The Gospel Of Cana -- By: David Baines-Griffiths

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 064:253 (Jan 1907)
Article: The Gospel Of Cana
Author: David Baines-Griffiths


The Gospel Of Cana

The Christian Affirmation Of Life

David Baines-Griffiths

The wonder at Cana of Galilee is the symbol of a service which Jesus Christ is always ready to render to his friends. He enriches the feast of life by turning its water into wine. He glorifies the commonplace, and calls us to the sacrament of a deep and quiet joy.

It is true that the Wonder-Worker was also a sufferer who marched with unfaltering step on a perilous road. We have never completely described him, however, until we have seen the lighter and gladder side of his life, until we have learned that he is worthy to be called not only a Man of Sorrows, but the “Joyous Comrade.” For although he was acquainted with grief, he yet knew the meaning of bounding life and happy work in a world which he believed was his Father’s world, a world blessed with a myriad of pleasures not necessary to mere existence. He was like ourselves in his appreciation of sheltering human friendships; and in the wider social life Tie could give himself to the occasion without grudging. The Gospels nowhere say in so many words that Jesus ever smiled. That his face was lit with smiling kindliness we nevertheless surely know, for is it not written that mothers brought their young children to him, and did he not carry the lambs in his arms? The “pale Galilean” was poor, no doubt, but never so poor as to be beggared of gladness. There was a high joy he could speak of even when he was standing in the shadow of the tree whereon he was slain at last.

1. The Gospel of Calvary and the Gospel of Cana are in essence one. Too often an emphasis has been placed on suffering as an ingredient in Christian experience, in such wise as to distort the evangel of Jesus, and to hide the true glory of the life of faith. Against the Gospel of Joy men have preached a Gospel of Pain, pain as the price of blessedness and the key of heaven. Now while this ascetic view of life has no true place in the Christian program, it has played a part in the history of the church from the beginning even until now.

In the days of the early church, conditions were somewhat favorable for a false insistence on sacrifice and abstinence. The gospel had come to men in Palestine who shared the oriental tendency to retirement, contemplation, and self-denying rigors. They felt also the moral pressure of the Essenes’ earnestness as manifested in the rejection of luxury, in sexual abstinence, and in communistic withdrawal from society. Moreover, traditions had not entirely died out respecting the austere Nazarites and Rechabites. When therefore a man suddenly appeared, clad with leathern girdle and camel’s-hair coat, and eating a sort of food that was palatable only t...

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