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. John 2:1-2
Today is my birthday! I’m not embarrassed to say I have reached the ripe age of 57 because, to be honest, it’s with the grace of God I’ve made it this far. I love birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Valentines’ Day, baby showers, you name it. If it’s a celebration I’m in.
Maybe it’s that my fellow celebrators have decided, like me, to take a few hours off from the trials and tribulations of the world. For our annual celebrations, it’s also a way of thanking God we’ve made it through another year with His grace and provision.
God certainly made us a people intended to celebrate. In the Old Testament there are seven major festivals for the chosen people to celebrate. That didn’t even include weddings and births. On top of that, the Sabbath, was in effect, a weekly celebration to take time and honor God.
For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:5
If you’ve never watched the show, The Chosen, you should definitely check it out. There are so many great episodes but one of my favorites is the famous wedding in Cana. To watch what Jesus would have been like at such a blessed time and see his disciples join the celebration really brought home the human side of Jesus.
It’s unfortunate there are Christian sects who consider celebrations sinful. They certainly haven’t read the same Bible I have which as we progressed through the events of the New Testament, we were given the opportunity celebrate our Lord’s birth, Easter, Pentecost, and baptism.
Today I will rejoice that God took good care of me this last year. I will celebrate in the knowledge that He is good and considers me one of His own. And I will thank Him that He is a God who loves to celebrate with His people the joys of life.
The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him. John 7:32
Christianity is not passive. We are to pray, say and do.
The other day my husband and I watched an episode of Phil and Jase Robertson’s Unashamed podcast. We had selected this particular episode because it featured the guest, Dallas Jenkins. Mr. Jenkins, as some of you may know, has fast become a “name” in the Christian community as the director, creator and writer of the series, “The Chosen.” This uniquely told story of Jesus’ three impactful years on Earth is one not to be missed. Jase Robertson asked him about the daunting task of showing both the human Jesus and Jesus the Deity. On the human side, one episode shows Jesus tending to a cut on his wrist while also trying to start a fire using the “hand drill” method – painful to be sure.
“The criticism we get comes from Christians. People come to the show from all types of Christianity including Mormons, Catholics, protestants. And they watch the show and expect it to fit their view of Jesus. They are like the modern day Pharisees,” said Dallas Jenkins. He was then asked what negative feedback he gets from non-Christians. His reply? “None.”
And this got me thinking. In all of Jesus’ moments of conflict there rarely was a non-religious person at the forefront. His battlefield, His warrior-moments, came most frequently against the religious leaders. Those people who decided they knew what God had in mind for a Messiah. And Jesus wasn’t “it.”
When placed faced to face with His opponent Jesus came prepared. He came armed with the belt of truth and sword of the spirit. He had to be prepared because the ultimate prize was not a piece of land. The prize was not a place on an earthly throne. No. The ultimate prize was the heart, mind and soul of the average person.
“Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” Matthew 22:29
And that statement, my friends, can only be seen as “shots fired.”
The Bible says, “fear not” or “be not afraid” 103 times in the King James Bible. Jesus, himself, speaks some version of these words about 30 times. And yet so many of us fear taking the step toward being a warrior like Him and for Him.
We say we aren’t ready. That might be true. So, ask God to help you get ready.
We say we won’t know what to say. That’s probably true. So, prepare and ask God to give you the words.
We say our church just doesn’t encourage that way of thinking. Maybe so. But Jesus didn’t come to start a denomination.
We say we might lose something in the battle. You might. But God always provides.
We say we will be seen as crazy, bigoted, unloving. The devil does love to deceive. So, we ask God to give us a loving heart and clear mind and we place our trust squarely on Him.
What does a warrior for God look like these days? We joke about the person on the corner with the “End is Near” sign. But while on vacation in Kauai a few weeks ago I saw a man – he looked pretty normal actually, about in his 60s nicely dressed – standing in the same spot on a busy road a few days in a row holding up a sign for all to see: “Jesus is Near.” Imagine what sort of feedback he must’ve received. We honked each time and gave him a thumbs up. He waved with a big smile. And I thought, “that man was led to stand out on that street day after day waving at people holding that sign. That’s a warrior for God.”
You know who else are warriors like Jesus? Moms and dads who go against the “norm” and tell their kids they must follow in Jesus’ steps. Employees who aren’t afraid to talk about their faith while at work. Friends who aren’t worried about losing friendships because they won’t “go along to get along.” People who are aren’t afraid of being “cancelled” because they stood up for Christian morals and values.
Jesus didn’t come to smooth things over with religious leaders. He didn’t come to make a lot of friends. He didn’t desire to win a popularity contest. He came to save souls. He knows the end of this world’s story. And so do we.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Matthew 24:42-44
Are you keeping watch over your house? Are you dressed in your God-given battle gear, standing ready to step onto the field? As Christians we are tasked with increasing God’s glory on this earth. We are challenged to keep the thief out of our midst. It is the heart and mind of a warrior, like Jesus, that will accomplish both.