Wednesday, August 11, 2010

21 Days: Day 2 (A wedding and a rant)

Did you miss the first post?
If you'd like to follow along with the short and easy devotionals, click here to download the .pdf

We missed each other last night, so we all got up before William went to work to do our devotional together.  It was nice!  Today we read John 2.  Before we started, I clarified a mistake I made: The gospel of John was not written by John the Baptist.  I did a little bit of research yesterday because I wasn't confident with that analysis.  Since it was written aproximately 69-90 AD, it could not have been written by John the Baptist, who was beheaded by Herod!  It is most likely authored by "John the Beloved" Jesus's disciple.  My family was very forgiving - hopefully you will be too!  ;)

In John chapter 2, we read of Jesus's first miracle, and possibly his most famous (not to mention controversial in Christian circles today!)  Turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana.  One of the things that struck me is that this was 3 days after Jesus had his first "converts" and not only was he invited to the wedding, but so were his disciples.  Having been a wedding planner for 10 years, I'm struck by the cultural differences - I mean, can you imagine a typical bride today including an extra 3 people just a few days before the wedding?  The caterer would have already gotten the totals!  Not to mention that it's an extra (insert outrageous price per head here, multiplied by 3)  And what about favors - would she have enough?  Would she have to rework her entire seating chart?  Oh the pressure - it might just make her go Bridezilla!

I don't know about you - but I'd love to return to a culture that throws open the welcome to new people, a concept of "the more the merrier"!  So anyway, back to the study :)

I am also intrigued by the way Jesus speaks to his mother, addressing her as "woman".  I have an 11 year old son - I can assure you if he addressed me as "woman", it would not bode well for him!  But Mary just turns and tells the servants "do what ever he tells you".  That's my kinda lady!

They took 6 vessels, holding 20-30 gallons and filled them with water.  Now my mind is perhaps a little too inquisitive, but I wondered what a 30 gallon container looked like:

the one on the right is a 30 gallon drum
These must have been strong servants, and it must have taken  them a while!  I wonder if they grumbled or if they just filled them quickly, wodnering what was going to happen next?  Anyway, the water was changed, the headwaiter was impressed and word began to spread about Jesus.

The next thing that is interesting is that Jesus and his Disciples went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover.  The last meal they had together (3 years later) was also passover.  I think this shows that Jesus continued to practice the commands of the festivals, a tenet of the Jewish faith.  It makes me wonder, if Jesus did it, should we?  I have many friends who attend Passover Seders hosted by local Messianic Jewish congregations.  They are committed to honoring the "Jewish heart of Christianity".  At any rate, we should at least be more knowledgeable about the feasts (what, Old Testament relevance? LOL)

So back to the text :)  While Jerusalem was swollen with people, the Temple was ready for business.  They money changers and sellers were there, ready to accomodate those who came less than prepared or had lost their offering on the way.  At first glance, this seems like a good idea.  I mean, shouldn't everyone have a chance?  And some have said that the reason Jesus was so upset is because of gouging - they were charging too much and not giving a fair price.  I don't find that - He is very clear "stop making my Father's House a place of business!"  Ouch - I am instantly reminded of food courts and gift shops in some "mega-churches".  I know many of them donate the profits to missions or the hungry and the poor, but it still makes me wonder if we're following the heart of God.

Another thing that I've always loved about this passage is verse 15:
And He made a scourge of cords

Jesus was crafty!  OK, I know, He was a carpenter by trade, so obviously He was talented!  The thing about this is, it was not a "spur of the moment", "lost in passion" decision.  He made a scourge of cords. \He had to secure materials, put it together and return.  Even if this was done "quickly", it still would have taken some time.  This is further example of His "zeal"

fervor for a person, cause, or object; eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic diligence; ardor.
In the devotional we are encouraged to seek a deeper zeal (or passion) for our church, our church family and the Gospel.  I asked Calvin if there was anything in his life that he had "zeal" for.  He replied "Karate."  When we prayed, he asked God to "help me find it in myself to have more zeal for church."  I love it!  We didn't even "talk to him" about this, just simply asked a question and let him ponder the verse and what his current passion was. 

We're off to do Day 3 - I'll talk to you tomorrow!

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