Miracle and Murder in Cana

Jackson Snyder, January 30, 2004

 

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Previous installments
The Parting of the Ways,
A Very Deep Subject,
Born New,
A Fishy Kind of Wedding,
The Lost Years of Yahshua,
Pilgrimage to Jerusalem,
The Slightly Embellished Zechariah,
A Virgin Shall Conceive

 

The Real Hell - Jerusalem's South Valley - Gey HinnomJohn 4:43.  After the two days he departed to Galilee.   44.  For Yahshua himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.   45.  So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast, for they too had gone to the feast.   46.  So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill.   47.  When he heard that Yahshua had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.   48.  Yahshua therefore said to him, "Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe."   49.  The official said to him, "Sir, come down before my child dies."   50.  Yahshua said to him, "Go; your son will live." The man believed the word that Yahshua spoke to him and went his way.   51.  As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was living.  52.  So he asked them the hour when he began to mend, and they said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him."   53.  The father knew that was the hour when Yahshua had said to him, "Your son will live"; and he himself believed, and all his household.   54.  This was now the second sign that Yahshua did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.  {see also Matthew 8:8ff}

 

 

 

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES IN THE MESSAGE

[  ] John 4:43.  After the two days he departed to Galilee.

[  ] Acts 9:2,19:9 ...belonging to The Way...

[  ] John 2:25  ...for he himself knew what was in man.

[  ] Thomas 8 Among the minnies he finds a big carp.

[  ] Thomas 3a  “Look!  The kingdom is in the sky...”

[  ] Thomas 3b  “The kingdom’s inside you and outside you...”

[  ] Matthew 4:19  “Will you follow me?”

[  ] Luke 9:54 “Shall we call down fire?”

[  ] Mark 3:17 “Sons of Thunder”

[  ] Luke 12:5  “Fear him who, after he has killed, has power ...”

[  ] John 4:46  So he came again to Cana in Galilee ...

[  ] Luke 22:70  “You say that I AM.”

[  ] Psalms 150:1,6  “Praised be to Yahweh!  Hallelujah!”

 

   In previous messages we learned that Yahshua did the first of his signs in Cana, a stone’s throw from Nazareth, his childhood home.  His brother Simon (known as the Cananaean) lived and was married there.  Yahshua made wine of water to save the wedding party and reveal his identity with great hesitation.  But now the story of the miracle is out by word of mouth.

 

Sorting Out Characters in Capernaum

  From Cana, Yahshua’ family and disciples journey to Capernaum, a fishing town on the Sea.  The disciple Peter is married to a Capernaum woman whose family is in the fishing business.  Her name is Peniel (Penelope?); her brothers are James (Jacob) and John, all children of Zebadiah and his wife, Keziah.  The Zebadiahs have a great house right on the sea.  Andrew and Peter are kin to the Zebadiahs, so a marriage and a business arrangement was natural, for Peter’s family also fishes in Bethsaida.  Now there’s enough extra money for the younger men to pursue education with a teacher.

   After the Cana wedding, Yahshua, his disciples, his mother, four brothers and two sisters, his sisters-in-law Deborah and Jael, all take a honeymoon together to the Capernaum seaside, staying with the Zebadiahs at the invitation of their son, John.  Here, they meet John’s eldest brother James (Jacob), a man with the same name as Yahshua’ eldest brother.  This James of Capernaum might not have the pedigree of Yahshua’ brother, but he had far more money. 

 

The Officer Roman and his Adjunct  

   When word gets out that the Yahshua People are at Zebadiah’s, a crowd forms outside.  Yahshua and his disciples come forth to see.  Peter goes to find a sword.  Seeing his clerical robe, the crowd directs its chatter to Yahshua.  Some want miracles; others, wine.  One drunk points to the Sea of Galilee behind the house and cries, “There’s your water, and we’re powerful thirsty (hic); change the sea into wine.”

   A Roman Centurion with several soldiers part the crowd quickly.  The Romans walk right up to the Yahshua people and, in a rough voice, the Centurion says.  “You preachers ‘belonging to The Way (Acts 9:2,19:9) seek your kingdom.  We Romans want to know of it.”  The people start disbursing quickly.  A Roman asking a rabbi of his kingdom could only mean arrest.  Yahshua isn’t concerned yet,

because he knew all men and needed no one to bear witness of man; for he himself knew what was in man (John 2:25).

   Yahshua talks, “People!  These soldiers are but men, like you, except this Centurion, for he

“is like a smart fisher who casts his net into the sea and draws it up full of minnies. Among the minnies he finds a big carp.  He throws out the minnies and grabs the carp. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear (adapted from Thomas 8).

“Sir, what do you want?”  The Centurion responds, “Exactly where is this kingdom you teachers claim?  Is it this god-forsaken land or another?”  Yahshua replies, “With due respect, sir, some say,

‘Look!  The kingdom’s in the sky.’  If so, birds beat them there.  Some say, ‘Look!  The kingdom’s in the sea.’  If so, the minnies beat them there  (adapted from Thomas 3a).

“And if it’s in this land, the fallen angels beat us here, and they’re still here.”  Yahshua spoke to the Centurion in riddles so that he might

 “see but not perceive and hear but not understand; lest he should repent and be forgiven” (Mark 4:12).

   But this Centurion is wise, as Yahshua prophesied.  He won’t be satisfied with a riddle.  The fickle gods of Rome, who impoverish a man one day, reward him the next, and kill him the third, they tire this man of war.  He asks Yahshua point blank,

 

Dixi, ubi est regnum tuum, et inquietas regem? LATINE lOQUOR

 

“I said, where is your kingdom and who is your king?  Speak plainly!”  Yahshua changes from Greek to Latin to be perfectly understood.  “Centurion, listen to me closely. 

 

Intus et extra Regni elit. Tu scis Domine venturos. Cum tibi notus ero regi Unus est vivus Patris. Aliter enim pauperes spiritu paupertatis colam

 

“The kingdom’s inside you and outside you right now.  You sir will soon come to know yourself.  When you do you’ll become known by the king; the One Living Father.  Otherwise, you’ll live in poverty for you are poor of spirit” (adapted from Thomas 3b).

   By this time, the crowd’s gone, leaving the officer and his men facing Yahshua and his disciples.  There’s a tense minute, then the uniforms turn sharply and leave.  The Centurion whispers to his adjunct, “I want three spies on this teacher; dress them like natives.”  Nobody comes around the Zebadiah house the rest of the week, leaving the Yahshua People to enjoy their fellowship.  The fishers in the village think, “When the soldiers leave town, maybe Yahshua will return, teach, make wine and bring prosperity.”

 

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Passover

   The Yahshua People are sojourning up to Zion for Passover.  James, son of Zebadiah, is very impressed with Yahshua’ stand with the Centurion.  Most teachers wouldn’t have said a word to a Gentile, especially a soldier.  Yahshua asks James, “Will you follow me?”  And James becomes a disciple. 

   Here are the disciples in order: John, Andrew, Peter, Philip, Nathanael, Judah, Simon and James Zebadiah.  Yahshua’ youngest brother Joses wants to be a disciple like the rest, but mother Mary won’t allow it – too young.  But along with the disciples, Mary, Joses, Zebadiah and Keziah, Peter’s Peniel, Simon’s Jael, Judah’s Deborah, and Mary’s daughters Joanna and Salome, plus servants and animals all will follow Yahshua on the seventy-five mile course to the feast in Jerusalem.  I told you earlier about that dangerous route.  Oh!  Three mysterious strangers straggle behind, unnoticed – they’re Roman spies.

   In Jerusalem, the Yahshua People lodge in the Essene quarter.  You see, Yahshua’ brother James lives there in a conclave of holy men called Tsadiyqim – “saints” (or “the righteous”).  James is priest of that order, a major Jewish sect.  Tsadiyqim (Essenes) are scattered all over.  Though they believe differently, their common goal is ridding the Temple of its corruption.  James is already a leader of the Tsadiyqim.

   As a new rabbi of The Way, Yahshua makes lots of friends in Jerusalem, like Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council.  Nicodemus, another council member, comes by night to learn from him.  But I already told you that story.  Yahshua meets them on Mount Olive, for these councilmen dare not go into the Essene quarter for fear of their lives.  Yahshua renews acquaintances with Simon, Lazarus, Martha and Mary of Bethany, and Zechariah and Elizabeth, the Baptist’s parents.  Zacchaeus of Jericho is a new friend.  Though a despised tax collector, Yahshua sees possibilities.  Many gather as Yahshua teaches Essenes, Sadducees, Pharisees, peasants and prostitutes, in streets, homes, fellowship halls, synagogues, and on the Temple steps. 

 

On Through Samaria

   A multitude of new disciples follow the Yahshua People to the Jordan for baptism, healing and demon deliverance.  But I already told you that story.   Instead of taking the Jordan Road back to Cana, Yahshua will make straight for Galilee across Samaria.  This is a bold move; Samaria is hostile country, and Jews hate Samaritans; but Yahshua wants to visit his ancestor Jacob’s well, and that’s in Samaria!  Three spies follow the Yahshua People into Samaria, keeping their distance.  Philip notices them, for they’re close enough for him to see the daggers in their tunics.

     At Jacob’s well, Yahshua sends the group off to get food while he prays.  There, Yahshua meets a Samaritan woman of bad reputation, who says to him,

“I know that Messiah is coming; he will show us all things.”   Yahshua says to her, “I who speak to you am he”  (John 4:25,26) 

   Yahshua’ People are gone and don’t hear this exchange.  But John and James hear, and so did the three spies in the bushes.  But I already told you that story.  These brothers hide because they hate Samaritans and think Yahshua’ life’s at stake.  The brothers would call down fire on Samaria (Luke 9:54)!  But instead of being destroyed, the Samaritans of Jacob’s well believe in Yahshua through the woman’s testimony, and the Yahshua People stay in their homes for two days.  It’s here that Yahshua nicknames James and John “Sons of Thunder (Mark 3:17), since they want to call down fire from heaven.  Yahshua also learns how their prejudice might jeopardize the mission.  So this night Yahweh gives Yahshua a dream – the story we know as “The Good Samaritan.”

 

Spies

   As the troop sets out for Galilee, Nazareth, then Cana, Philip notices the spies pull up stakes also.  But now there are only two spies.  Philip tells Yahshua, “There were three, but now there are only two.  I believe they’re armed spies.”  Yahshua replies, “No doubt, Philip.”  Philip asks, “Who could they be spying for?  The Sadducees?  The Romans?  One has already gone to report to someone.  Shouldn’t we send Zebadiah’s gang to take them before proceeding?”  Seems like a smart plan, but Yahshua nixes it, “Philip, if you fear, fear the One who will cast them into the lake of fire.  Our time is not yet up.”  Philip continues to keep an eye on them and wonders, “Where’d the third spy go?” But Yahshua knows.  He’s headed to Capernaum to report to his Centurion.

 

Nazareth

   Days pass, and the Yahshua People reach Mary’s home in Nazareth.  Hearing of Yahshua’ signs after the Feast, a crowd forms to welcome Yahshua, to his surprise. They all want something.  Yahshua thinks, “You didn’t want me then, but now you want!”  Philip, John and the disciples are very concerned.  There is a Roman detachment stationed in tiny Nazareth and still two spies behind them.  And Nathaniel hates Romans.  Will their kingdom end here in Nazareth even before it begins?

   Mary has a large home.  The late Joseph’s son Judah has seen to that.  Nobody’s been around for weeks but the servants.  Mary, her son Joses, and the girls will go no further.  The wives, with the exception of Simon’s Jael, will set out for Capernaum in a few days.  First, Zebadiah will take a day trip to the capital city Sepphoris for business.  Though his sons try to dissuade him because of the danger, Zebadiah needs time to think.  Is this Yahshua, whom his sons now follow, the man from Heaven?

 

The Dispersion

   Jael, Simon’s bride, is nagging her new husband, anxious to get back to Cana and home.  She already misses her mother.  Simon didn’t marry to travel all the time.  The Yahshua People’ve been on the road for over three Sabbaths.  First thing in the morning, Mr. Zebadiah and servants will take the Sepphoris road from Nazareth for business, while Yahshua and his disciples accompany Simon and Jael on the Cana road.  They should all find their destinations by noon.  They have a banquet of bread, wine and pickled fish that evening, then set out by morning, with one spy following Zebadiah on the Sepphoris road and the other taking the Cana road behind Yahshua.  No sign of the third spy.

   These Roman spies dressed as Jews had seen great miracles back at the Jordan River.  The blind gained sight, possessed were freed, good news was preached.  They also saw not a few children, wracked with disease, instantly cured by Yahweh, the King of Heaven, whom Yahshua invoked.  Can this Kingdom of Heaven be real, the spies wonder?  Yahshua was right about the spy who left.  He did indeed return to Capernaum to report.  The Centurion has already issued a new order, which he plans to carry out personally.  He and a detachment of horse soldiers are even now making their way to Cana to intercept Yahshua and his people.

    On the road to Sepphoris, Zebadiah makes up his mind.  “Seeing is believing.  How amazing it was to see miracles and be touched myself.  I do believe in my heart upon both Yahshua and his father Yahweh, who sent him!  I feel born anew!”  This is Zebadiah’s final thought before armed robbers hijack his tiny caravan.  A single stab of a dagger finds his believing heart.  Our friend dies instantly: the first of many martyrs.  Seeing this from afar, the horrified spy waits then checks the bodies for signs of life before turning back for the garrison at Nazareth.

 

The Final Showdown

   When Yahshua and his disciples reach Simon’s in Cana, the entire village is in for a fearful encounter.  A Centurion and ten Roman soldiers ride into Cana on the Sea road and halt in the town square where all may see them.  Immediately, a second detachment rides in on the Nazareth road to meet up with the Centurion’s force.  Philip, among those hiding in Simon’s house, peers out and recognizes the spy who’d followed them, still dressed as a Jew, in the second detachment.  To their horror, the cavalry rides into Simon’s yard, where the marriage party was held.  The Centurion dismounts along with three others, their swords drawn.

   The Centurion shouts, “I adjure you men by Caesar to exit the house immediately or die.”  He has enough manpower to kill every living soul in the village.  “What shall we do?” Peter asks the Master.  All the disciples are terrorized.  Yahshua replies, “We do as we’re told.”  And the Good Shepherd leads the sheepish men out the door, into the face of fate.

   “You are the Rabbi of fishers, are you not?  I am the Centurion that you dared call “a wise fisher” back in Capernaum.  (Now Philip recognizes two of the three spies among the Romans; one now is uniformed.)  Yahshua asks the Centurion, “And have you captured your carp, sir?”  The Centurion replies, “You’re the carp, Rabbi.  And you’re captured.”  Shaking with fear, hiding a sword behind him, Peter thinks, “If our Master’s the carp, we’re just the minnies.” 

   “My men have followed you.  They report that you cured many children in the waters of the river.  Are you a healer then, rabbi?”  Yahshua replies, “Your men say I AM.”  Peter sweats and thinks, “Why must he smart off to this man?”  The towering Centurion closes in on the rabbi.  But surprisingly, his voice cracks as he quietly moans, “My son’s dying.  Come back with me and heal him.  Come.”  After a pause, Yahshua says, “Friend, must you see me heal (a sign) before you’ll believe?  Go back, your son lives.”  And from that moment, the Centurion believes, and his knotted, fearsome face relaxes in relief.  The disciples are amazed too, but they’ve seen too much not to believe.  James and Peter cry, “Praised be to Yahweh!  Hallelujah!”  John croons, “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!”

   Before the soldiers can remount, a spy dressed as a Jew leads three more soldiers to the house from the Nazareth road.  Philip recognizes the artificial Jew instantly as one of the spies.  These soldiers join the others.  The spy dismounts, and approaching the Centurion he removes his turban and salutes.  “Hail Caesar!  The party I followed northwest from Nazareth was robbed by bandits.  We returned with a detachment, caught the thieves and executed them.” 

   There’s a shocked silence.  James, John and Peter cringe at this news.  James cries out, “And what of my father, the elder of the party?”  The spy looks to the Centurion: “Tell him what he wants to know.”  “All four in the party are dead at the garrison in Nazareth.  I’m sorry.  There was nothing I could do.”  A salute is exchanged as the Centurion remounts and leads his troops swiftly back to Capernaum.  The other soldiers return to Nazareth, with James, Andrew and Peter following behind to claim the bodies of Zebadiah’s party.  Zebadiah’s youngest son John is in shock; he stays behind at Simon’s house, sobbing.  Like a father, Yahshua wraps his arms around the young disciple and loves him.  “Take courage, my son; take courage in Yahweh’s providence,” Yahshua says as he lays his hand on John’s head and silently prays.

   John croaks through his tears, “I don’t understand you, Master.  You save the Elohimless son of Sheth but allow my father, a son of Abraham, to perish cruelly.  Why?”  Yahshua looks to his Father, but . . . “Son, I’d tell you everything I know, for you are my beloved, my first-born of the spirit.  But this – this – I just do not know.”  The Master Rabbi holds his new son, still no more than a boy, close to his heart, and weeps with him there, in Simon’s house, in Cana of Galilee.