The Christian™ marketplace is flooded with a huge range of memorabilia, gadgets, gizmos, plaques with cute sayings, and symbolic creations meant to entice the Christian’s hard-earned cash away from them and into the pockets of Christian™ entrepreneurs.
And nothing has been such a smashing success as the WWJD brand.
Based on the poignant question ‘What would Jesus do?’ asked in the classic Christian™ novel (before the Christian™ novel became a sanitised Harlequin Romance), In His Steps, this question has been a consistent top-seller in Christian™ book stores, church shops, Christian™ cafes and Christian™ online sellers and market stalls.
Yet, I don’t think the average person who calls themselves by the name of the Christ ever actually stops to think about what Jesus actually did.
Here’s just one of the many things he did–toted as Jesus’s ‘first miracle’–in a little town called Cana and a wedding the details of which have been lost to anonymity.
So what did Jesus do?
John Shore, in his excellent little book I’m OK and You’re Not tells it this way:
What Jesus did that afternoon at that wedding was, to my mind, as powerful a testament to how much he loves people as was his very sacrifice on the cross*. I believe that his choosing to make his first miracle turning all that good water into all that good wine says everything any of us will ever need to know about what Jesus wants our attitude to be toward not just fellow believers, but toward virtually everyone.
It’s a pretty safe bet that Jesus fully understands the power of first impressions, don’t you think? He knew blessing that wedding with more wine than any of its guests could drink would be recorded as his opening miracle. He knew that for as long as people told his story, they’d remember that that was how he first chose to conclusively prove his divinity.
Pretty clearly, he was meaning to tell us something with that choice. And I believe that something was love people just us you find them.
He didn’t lecture the people at that wedding. He didn’t frighten them. He didn’t try to convince them of the error of their ways. He didn’t start dividing them into groups of good and bad. He didn’t in any way interfere with what they were doing. He quietly and without fanfare enhanced what they were doing and that was all.
And what were they doing? Dancing, singing, hugging, whooping it up, crying, and in every way acting like people usually do at wedding receptions: Like they’re celebrating all the tilings about being human that deserve to be celebrated. In a real way that we all understand, there’s nothing more gloriously human than a wedding reception.
And that’s where Jesus decided to launch his ministry.
And that’s how: By doing nothing more dramatic than making sure the lovely couple and all their lovely guests didn’t run out of wine.
And not that cheap, comes-in-a-gallon-jug wine, either. He gave them good wine. He gave them great wine.
Because he wanted them to just keep doing what they were doing
I don’t see how Jesus could have made any clearer what he intended to be his first Big Message to anyone who would ever follow him: Accept and love people exactly as they are when you first meet them.
Go and do likewise.