Roll With It

Jesus lost his cool a time or two, like that iconic episode tossing tables in the Temple – and there were a few terse conversations with his disciples when Jesus’ words arrived with a wallop. But for the most part, Jesus seemed to have a very long fuse. You have to have a good sense of humor to be Jesus in this crazy world.

It’s funny how often Jesus would put the brakes on a moment, interjecting an odd request or unveiling a disruptive truth, only to evoke little more than blank expressions and a few emotionless blinks of the eye. The gospels tell of several times when Jesus explicitly asked the people not to spread any stories about him, but we all know that a man holding a wild tale will bust a seam if he doesn’t get to share. St. Mark must have chuckled when he scratched this line: “but the people told all the more.”

It was his own mother for crying out loud who, at a wedding party, dismissed Jesus’ theological objections with a mere wave of her hand. The festivities were full tilt, but the hosts faced an impending embarrassment: the kegs were nearly dry. Mary came to her son, expecting a remedy, but Jesus was disinterested. “My time has not yet come,” he said, leveling a nuanced announcement of eschatological priority and salvific intent. This single line has sent theologians down a thousand trails.

Mary, however, wanted wine. She paused for perhaps a nanosecond, as a courtesy, then turned to the servants and said, “So, about the ale – Jesus will take care of it, do what he tells you.”

And Jesus didn’t seem to mind. He filled the casks to the brim — and for all those other cases, I don’t recall any time where he chastised a follower for blurting out something that was supposed to stay quiet. Jesus knows what every father and mother discovers. You do your best, and then you roll with it.

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