Creating Special out of Ordinary

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Highlights recorded in my Bible from John 2:1-11

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

This party was about to turn into a social disaster! In the culture of that time, weddings were a huge social event that could last for a week. And, if possible, you invited everyone you knew to join in the celebration.

John gives us a glimpse into what was going on behind the scene.  Jesus turned imminent humiliation into joy.

“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

First, while we may think this sounds a bit rude to address your mother this way, I’ve learned that to the Jews living in Jesus’ time, the term was not disrespectful. In fact, we can observe Jesus use the same term when He spoke tenderly to Mary from the cross (John 19:26).

But I do wonder if this was the first time Jesus called his mother by that name. Was He revealing to her the shift from her parental authority to the total authority of His Father in heaven? Would this be the moment that she would recognize that Jesus was not just her son but rather, the Son of Man? No longer her child, but her Messiah?

Regardless, Mary recognized a problem existed and she took it to Jesus. It wasn’t a life or death crisis yet there was a lot at stake. Without enough wine for their guests, this family would not be able to lift their faces the next day. Their community regarded hospitality as a duty. Their name would forever be linked to the social blunder.

Mary didn’t tell Jesus what to do and she didn’t offer advice about how she thought the problem should be handled. Hmmm…my prayers can sound different. Sometimes I decide a problem is too insignificant in the whole scheme of life so I choose not to ask God to intervene. Or I offer my solutions to God for the way I would take care of difficult circumstances. I can act as if I sit on His throne and can see the larger perspective. I behave like a spoiled child who thinks she knows best! Yet, in this dialogue between Mary and Jesus, I find assurance that Jesus is willing to invest Himself in everyday life problems. And I am reminded that He can do much more than I could imagine. I would never have thought to suggest that Jesus turn water into wine.

Another thing I especially love about this story, is how Jesus cares about the reputation of His friends. God’s name, which represents His character, matters enough to Him that He commanded, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God” (Exodus 20:7). We were created in His image, so He understands that we care about our name and what it tells people about us.

I once worried about how a choice I made would affect my reputation to others I respected. Without an opportunity to explain my motives or defend myself against false perceptions, what would people think of me? I expressed this concern to a young woman who is half my age, and she very wisely said, “Allow your reputation to precede you. God will guard your name.” Deep sigh of relief at the reminder! God cares about my name and reputation. He can protect it. And really, He knows the truth and the condition of my heart. That is truly what is of the utmost importance.

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from 20 – 30 gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

They didn’t just add water to the jars…they filled them to the brim! And through their obedience, they became first hand witnesses to an amazing revelation of Jesus’ power to transform water used to wash dirty hands and feet into the choicest of wine. In the same way, Jesus changes sinners into saints. He creates something special out of the ordinary.

Then He told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water than had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you saved the best til now.”

I love that the servants were allowed to participate in a miraculous sign. Jesus didn’t need them to help. Since He is perfectly capable of changing water into wine, He could certainly fill the jars Himself. But instead He invites us to serve alongside Him. He allows us to be a part of something divine.

I read this passage and also find assurance that Jesus’ best will come after trials. And I know that ultimately, His best will come at the end of my life on this earth.

This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

I love exploring how the Old Testament points to the New Testament and how the New Testament explains the Old. And I know that God often reveals spiritual truths through physical realities. So I wonder, is the Old Covenant, with its law and need for continual cleansing, represented by the water? And does the wine represent the New Covenant, morphed by Jesus’ blood and His law of grace which finished what the Old Covenant could not do on its own?

Perhaps, and what a great reason to party. Yes, maybe, but this I know for certain. God cares and can do more than we could ever ask or imagine.

Questions to ponder:

Do I share my everyday concerns with God, or do I limit our conversations to matters of crisis?

Do I pray “my will be done” or “thy will be done”?

Do I obey God to the point that I “fill the jars to the brim”?

Have I placed my faith in Jesus?

 

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