It all got started with a simple question: How do I really KNOW Jesus?
It’s one of those phrases that we love to throw around in church: “You need to know Jesus.” Or “You need to get closer to Jesus.” Or “If you know Jesus…” Or “For those who know Jesus…”
Then a church member challenges your cliche with an actual question: What exactly does that mean? That’s the point where the cliches have to end and the discussion begins.
We opened a Bible discussion last night at Augusta Heights, one that is geared towards giving some substance to some of these sayings. “The Lasting Supper” is about having some food, some fellowship, and some discussion that will, hopefully, last a little longer than the evening.
After last night, I’d have to say: Mission Accomplished!
We took a look at a passage from John 2, where Jesus was at a wedding. Perhaps you remember that Jesus took some dirty water jars used for “ritual washing” and filled them with wine. We figured out a few things (maybe) that we can share.
1. This story is not about whether or not you can drink: Everyone gets so caught up in the issue of whether or not Jesus drank wine that we miss the point. (Yes, Jesus did create real wine, and was hanging around a bunch of partiers. But wine is a secondary part of the story, at best).
2. Jesus wasn’t really worried about the social party conventions of the day: Focus is a major theme as Jesus goes through his life and ministry. While his mother wanted him to make sure the wine kept flowing at the party, Jesus really wasn’t concerned about it. He was thinking ahead to the bigger things that were to come.
3. Maybe Mom knew that it was time for Him to start His public ministry? A thought was raised that perhaps Mary pushed the issue, because she was telling Jesus that it was time to “leave the nest” for His ministry? Interesting thought…and interesting to note that Jesus was pretty annoyed with mom as well!
4. Jesus loves people–even when their priorities are not HIS priorities: Jesus didn’t care much about making sure the wedding reception did not run out of wine. This wasn’t his primary purpose or a major part of His work on earth. But He did it anyway. Sometimes, we do for others even when it’s not that important to us. Because THEY are important to us, as family or friends or just fellow human beings.
5. How can we possibly know how to react to all people in a Christ-like way, especially when people do not respond to this? Sometimes, people don’t understand the concept of kindness. Perhaps they’ve never really encountered it or understood it. This is the point where we have to know, in the depth of our hearts, that we are being/doing what is right. Jesus never guarantees us that others will respond.
6. Okay, so seriously: What’s the rule on this alcohol thing? Well, there really is no rule. Clearly, Jesus made wine. And it was REAL wine. And people were drinking a lot of it.
Does this make it okay for everyone to drink? Does it mean that it’s wrong for anyone to drink? No and no.
With issues like this, we have to be careful not to “major” in the “minors”. As someone pointed out Wednesday, we have great freedom in Christ. With that freedom comes great responsibility. If there is ANY danger that we might hurt Christ or hurt others, then abstinence is the best policy. But that is not an absolute policy, and we have no need to be judgmental of those who take a different policy.
Again, do what Jesus is leading & calling you to do. But be very cautious about visiting YOUR calling on someone else.
Hope to see you next Wed. at 5:45 at Augusta Heights…rumor has it that lasagna will be provided!