Jesonian … June 23rd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3712)

“He turned the water into wine.”

Let’s just stop and think about that. Jesus had a cousin named John, who took a Nazarite vow. No liquor.

A very popular religious cult of the time, the Essenes, also were teetotalers.

Even though many historians will note that wine was a common drink of the masses, it was often considered forbidden–actually uncommon among those who deemed themselves religious–especially if you were just starting a movement.

What were you trying to communicate? After all, water is the symbol of life–to such an extent that we often refer to “the water of God’s word.”

Why would Jesus care that a young married couple ran out of wine during their reception? What was that to him?

To me, the message is clear. Water is what you drink when you’re thirsty. Wine is what you select when you want to get buzzed.

A transition was in order. A New Testament was about to be unleashed on the world. What better symbolism than to make it clear that water–in other words, our lives–was meant to be wine, thus intoxicating?

No longer were we to merely survive, but celebrate.

It wasn’t an issue of sustaining our beings, but rather, imbibe by getting drunk on the Spirit.

You don’t have to go any further than the commands he gave to the servants, who were to set the miracle in motion.

1. “Fill it to the brim.”

Six water pots in all, holding at least fifteen gallons each. So we’re talking about ninety gallons of wine. This was not a gift to “finish up the party.” Rather, it was an inclination to keep the party going.

2. “Pour it out.”

Get it into people’s cups. Don’t display it. Don’t revere it. Don’t call it “holy wine.” This is drinking vino. This wine is for the purpose of people “rejoicing and being exceedingly glad.” No longer are our lives supposed to be watered down, but instead, juiced up.

3. “Make it the best.”

Jesus told the servants to take the wine to the governor of the feast, who sardonically panned, “Usually at these weddings they bring out the crappy wine at the end. But you’ve saved the best for last.”

What is crappy wine? It’s wine that is either freshly-squeezed grape juice, or so old that it’s almost turned to vinegar.

There’s a message here–we need to stop acting like we’re grape juice–pure and without sin–or that we’re turning into vinegar in our pews because we’re so soured by our life and our experiences.

Taste good.

Inebriate.

It was the message of Cana of Galilee.

You don’t start a revolution by walking away from a wedding feast, refusing to make wine over spiritual pettiness.

You create an international revival by being the one who has the sense, at the right moment, to put the “juice on the loose.”

 

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Jesonian … March 17th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3614)

Setting the stage:

Jesus is in the beginning of his ministry. Fresh. Optimistic. Sharing high-sounding principles to what most people might consider a low-brow audience.

One day he is interrupted by the arrival of elders from a near-by town. They are Jewish leaders. The strange thing about the situation is that they have been sent by a Roman Centurion to intercede on the behalf of his servant, for healing.

The elders waste no time. They interrupt Jesus, testifying about the quality of the character of this Centurion.

“He is a friend of our nation. He even built us a synagogue,” they tout.

Most Romans were considered by the Jews to be conquering terrorists–not that different from ISIS in our day. So for the elders of a Jewish town to bear testimony for a Roman Centurion was not only peculiar, but inspirational.

Jesus drops what he’s doing and heads off toward the servant.

Then another strange thing happens. The Centurion rethinks his position. He obviously has a keen mind, and realizes that if Jesus enters his home–the domicile of a Roman–he could ruin his ministry for all time. It would be a disgrace to be in the house of a Gentile, and Jesus would be considered unclean.

So he suggests that Jesus just say the word, proclaiming the healing. The Centurion cites that he lives by commands all the time.

Jesus is astounded. Jesus learns from him, and says he has “never seen so great a faith in Israel.”

So Jesus says the word, and the servant is healed.

It’s a beautiful story. It lets us know several things.

1. The Gospel is not a Jewish Gospel.

2. It is possible for people of all races to get along as long as they show respect to one another.

3. The power in faith is in always simplifying your belief instead of complicating it.

But let us consider a possible scenario:

Such a man as the Centurion certainly, in three year’s time, moved up in promotions. Because he got along so well with the occupied people, he would be very valuable to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. There would be a very good chance he would end up in Jerusalem.

In the Holy City, he would have been given authority and respect, and placed in charge of difficult situations–maybe a predicament like carrying out a capital punishment during Passover week–because we are told that there is a Centurion at the cross.

Just for the sake of discussion–what if it was the same man? What if he arrived at his job early that morning and discovered that he was supposed to escort a prisoner to Golgotha–three of them, actually–and crucify them before six o’clock that night?

What if he was shocked to find that one of them was Jesus, the young man who had healed his servant three years earlier?

What should he do? His heart is torn apart. Yet to try to rig an escape would be complete death for Jesus, himself and many other innocent people.

What is left to him?

The keen mind is set in motion. The Centurion realizes they’ve already taken Jesus and beaten him, and that the Temple guards had cruelly mistreated him. There’s only one thing left for him to do–a single mission to honor the one who healed his servant. He tries to make the end easier.

After all, somebody gave the command for Simon of Cyrene to carry his cross.

Someone allowed John and his mother, Mary, to be near the foot of the cross to listen to his words and encourage him.

Someone kept the soldiers from tearing his Jesus’ apart, and instead, gambled for it–with him possibly winning the prize.

Someone knelt down, and as they nailed his hands, tenderly looked in his eyes, to comfort him.

Somebody asked them to be careful when they dropped the cross in its place.

Somebody grabbed a long reed and put vinegar and medication on it for him to drink when he was thirsty.

There was compassion at the cross.

And if it was the same Centurion, he did the best with what he had, to make things better than they might be.

Maybe that’s the definition of faith–doing the best with what we have, to make things better than they might be.

And when the Earth shook, the skies darkened and Jesus took his last breath, could it have been the same Centurion who looked up at his friend on the cross, and said, “Truly this man was the Son of God.”

*****

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Cracked 5 … September 6th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3056)

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Things I Encountered On My Drive From Adrian to Howell, Michigan

A.  A convenience store advertising “Fresh Milk” (was fresh necessary??)

 

B.  A sign: “Watch Out For Buggies” (obviously a state-specific sport)

 

C.  Ypsilanti (I think the founder probably meant “Oopsilanti”)

 

D.  A township (which was neither a village nor a boat)

 

E.  A wolverine racing a spartan to get a buckeye

 Cracked 5 Wolverine

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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Cracked 5 … August 30th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3049)

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Things That Are Easy to Forget to Pick Up at the Grocery Store

A. Tooth cream (the paste makes you gag)

 

B. Eucalyptus leaves soaked in Jakarta Vinegar, for the mustard poultice used on your gout

 

C. Organically nurtured snails

 

D. Gluten fortified Sugar Smacks with extra preservatives and double Yellow Dye 8

 

E. That “do-it-yourself tooth-filling kit” with raspberry-coated Novocaine pellets

Cracked 5 Jakarta

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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Cracked 5 … March 29th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2888)

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Much Less Commercial Names for the Fab Four (The Beatles) Had They Not Been John, Paul, Ringo and George

A. Humphrey, Noel, Jackal and Quincy

 

B. Neville, Winston, Franklin and Benito

 

C. Tommy, Timmy, Toby and Tarbaby

 

D. Fish, Chips, Vinegar and Suds

 

E. Figgy, Iggy, Jiggy and Bigamy

Cracked 5 Beatles

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What’s So Funny? … May 9, 2013

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laugh maskI made one of those classic mistakes.

Spurred on by some friends and supporters, for a season I decided to advertise myself as a comedian or a humorist. It seemed like a good idea. After all, most people like light-hearted material over crusty pages with darkened corners.

But here’s what I discovered: arriving at my first engagement, fully promoted, a gentleman ambled up to me and said, “So I hear you’re a comedian.” (I would describe his tone as a mingling of spit and vinegar, accentuated with a sneer.)

I was in trouble.

For honestly, the best way to make sure that people will NOT find joviality in your material is to suggest to them that it is meant to be giggly. We are a highly independent species, bound and determined to push forward our own opinions, even if they’re wrong.

It took about two weeks, but I caught on. I dropped the foolish title from my advertising and decided to just go in front of the audience and let the chips fall where they may. Guess what? I was suddenly funny again.

So here’s what I learned from that experience. You might find it beneficial if you are in the pursuit of offering levity to the planet.

1. Don’t TRY to be funny.

2. BE funny–by sharing your “tries.” People love to laugh at our failures. You can call it sick, or just dub it predictable.

3. Don’t make fun of people. It’s cheap and eventually there is someone out there who will get a bead on your oddities–and decimate your character.

4. Make people believe in fun. In the midst of a world of turmoil, discussing the layers of conflict rarely brings about the energy to do anything about it. We have to believe that life is fun or we’ll stop showing up.

5. Don’t lose the humor of God. I was at a church service one time and we were all laughing, having a good time before the service, when the pastor said, “Let’s all calm down and get ready for worship.” I had to object. I replied, “What are you trying to do? Scare God away?” If God does not promote joy, then He’s probably pretty grouchy. I don’t think it does us any good to believe in a grouchy God.

6. And we promote the humor of God because God saves the lost THROUGH humor. The parables of Jesus are riddled by one-liners, set-ups and little stabs of comedy. If you can’t get people to look at their lives through the prism of jubilation and with a bit of jocular nature, the pain involved in changing is just too great.

So to answer the question “what’s so funny?” — it would be me, when I don’t TRY to be funny. And it would be you AND me when we realize that “be of good cheer” is the only way to overcome the world’s tribulation.

 

 

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

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