The first public event that Jesus attended with His disciples was a wedding. It took place in a small Galilean Village called Cana. For a man planning to change the world, that seems a strange way to start – by attending a wedding in a country town. And yet, Jesus performed His first miracle there.
As weddings go, it was apparently quite an occasion. To the bride and groom and their families, it was doubtless one of the major events of history. All weddings are special to someone. Your own wedding – past or future – was or will be special to you. So were or will be the weddings of your family members and close friends.
But for most people, weddings are rather ordinary events. They take place every day. I have no idea how many people in the world get married on any given day, but I am sure the number would be mind-boggling.
One of the few things in life that most people do is getting married. And the sheer repetition of the event tends to make it ordinary. But I am sure that Jesus did not feel that way about this wedding. It was important enough to Him that He was willing to leave whatever He was doing in order to be there. Jesus did not see this wedding as an ordinary event because of His capacity for finding the special in the ordinary. Things that were commonplace to most people were, for Him, alive with beauty and meaning.
He saw wildflowers blooming on the hillside. To the average eye, they were “grass of the field.” To Him, they were symbols of divine providence. He was confident that if God would dress wildflowers in radiant splendor, He would surely provide clothing for His children.
Jesus was not only a student of nature; He was also a keen observer of people. He saw possibilities in plain men and women that no one else had ever noticed. A poor widow, dropping two copper coins into the temple treasury was, to Him, the ultimate example sacrificial giving. A blind beggar, beside the city gates of Jericho, was worthy of His time and attention. A condemned thief, dying on the cross, was, in His clear vision, a suitable resident for paradise.
So, one of the major differences between Him and us was this: We see people in broad generalities and regard them according to their function. The person who delivers our mail is a mail carrier. The person who brings our coffee is a waiter or waitress. Jesus looked upon people as individual children of God, regardless of what their roles in life might be. He saw the specifics. His life is an in-depth study of finding the special in the ordinary.
Can we do that? I hope so. If we cannot see the worth, beauty and dignity of the people around us, it is doubtful that we could see those qualities in anybody.
Allow me to offer a suggestion for each of us in the week that lies ahead. Don’t search for exceptional people. Instead, let us follow the example of Jesus, and find the special in the ordinary.