I have a naturally curious brain. When there are things I do not know that I want to know, an irresistible urge to find the answer wells up within me. I will not be satisfied until I find an answer. This can be frustrating when knowing the answer is impossible which occurs surprisingly often in Bible stories. There are several episodes in the Bible that make me curious. Scripture scholars over the centuries have refused to insert footnotes that explain these things, leaving us with a scriptural mystery. Sometimes, taking these unknown parts of the Bible into prayer (especially when you are doing Lectio Divina) can lead to some unique prayer experiences.
When Mary went to visit her relative Elizabeth, Luke records their greeting but is silent on the visit after that. This visit lasted about three months. They had to have talked about something. What did they talk about? Two women experiencing miraculous pregnancies do not sit and talk about the weather for three months. What did they discuss?
The Hidden Years
Between the infancy narratives and the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, not much is said about what Jesus did during that time. What was discussed around the Holy Family’s supper table? Presumably, they lived like a normal family. But, how normal can their family life have been when the mother and the Son did not sin?
Joseph, without question, would have taught Jesus about being a carpenter and worked with him during the day. What occurred when they were done working for the day, though? What did the Holy Family do to relax? People of all cultures in all periods of history have played games for entertainment. What games did the Holy Family play? Did Jesus win every time, or did he let others win? When Joseph won, was he satisfied with his victory, or did he recognize that Jesus let him win and found himself unable to enjoy his win?
Anyone else hoping for a Jesus of Nazareth Part 4 from Pope Emeritus Benedict?
The Wedding at Cana
The first recorded intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of my favorite stories. One of the reasons it is a favorite of mine is the amount of speculation it inspires in my brain. Jesus seems to reject the idea of providing the bride and groom with more wine for their feast, but Mary ignored this and told the waitstaff to do whatever Jesus tells them to do. What the Bible does not relate here is the silent emotions expressed by Mary and Jesus.
Saint John does not mention the way Mary said, “They have no wine.” After growing up hearing comments like this from their mothers, adult children become quite adept at interpreting their mother’s facial expression and vocal tones. What did Mary do that alerted Jesus to the fact that Mary did not simply share a fun fact with Jesus but that she wanted Him to do something? Jesus clearly picked up on Mary’s subtext because he responds, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” One has to wonder how Jesus said that. Did He make it clear to His mother that He had no intention of doing something? Was Jesus giving His mother a sly look when He said this, implying that He knew what she was doing and He was on board? Did Jesus whine (see what I did there?) as He said that?
Then, Mary told the servers, “Do whatever He tells you.” How did she say that? Was she glancing at Jesus as she said it, making a silent demand of her Son? Did she wink at Jesus as she said this? Were they sharing an inside joke with their eyes? I love thinking about these questions; there are so many different scenarios to consider.
Jesus Rebuked a Fever
Jesus rebukes a lot of things in the Bible: Peter, the Pharisees, those who had turned the temple into a marketplace, demons, etc. One of the more curious rebukings Jesus issued was when he rebuked the fever of Simon’s mother-in-law (Luke 4:39). The Bible simply says Jesus rebuked the fever but does not give details on the rebuking. Why was there no quotation included? How does one rebuke a fever? What do you say to a fever to rebuke it? Is there anything one can say to a fever?
Jesus and the Twelve Apostle’s Travel Entertainment
Other than riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, Jesus and the twelve Apostles walked everywhere they went or rode a boat across the Sea of Galilee. These journeys could get long (the journey to Caesarea Philippi being one particularly long trek). Jesus could not have preached all the time. He would have lost their attention. There must have been something they did to pass the time as they walked from place to place. What would they do? I am sure they did not do this:
Peter: “I spy with my little eye something beginning with the letter S”
Everyone Else: “Sand.”
Writing in the Sand
When a woman caught in the act of adultery is brought before Jesus, He does not say anything and just writes in the sand. The Bible does not say what He wrote. I have heard plenty of speculation but nothing that seems satisfying. Did anyone who was present read what He was writing? He most likely did not write, “Jesus was here.” Did He write something significant, or was He merely doodling until everyone left?”
Peter, James, and John saw Jesus transfigured in front of them. While this was going on, Jesus talked with Moses and Elijah. Peter, James, and John undoubtedly heard them conversing because it is in the Bible. They heard them speaking, but not one of them thought to tell anyone what they discussed! I’d love to know.
What do you think of these stories? Are there any moments in the Bible you wonder about? Let us know in the comments!