Jesus had made His selections; the pupils were in place. He knew He only had a short time to teach them everything they needed to know, and He also was aware that He had the typical mix in His class: some who would catch on right away, some who would need to chew things over mentally first, and some who would learn, forget, and have to learn again.
As is usual, the first couple of days were used for settling in--learning the rules and regulations, getting to know each other, seeing where Jesus was staying. On the third day the whole group went to a wedding, and Jesus' mother also attended. It may have been the third day they were together, but it was the REAL first day of school.
When all was said and done at the end of the day, Jesus went off alone to pray and the disciples compared notes in the first of many nighttime sessions, reviewing a few important lessons they had learned. First, Jesus can and does work in an unexpected environment--in this case, a wedding! They had all assumed that this would only be a social event, a distraction from the real purpose, nothing more than a detour from their mission. But, no, they had seen the first evidence that day of the power of Jesus--He had changed water into wine!
They observed, secondly, that even THEY could learn from the faith of others. When Mary said to Jesus, "They have no more wine," this was not merely a conversational observance. She had a purpose in telling Him, and He sensed it. And, even though His response didn't even hint at what was to come, she told the servants to "Do whatever he tells you." Both of her "lines" in this real-life scene displayed Mary's depth of belief in her son, and not just that He was a capable man, but more than that, much more.
One of the more philosophical of the disciples ventured that he had discovered that Jesus had a sense of timing, and this thought became a central theme throughout the "course of study" He was putting them through.
When they got into the real "meat" of that day, the actual miracle, the discussion was fast and furious.
"His sovereignty over nature was convincingly displayed"--"Yes," "Agreed," "I caught that, too."
"Look at what He used: common things, like the stone jars, and plain old water!" More nods of agreement and amazement.
As always, the deeper thinkers were working on a different level. "What do you suppose His purpose might have been in doing this, especially in this way?"
"To teach us...something?" guessed Nathanael, always the funny guy.
"To reveal Himself to us as a prophet..."
"No, more than a prophet, I think-"
"To make His mother happy!" More laughs.
"To save someone from embarrassment. Could it be that He is even concerned with our emotions?"
"To add enjoyment to the lives of all who attended the wedding but didn't get wine before it ran out (the first batch, anyway). Yes, His presence definitely made it a better party! Seriously! No one will ever forget this wedding reception, because even before we left the rumors were flying, with everyone wondering where the wine really came from."
The evening was quickly getting away from them, and who knew how much walking was ahead of them the next day, or what great new truths they would be exposed to. It was time to wrap up the wrap-up session and get some sleep, if that was even possible with excitement pulsing all around them in the night, like the ever-present fireflies.
John, who was so young, but surprisingly thoughtful for his age, had a key point to make: "Also, when Jesus does something, He does it well. None of us will ever taste wine that even begins to compare with what we had today. Jesus will always do everything perfectly."
The gathering was silenced, and each man carefully pondered the day and wondered what the future held.
As they made their way toward sleep and dreams, one voice rang out with a final thought: "And this was only the third day!"
A few years later, several of them remembered that comment on another occasion, another third day, an event that taught the world the MOST important lesson about Jesus.
July 4, 2004
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