Jesus and His disciples are there at the wedding. They’re having a good time. They're making conversation. Now to understand what's happening here you have to understand that first century Jewish weddings lasted for more than a week, sometimes up to nine days. So don’t think of a wedding reception in the 21st-century that's over after a few hours and then everybody goes home. But think of an ongoing continuous feast. Then all of a sudden in the midst of all the celebration, a problem arises. We pick up the story in verse three…
And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it.
Now notice that had the servants not done what Jesus asked them to do there would have been no miracle in Cana that day! And this is where a lot of us struggle. Oh yes, we have invited Jesus into our lives, but we don't want to do what He says. If some of us were those servants in Cana, we would've had all kinds of objections for Jesus. So here it is friends. If you need a miracle in your life you’ve got to...
Do What He Says
Francis Chan, the author of Crazy Love, tells the story of his daughter and his instructions to her to clean her room. He simply asks his little daughter to go upstairs and clean her room. Then he says what if she comes back down stairs after a few minutes and tells him that she memorized everything he told her. She says, "Daddy, I memorized what you said. You said for me to go upstairs and clean my room." Perturbed, he looks at her and asks her if she cleaned her room, but she says no. Yet this is what we do with God. We read His word and even memorize parts of it, but still do not do what it says! Francis then thanks her for memorizing what he said, but sends her right back up stairs to clean her room. He then poses another scenerio. What if she comes back later and says that she got some of her friends together and they got in a room and discussed what her life would look like if she actually cleaned her room. Sounds silly doesn't it? But this is what we do with God. We get together in small groups at home or at church and study the Bible, but never actually apply what it says to our lives. Or here is something else we do. We go to hear someone speak or buy the book of someone who actually did what God said in His word and get all inspired, but still never do what He said ourselves!
Jesus' mother was also at this wedding. And based on the statement she makes to Jesus the text seems to suggest that she was apart of the coordination of what was happening behind-the-scenes at the wedding. You also get this sense based on the fact that the servants at the wedding listened to her instructions to do what Jesus said, when at that time women were considered second-class citizens. Notice that Mary does not come to Jesus, telling them how He needs to fix the situation. She simply comes to Him with the problem. “They have no more wine.” Some of us would do well to follow the example of the mother of Jesus and simply come to Him with our problems, instead of telling Him how to fix the problem. It reminds me of when Lazarus was sick, in John 11, and the message came to Jesus and His disciples from Mary and Martha that the one whom He loved was sick. There were no instructions on how or when He was to heal His friend Lazarus. In both instances there was something about the relationship that they had with Jesus that they felt it was enough to simply come to Him with the problem and they knew that He would do something.
Now, some of you may be tempted to think that the way Jesus responded to His mother was a little abrasive or even rude. But we need to remember that Jesus is the same One that wrote the commandment with His own finger to honor your mother and your father. He was simply keeping with the Eastern custom of honoring a lady by referring to her as woman, which was a term of endearment. It would sound something like this, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me?” I love this statement from Ellen in the Desire of Ages… “On the cross, in His last act of tenderness toward His mother, Jesus again addressed her in the same way, as He committed her to the care of His best-loved disciple. Both at the marriage feast and upon the cross, the love expressed in tone and look and manner interpreted His words.”
Now at this wedding Mary reminds me very much of my mother at my wedding. She had such maternal pride that her eldest son was getting married that she was in her glory. God bless her. She had her view of how everything in the wedding should be. She wanted not one but two limousines. She wanted two flower girls. At the wedding rehearsal she almost started to coordinate the wedding. We just simply wanted her to come and relax and enjoy the wedding ceremony. We already had a wedding coordinator. Jesus' mother was no different. She knew that He had just started His public ministry and wanted Him to do something at the wedding that would reveal His mission and who He really was. Jesus' response was simply telling her though he loved her dearly, that He must now receive His instructions from His Father alone. Jesus knew that the time had not yet come for the fullest revelation of who He was and what He came to do. One of the main themes of the Gospel of John is the theme of “the hour.” Whenever you read the Gospel of John and you come across “the hour” it is referring to the hour of the cross. All throughout the story in the Gospel of John Jesus says "My hour has not yet come", "My hour has not yet come", and then towards the end He says "My hour has come." We will come back to the significance of this hour in a moment. However Mary’s faith is not shaken by her Son’s response. She must now exercise faith in Him as her Messiah. It is then that she tells the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them to do. Maybe there was something in Jesus tone or facial expression that made her believe that though this was not the hour, He would still do something. And it's to this faith that Jesus responds.
At this wedding feast are six water pots of stone. Last summer I had the privilege of going to Cana of Galilee on the New Testament tour. Now you need to understand that each one of these water pots contained 20 to 30 gallons apiece, or about 80 - 120 liters. They were too heavy to carry. They were used for the Jewish ritual cleansing. They were used for ceremonial and ritual purification. Jesus asking the servants to get water from these to serve the wedding guests would've made absolutely no sense to the servants. Yet they didn't make any excuses or ask any questions. Now you know with some of us it would've been a full on conversation about why we are messing with water when the guests need wine. But do you know that sometimes Jesus will ask you to do something that makes no sense. And many of you are not receiving the miracles that you're seeking from God because your still trying to figure out how God's going to workout His miracle in your life, instead of simply doing what He's asked you to do. No obedience, no miracle! Some of you reading might be thinking that sounds awfully legalistic, but it's not. There is a difference between legalistic obedience and loving obedience. Legalistic obedience is trying to earn God’s favor by merely checking off a list of rules and requirements. Loving obedience is when God has already granted you this favor, He has already saved you, you're in right relationship with Him, and you love Him because He first loved you by dying on the cross for you. Therefore out of the heart of pure love for Jesus and through the infilling empowerment of the Holy Spirit you do what Jesus says. So watch this, notice what Jesus was saying by asking the servants to take water from the waterpots and turning it into the pure wine of the grape juice. He was saying that you use this mere ceremonial ritual to receive cleansing, but only My blood as symbolized by the wine can cleanse you from your sin!. Listen to this beautiful statement by Ellen, “The gift of Christ to the marriage feast was a symbol. The water represented baptism into His death; the wine, the shedding of His blood for the sins of the world. The water to fill the jars was brought by human hands, but the word of Christ alone could impart to it life-giving virtue. So with the rites which point to the Saviour's death. It is only by the power of Christ, working through faith, that they have efficacy to nourish the soul.” The washing rituals are inferior to the wine of the blood of Jesus! But had they not done what Jesus said, they would've never experienced participating in this first miracle of Jesus.
Many of you are not experiencing all that God has for you because you’re not willing to do what He says. And in order for you to do what God says you need to be spending time, daily with Jesus, in His word, listening to His voice. you can't do what He's asking you to do if you don't know what He said. To do what He says, you got to know what He says in His word. Some of you, you know God says to surrender your heart to Jesus and be baptized and join the church, but you just want to come "get your praise on" and leave. God says to get in His word and join a small group bible study, but you’ve got other commitments. God says get off the pew and join a ministry, but! God says talk to that friend and share your testimony with them, but! Come on friends, let’s stop giving excuses and raise the bar of our commitment to Christ! Let’s do what Christ is asking us to do in this community and be about His mission and last day movement! Then watch God begin to pour out His miracles in your life.