirit are good for mind and body. Joy is a gift of God, and Jesus shared this joy with those around him that were willing to receive it.

 

John 2:1-11 – New International Version (NIV)

JESUS CHANGES WATER INTO WINE

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “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.”

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

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