Devotional Stories to Help us Walk with Jesus:
Family, Friends—and a Problem
It was a three-day walk in the heat of a blistering sun—the walk from Bethsaida on the shores of the Sea of Galilee into the Galilean hill country—all up hill!
Hi, my name is Philip. I was among the last who were called by Jesus to follow Him. But now, all Twelve of us were ready to go! . . . Somewhere?
During those first few days on the road, we all began to learn how to walk with Jesus. Strung out along the dust-covered road, I often fell behind. I really struggled to keep up with the others. Guys, like Peter and John, had no problem keeping up. In fact, they often out-paced Jesus. Soon they realized that this was not going to work. As Jesus’ followers, they were not really following Him—a lesson we all had to learn more than once. Carefully, they slowed their pace to make sure they were always just behind Him. Along the way, Jesus talked a lot about His family and friends. Obviously, they were important to Him.
Finally, we arrived at the village of Cana. We were tired, hot and weary of our travel and not even sure of why we were here. Jesus then told us about the wedding invitation he received from a close friend of His family. Excitedly, He shared that we were all invited to the celebration.
Wow! I thought that if following Jesus meant getting invites to celebrations and feasts, then I am all-in. (I soon came to realize, however, that following Jesus was more than just having a good time. I think He was just breaking us in, kind of easy.)
The celebration, a seven-day event, was already in progress when we got to the wedding. It was a large group of people, many of whom traveled a distance. Jesus freely mingled among His friends and family, thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to talk with as many people as He could. He never missed a chance to introduce us individually to his family and friends. “Philip is my follower,” He would say proudly. Quickly, we were made to feel welcomed and part of the celebration. We were really having a great time!
Of course, we met Mary, Jesus’ mother, and His brothers and sisters. It was apparent that Mary had some kind of role in the celebration. I think she supervised the servants.
Then it happened! Mary quietly got Jesus off to the side and began in a whisper to tell Him about a problem—apparently a very serious problem the servants just told her about. I was standing next Him when all this happened.
Here’s the problem as I heard it. The groom’s family didn’t plan well for the amount of wine that was needed to meet the needs of all the guests. More guests than wine and still more days for the celebration! The wine had run out! Bad news for the groom who would be viewed at incapable of caring for the needs of his guests, and more importantly, the future needs of his wife-to-be.
As tensions mounted among the servants, what followed was apparently a small domestic tiff between Jesus and His mother. I heard Jesus say in a low voice, “It’s not my problem; and it’s not my time.” Whatever all that meant? I think He didn’t want to be the center of attention at an event that was not about him and, by doing so, embarrass His friend. I don’t know.
Anyway, Jesus saved the groom and his family from a big social embarrassment by doing something really strange to the water that was stored in six large stone jars—water that was to be used by the guests to wash their hands. Somehow, Jesus turned ordinary water into the best wine a person would ever want to drink. The celebration continued for the next few days without a hitch, with everyone overwhelmed with the quality of the wine, and most were none-the-wiser as to what happened out back in those stone jars.
After the wedding celebration and before we traveled back to the Sea of Galilee, I sat down to reflect on what I had learned as a follower of Jesus. First, I saw how much He loved His family and friends—how people truly mattered to Jesus! He thoroughly enjoyed being with them. Maybe that’s why later He called us His friends. Just maybe, that’s how it’s going to be in His Kingdom at His Wedding Celebration. Before the heavenly host, He will say with great excitement and pride, “I want you to meet my friends, my family, my followers.”
I also learned that Jesus doesn’t embarrass those He loves—his family and friends. Whatever Jesus does in my life, like He did when He provided the best wine possible, is often done quietly, yet to perfection. More importantly, I discovered He is no ordinary rabbi. As I found out during the next three years, Jesus is the Son of the Living God. There’s nothing He can’t do! (Matthew 19:26)
Look for the next parable on September 25.
As an active member of the family at Trinity, Don is a regular contributor to Trinity’s weekly eNews letter. He enjoys writing and has authored several books, including “This Ugly Disease—A Caregiver’s Journey into Pain, Anguish and Hope.” With biblical insights, his writings provide spiritual encouragement for many. His son and daughter-in-law, Graham and Susan, are also members at Trinity.