Earlier this year I was listening to one of my weekly podcasts and was introduced to an incredible Leader by the name of Karen Swallow Prior who was asked what she thought the biggest problem… More
Engrafted into His Story
I hate to state the obvious, but the world is changing and changing fast and I for one am struggling to keep up.
An insatiable appetite for personal autonomy and freedom has left us with a severe deficiency in experiencing true community and discovering real meaning in our worlds. Our progressive world is in hot pursuit for a ‘utopia’ which excludes any mention of the transcendent and it is this new world that we are all trying to navigate.
The underlying issue resulting in a deficiency of meaning may well be that we are story people who have been separated from a grand transcendent story. Where is the issue you may ask? Meaning is discovered within a story.
Being story people is something that transcends generation, culture and era, even those holding a different worldview to mine acknowledge the importance of story. I recently heard an interview with philosopher, historian and futurist, Yuval Noah Harari, who suggested that humans rule the world because of our innate ability to gather and cooperate around story. The idea of humans being story people is not new, nor is it exclusive to those from a Christian worldview.
Embedded in story is the possibility of discovering meaning. This is the place where we make sense of who we are, why we are here, where we are going and what we are experiencing.
So, what does this have to do with Water Baptism? Baptism has always served as a means of engrafting us into God’s Story and as I said, story is where we discover meaning.
As a Senior Pastor I am challenged that every time I’m involved in water baptism, I have been given an opportunity to retell God’s story and give place to where meaning can be discovered. In a world of competing narratives aggressively wanting to be heard water baptism gives me this incredible and important opportunity.
We don’t need to look far in the New Testament to hear of the significance of Baptism. Of course, Paul masterfully shares the profound fullness of what it means to go through the waters of baptism in Romans linking it with themes of creation, exodus, exile through to New Creation achieved through the work of Christ including that exhilarating promise of Romans 6:4-
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
But our New Testament bears witness to the significance of water Baptism even before Paul came to see Jesus as Israel’s promised Messiah.
From the first sentence of Mark’s Gospel (Mk 1:1-3) there is an exciting declaration made via the prophets that God’s story and therefore God’s promises are still in play. This may mean little to us but imagine the excitement and exhilaration when after 400 years of silence God’s people hear that God is moving once again. How was this primarily observed? Well, through a strange prophet who’s dress code and diet likening him to Elijah was baptising so many people that he was known as the baptiser.
John’s Baptism was significant to an Israel that was still in exile. Israel was still under foreign domination, was still awaiting God’s promise of returning to the temple, was still waiting for their national renewal and still waiting for the renewal of the rest of the world. They were waiting for God’s Story to come to a satisfying conclusion.
John’s baptism did a few things. It was reminding Israel of God’s story thus far, passing through the waters of baptism was re-enacting the passing through the waters of the Red Sea, that exodus event. It provided an opportunity to repent, and for a nation that knew they were still in exile repentance made complete sense. It was also a baptism that brought an anticipation and expectation that now God was going to fulfil His promise of a New Exodus. In other words, God’s story was now coming to its climax.
Living this side of the Cross we now know what that climactic event was and can attest that it was indeed an event that completely overshadowed Israel’s Exodus moment.
Water Baptism engrafts us into God’s Story, it always has. Living this side of the Cross brings with it even more significance and more meaning.
Water Baptism has the power to move me from a historical vantage point of observing what God has done in the past to a present, personal position today. This sacrament which includes themes like repentance, forgiveness, new life and separation for service also brings with it the invitation and immense privilege to participate with our God as His Story continues.
God is still on the move; His Story and promises are still in play being outworked through His Church by the Holy Spirit. Water Baptism engrafts us into God’s Story – what He has done, What He is doing and what He continues to do.
Within God’s story meaning abounds if we take the opportunity to discover and continually engraft ourselves to it.
In Search of Eden
We are story people who are on a quest.
Futurist, historian and philosopher Yuval Noah Harari suggests that humans rule the world because of our ability and propensity to gather and cooperate. He suggests that there is a glue that seems to be present in humans that distinguishes us from other creation. This glue is made of stories and not genes.
It fascinates me when I read and listen to a person of a different world view than mine articulate something so Biblical. I would simply add that yes we are story people, but we are story people who are on a quest. Just spend a day listening to your own heart, spend a week with a child or pay closer attention to the people we love in our lives and you will soon hear a deeper cry. We are all on a quest for a place of delight, in Biblical language this place is called “Eden”.
And what keeps us interested and intrigued is that all of us get a glimpse of Eden from time to time. Now we often won’t use a word like “Eden”, possibly “Utopia” is a word more palatable in our world today. We aren’t too sure where this place is but we are given promises about different pathways that will take us to there.
There is the promise of ‘Techno-Utopia’, where science and technology will create this ideal society, a new Renaissance is currently in play which will enable man to make advances in every arena whether that be political, social, economical and cultural. There is a promise that this movement can even reach to the depths of transforming a human heart. And for those who are sceptical of this pathway there are a myriad of other pathways that we have tried and adopted over the years and will try and test in the years to come.
All of this to say we are story people on a quest for Eden.
From Jesus own lips –
” Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
The pursuit for Meaning
I don’t mean to offend you but the idea of meaning is something that evades the modern, progressing, enlightened person.
This has a sense of irony about it. We all have an innate desire to be ‘more human’, the irony is that in the pursuit of becoming more human the opposite often occurs, especially when lured by a means under-girded with the prized scaffolding of ‘ultimate freedom’.
Secularism has redirected our eyes, teaching us to forego the ancient paths of discovering meaning in the transcendent, instead we are now transfixed on the immanent and the immediate and told that these will now suffice and steady us towards the same destination point, to become truly human…this is not working.
Humans need meaning, we are meaning people, we are story people and without satisfactory meaning there are obvious out-workings. We are also people in desperate need of community, we are connected but we no longer commune, we have commitment issues, no longer anxious about missing out (FOMO) but now we fear missing out on a better option (FOBO). We are also people who need certain freedoms, though in an ironic twist an excess in freedom has meant a deficiency in both community and meaning. Why? Because ultimate freedom does not bode well with the requirement that community and meaning has, that of being en-grafted in.
This is the point where Jesus followers must walk in an opposite direction to our secular friends.
Mark’s Gospel gives us a visual picture of how any person can become fully human. After much conflict, rejection and accusation from the leaders of the day Jesus begins a new approach in teaching, called parables (Mark 4:2). Jesus first parable addresses the situation at hand, identifying the underlying problem and then consequence of what happens when people do not listen to what Jesus is saying.
3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.
That first word, “Listen”, is not Jesus trying to apprehend everyone’s attention, the people surrounding Jesus were well and truly attentive, no this is the subject matter of this all important parable, How you listen to the words of Jesus is everything!
And interestingly after this parable Jesus gives a picture of what is happening to a person when they refuse to listen –
so that, “ ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,and ever hearing but never understanding;otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”
Its the picture of an idol, or an icon, a statue. Having eyes, it can’t see, having ears, it can’t hear, why? Its an idol. Jesus is giving a powerful picture of what happens when we refuse to listen to Him, we become less human, not more human.
Being en-grafted into God’s story, His complete story, from the outside looking in appears restrictive, even archaic. Freedoms are limited yet the paradox is that the limit in freedoms under Christ enable us to flourish, to function and to become fully human, enjoying and participating in the Grand narrative that our Good Heavenly Father has invited us to join Him in that –
Thy Kingdom Come and Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.’
When Nathan Won’t Speak
The prophetic voice is important because every one of us are flawed, we all misstep, make mistakes and no-one is actually above the expectations of scripture.
King David relied on the voice of the prophet Nathan, especially at the moment of his greatest delusion. The King of a nation abuses his power and influence and calls a married woman to his bedroom chamber. What is amazing is that he knew who she was before sending for her, because he asked who she was –
2 Samuel 11:3 (NLT)
3 He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”
So okay, David sees a beautiful woman, asks who she is and finds out she is married to one of the men who is currently fighting for you in war, story over. Right?
The next verse says, “Then David sent messengers to get her” (2 Sam 11:4).
The rest is history, David has an affair with a married woman, gets her pregnant then tries to cover his tracks which fall through because Bathsheba’s husband evidently has more righteous standards that David. So David plots to kill Uriah, Bethshebas husband and succeeds.
Then comes the voice of Nathan who rebukes the most powerful man in the nation as recorded in 2 Samuel 12 with such precision that David is brought to his knees with pure contrition and humbled. Of course, there is hope in the rebuke for our God is able to redeem all things but here’s the point – David repented because God sent Nathan to speak.
What happens when Nathan doesn’t speak?
In recent months we here have heard of deplorable behaviour done by prominent Christian Leaders in our world. Willow Creek is in disarray because Bill Hybels sins accumulated over decades has finally come out and can no longer be swept aside, Franklin Graham is suggesting the unthinkable by downplaying the alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and we don’t even need to mention the sin that has damaged countless children at the hands of the Church.
Where is Nathan? Has he become silent? Has he been forced to close his mouth? I have no doubt that we have many Nathan’s who are sent by God to expose Christ-followers who have fallen into sin and let’s be clear we all sin. We need to uphold the corrective prophetic voice in our world, call a spade a spade and hold to a better, higher standard.
Can we one one hand say we believe Imago Dei, that every person, male, female, boy and girl is of immeasurable worth because they are made in the image of God and therefore should be loved, protected and HEARD and then on the other hand when sin is exposed we casually go about our ‘Christian’ lives as if nothing has happened – actions do speak louder than words.
What are the considerations? Well on the Perth landscape, Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit is still going ahead, I leave enough room to be wrong and am torn knowing that everything is currently being done to make things right, but I’m not sure it should have. Franklin Graham is coming to Perth in 2019, to endorse a ‘Nathan’ who refuses to speak out in a Gospel-centered way again I am torn.
I by no means am suggesting that my thoughts are absolutely right, I am definitely not as smart as most Christian thinkers in Perth today but as a Christian Leader trying to lead myself, my family and a congregation in Perth it would be helpful if prominent leaders lead their own lives well and when sin is exposed there is an appropriate path of restoration that tells them and the world that even when we as Christians fall we aspire to live rightly before our God.
If we have any hope of this Nathan must speak!
One Last Thing
I think Carl Honore observation is my everyday experience –
“In our fast-moving modern world, it always seems that the time-train is pulling out of the station just as we reach the platform. No matter how fast we go, no matter how cleverly we schedule, there are never enough hours in the day.”
We use words like, “I feel lost”, “he just lost his way”. Of course, everywhere we go, there we are. What we are trying to articulate is that in the midst of a confusing, hectic, complicated world we lose clarity, the main thing is pushed to the peripheral and we get swamped with the insignificant. We even use mind-games to help regain perspective, clarity-
- If you had only $50 for the rest of the week with no food in your house, what would you spend that money on?
- If you were stranded on an island and you could only take 5 items, what would you take?
We’re familiar with such questions, but what if we were to go a bit deeper and ask –
“If you had one day left on this Earth, what would you do?”
It’s a sobering thought. What I find astounding is that scripture describes this exact scenario in the life of Jesus. If I had one day left, I’d make sure I see its sunrise and sunset, I’d be with family, I would eat as much food as possible. Jesus, on the other hand, decides to wash some feet.
John 13 describes this moment, we call it the Last Supper. What John does not do is explain what brought this seemingly strange action of Jesus about. Fortunately for us, we have the other Gospels to fill in the gaps.
Luke 22 lets us know what was the happening at that Last Supper.
Luke 22:14-16 (NLT)
When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”
You can hear the anguish in Jesus tone, “I have been VERY eager to eat this Passover meal with you BEFORE my suffering…” Jesus is aware that His time had fully come. I would have thought that the disciples would have enough emotional intelligence to pick up that Jesus is not Himself, there is discomfort in His tone as He contemplates what is about to occur. However, the disciples are fine to form even in this moment.
Luke 22: 24 (NLT)
Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them.
This is not the first time that this conversation had come up. In fact, James and John’s own mother was part of this same argument when she requested her two sons sit on Jesus right and left in Glory.
Now at what we call The Last Supper the scenario is incredible. Jesus has one night left, one meal left, one lesson left and the future leaders of the Church are bickering, arguing about who would have the greater accolades, who would be better known, who would be the greater and who would be lesser. The disciples are completely lost in their own arrogance and pride, seduced by a cultural norm that contradicts everything that they have observed and learned from their teacher.
On this last night, Jesus gives one last lesson, before He must endure the cross there is One Last Thing.
He disrobes picks up the basin and towel that had been in the room the entire time. Silence grips the room and the atmosphere changes. The washing of feet was a task reserved for the lowest of slaves, many in Israel thought it not appropriate for even Jewish slaves, no, this task was only appropriate for Gentile slaves. And here is the teacher washing the feet of the future leaders of the Church who are childishly bickering and arguing about greatness…one last thing.
Of course, the lesson is profound and Jesus words following this release any follower of Christ from simply being an ‘admirer’ of Christ and being a true disciple,
John 13:16-17 (NLT)
I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.
We can know what to do and not do it, we’re blessed not because we ‘know’ but because we ‘do’. Jesus example also demonstrates a challenge when He washes the feet of a man who He knew was hours away from betraying Him. Evidently, we don’t get to pick and choose who we serve.
William Barclay made a challenging observation –
“It is easy and so natural to resent wrong and to grow bitter under insult and injury; but Jesus met the greatest injury and the supreme disloyalty, with the greatest humility and the supreme love”
We too get lost and consumed in a culture and system that runs in contradiction to our true home. We too enter that upper room and like those original disciples walk straight past the basin, the towel, and water, the equipment for service. Clarity gets lost, pride rises and then in a moment our beautiful Lord reminds us about one last thing…
“And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. “
How Long does it Take?
This morning a good friend of mine shared this video with me. I found it encouraging. (Click on the blog to watch)
Yesterday’s Sling and Stones aren’t Enough
Possibly the most well known biblical story is David and Goliath. David, a ruddy young shepherd’s boy fights a Philistine monster who from his youth had been trained in the art of war, his name sounds as threatening as his cruel, ruthless vocation…Goliath.
We know the story well, David fights on behalf of an entire Kingdom with nothing more than five stones selected from the location of the pending battle (this could be a sermon in itself) and his well-used sling. Despite the concern of others, David was extremely comfortable and confident with his chosen weapons –
But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” (1 Samuel 17:34-36)
We know how the story ends, the pivotal point…David cuts off Goliath’s head with Goliath’s own sword and suddenly momentum changes. The Israelite’s who were previously filled with fear are suddenly inspired with courage, they charge the Philistine army and the rest is history. David wins his fight.
But what about David’s next fight?
If life was all about one struggle, one conflict, one challenge then maybe we could live off the virtue of this one story, but life is not that simple. Life is made of a series of consecutive struggles, victories, and losses that do not relent, in fact, they tend to escalate in complexity and intimidation until we leave this Earth.
David’s next assignment rendered his sling and stone approach impotent.
Whatever Saul asked David to do, David did it successfully. So Saul made him a commander over the men of war, an appointment that was welcomed by the people and Saul’s officers alike. (1 Samuel 18:5)
Yesterday’s slings and stones won’t work for today’s assignment. They worked for David when confronted with the lion, the bear, and even Goliath but now there is a new assignment, an opportunity that David would never have even dreamed of stepping into. The verse preceding this tells of a covenant made between Jonathan and David and an interesting transfer that occurred.
Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. (1 Samuel 18:4)
In a single day, David had gone from a sling and five stones to acquiring the finest sword in the Philistine army, that of Goliath’s as well as one of the finest swords in the Israel armory, the sword belonging to the son of the King. Imagine the symbolism when David wore Jonathan’s tunic, clothes reserved for the heir to the throne! And from this place, he steps into his next assignment.
It is not written in the text but I can only assume that the process and discipline that allowed David to become efficient with his sling are the same virtues that made David efficient and skillful with his new armory.
Killing any Goliath is a moment worthy of celebration and honour…but what about the next battle. It is admirable that we became efficient with the skillset that made that initial victory possible…but there is the next fight to consider, a fight that more than likely requires new armory.
So put down that sling, to pick up that new sword and then apply the same discipline that made the past victory possible.
Yesterday’s sling and stones aren’t enough.
Armed with Burning Patience
Patience is not just a waiting game.
In 1971 Pablo Neruda quoted Arthur Rimbaud when he used these words as part of his acceptance of the Nobel Prize for Literature –
“At dawn, armed with a burning patience we shall enter the splendid cities.”
Neruda’s vision of the splendid city differs radically from us who profess faith in Christ though one cannot help but be captivated by the language used to underscore this common pathway, this common quality or virtue demanded in any endeavour. Not just having patience, rather being,“…armed with a burning patience“.
As Jesus followers we live on the side of the Cross that points to and declares an empty tomb, the disarming of sin and death. This is the side where the power and grace of God’s Heavenly ‘Splendid City’ are ours and we are invited to appropriate and implement these measures in our present world, this demands being ‘armed with a burning patience’.
It may help us to reconsider patience as not being passive, but being an extremely active virtue and asset of life.
Patience is firmly anchored in a captivating hope that empowers us to keep moving, to keep loving and to remain faithful even when we are not seeing runs being scored on the board. Patience is the essential quality that allows us to be the Church, (those who are ‘called out’ to look upon and consider the polis). Patience looks at the complexities, confusion and challenges of the regions we are called to, to hear its hearts cry, to observe its ebbs and flows and still believe that the Gospel works and is making a difference.
A burning patience empowers. It enables us to see and act for the ‘one’ among the masses and also empowers us to strive beyond the opposition that often comes from doing what is right and just.
John 5 recounts a story where this virtue is outworked. In this story Jesus leads his disciples to the pool of Bethesda. Now, ‘Bethesda’ is an interesting play on words, it literally means, ‘House of Mercy’ or ‘House of Grace’, yet because of the people and issues associated with it this place took on an alternate meaning. The words ‘mercy’ and ‘grace’ were replaces with the words, ‘shame’ and ‘disgrace’. Scripture tells us why –
John 5:3 (NLT)
Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches.
Jesus leads His disciples to a place of misery. Imagine a place of mess, smell and addictions. Imagine a crowd of people who by their mere existence shocked middle class sensibilities, well this is where Jesus took his disciples. Among this miserable collection of ailments and disease Jesus sees to a man who had been sick for 38 years, that is –
- 38 years of being largely ignored.
- 38 years of being seen as and treated as less than human.
- 38 years of having ‘Imago-dei’ smeared, smudged and erased from his life.
Jesus demonstrates this virtue of ‘burning patience’ in a couple of ways –
- Out of the multitude He sees and heals only one (John 5:5).
- Jesus bypasses this mans poor understanding/theology of God to heal him – the man thought that in order to be healed God had a ‘first in, first served’ policy (John 5:7).
Possibly the most uncomfortable point of this story is seen in how inappropriate this man’s response was to receiving his healing. We’re familiar with Jesus healing people and there has been worship, praise to God and gratitude – that seems appropriate. In this story the tone is very different, instead of thanks this man betrays Jesus by running to the Jewish rulers to call Jesus out (John 5:15).
Jesus Kingdom act of healing this man results in an inappropriate response by this man which in turn results in this –
John 5:16-18 (NLT)
So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” So the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to find a way to kill him. For he not only broke the Sabbath, he called God his Father, thereby making himself equal with God.
Talk about doing the right thing, a just thing, restoring dignity and worth on a man who had been dehumanised for 38 years and instead of a ‘thank you’, the man betrays you and now your life is on the line. This is where being ‘armed with a burning patience’, really kicks in. Jesus keeps moving towards the cross, undeterred and absolutely resolute is His missional posture and journey.
Scripture lets us know that Kingdom endeavours can result in negative consequences. Bad things can happen when we do the right things but being armed with a burning patience keeps us moving forward, believing for the best, loving and remaining faithful.
A burning patience is necessary if we are to continue in our vocation as the resolute prophetic Church of Jesus that seeks to be a liberating agent of the Spirit of God in our world, a true sign of God’s Kingdom as God’s reign breaks in and among us.
Patience is not just a waiting game…it is an armament in life and being armed with burning patience will enable us to see with our own eyes this most beautiful, splendid Heavenly City that our faith promises us.
I wonder if secrecy is becoming a lost art?
Jesus, of course, was a master of knowing when to go public and when to be hidden. Jesus first miracle of turning water into wine is a great example of this. The story is recorded for us in John 2 where an intriguing and unexpected conclusion is added to help us grapple with what Jesus has just done.
John 2:11 (NLT)
‘This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.’
This is the first time Jesus reveals His glory or ‘uncloaks’ Himself to show His nature. His ultimate glory is the resurrection but how interesting that a wedding party is the first time He decides to show or reveal something of His glory.
The setting for this miracle is strange –
- Weddings in the ancient Near East were incredibly important occasions for families and individuals—just as they are in modern times.
- A successful event would have brought honour to the groom, his family, and the village where he lived.
- Running out of wine would have dishonored the guests and brought shame on all those involved.
Jesus very first miracle is not healing the sick, casting out demons, feeding the poor or even restoring a person back into the community, this wedding party is occurring in the context of community.
Jesus very first miracle is purposed to bring a halt to shame that was about to fall like an avalanche on a groom and a family who seemingly miscalculated and were unprepared for a significant social occasion.
Shame is an epidemic that has no prejudice, it permeates every generation, every culture, and social class. It seemingly has no limits until Jesus steps in.
Anthropologist Ruth Benedict made an interesting observation in regards to the distinction between a guilt and shame culture –
“In a guilt culture, you know you are good or bad by what your conscience feels. In a shame culture, you know you are good or bad by what your community says about you, by whether it honors or excludes you.”
Jesus first miracle opens an invitation for every one of His followers to get involved in bringing a halt to Shame falling on people, families, and communities.
Notice how this miracle is outworked in this setting-
John 2:9 (NLT)
9 When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over.
If the miracle was purposed to just fix the problem of running out of wine then there would be no need for this verse, but Jesus is doing more than just turning water into wine. He is apprehending the road train of shame and dishonour that is about to befall a groom and his family in this community. This would have been a tragic way for this couple to begin their life together.
It is for this reason that the ‘Art of Secrecy’ is deployed. Significant people at this party had no idea what had just happened, they may not have even been aware that there was a problem in the first place. However a few hidden people in the story knew exactly what had just occurred, the scripture says, ‘…though, of course, the servants knew’.
How challenging it is for us living in this social media hungry world to deploy secrecy when everyone around us is broadcasting everything and I mean everything publically? We display, we post, we market and promote our achievements to the world, yet Jesus very first miracle was done in secret because he was addressing the very real, transcendent, pressing issue that was at stake at this wedding – putting a halt to shame.
But that is not where the story ends, Jesus doesn’t just bring a halt to shame falling on this groom and his family He does something so spectacular –
John 2:9-10 (NLT)
9 When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. 10 “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!”
Instead of having to endure shame, the groom was publicly honored for his over-the-top hospitality—and for saving the good wine for last (John 2:10). The groom receives undeserved honour and Jesus doesn’t appear to take exception to it. He seems to be very content with undeserving people receiving unearned honor and praise…sound familiar?
I’d be the first to admit that this story rattles me, yet our life as followers of Jesus is not just to be shaped and conformed into the image of Jesus, there is also an expectation that we would follow and push forward His mission in our world today (Luke 4:18-19; John 20:21).
The Kingdom act of bringing a halt to shame befalling on people demands the Art of Secrecy, this may read like a simple task but I am convinced it is one of the greatest challenges we are facing today in the Church.