A Year of Listening to Jesus 1/12

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. John 2:7-8

Sometimes it seems like God asks us to do things that make no sense and don’t seem to be very spiritual at all. In 2 Kings 5 a man named Naaman has leprosy. He goes to Elijah to be healed and Elijah tells him to bath in the nearby river. Naaman is take aback by this because he expected Elijah to do something more dramatic, more powerful.

I have to believe that the servants Jesus spoke to in John chapter 2 where also a bit confused. If Jesus was going to do something about the wine running out shouldn’t there be something more dramatic? Shouldn’t there be calling down some power from heaven, some long, loud prayers at least. Yet all Jesus tells them to do is fill the vessels with water and then give some to the steward of the wedding. As far as they can tell Jesus didn’t even pray. Yet this miracle happens.

It should be a lesson to us that God doesn’t need to be outlandish in order to do the miraculous. He doesn’t need to send fire from heaven or knock people over with a word, or have someone shout and dance and break into a sweat in order to do something powerful. In fact, often times in the ministry of Jesus, he did the miraculous in very subtle ways. Often, as we will see, when Jesus healed someone he told them to be quiet about it. He wasn’t flamboyant, certainly not like many TV preachers today. That should tell us something. God doesn’t need charisma. He doesn’t need flash and glitz. In fact it seems that most often God works in very normal, everyday kinds of ways. But those are no less miraculous that when he sends fire from heaven.

The trick for us is to see God at work in the little things. We need to see God at work when someone crosses your path that you never expected but it becomes clear that he arranged it. We need to see God in the quietness of breaking bread and sharing it with one another in holy fellowship. We need to see the miraculous in the birth of a child and the rebirth of an adult into faith in Christ. We need to see the power of God at work in the sermon that speaks right to a current need. We need to see the miraculous in forty people showing up to pain the house of a single mom with cancer, even though they never met her before. Just like those servants who listened to Jesus and did a very mundane thing that turned into a miracle, you and I need to obey Jesus in the mundane things in life and let him turn them into powerful testimonies to Him.

A Year of Listening to Jesus 1/11

 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” John 2:4

After Jesus gathered a few disciples they were invited to a wedding in Cana. Jewish weddings in the first century were a big deal and could last for days. The better the celebration the greater blessing the bride and groom would be expected to have in their marriage. On this occasion things go south and the wine runs out. Mary, the mother of Jesus comes asking him to do something. This is a very strange request because Jesus hasn’t performed a single miracle yet. But for some reason Mary seems to think he can fix this.

His response to her is even more perplexing. What did Jesus mean when he said his time had not yet come? And if that means he was not ready to tip his hand and make himself known through a miracle, why does he go ahead and perform the miracle anyway? The reason for saying his time had not yet come was that Jesus was focused on the primary reason he came into the world, to be the suffering servant who went to the cross in order to be the redeemer and savior. Nothing else would deflect him from that mission. It wasn’t the right time for people to begin looking to him as the messiah.

One would expect then that Jesus would not do anything about the wine. But Mary is not deterred and simply tells the servants to do whatever he, Jesus, tells you to do. At which point Jesus performs his first miracle. Even though this blog is focusing on the words of Jesus, it is the words of Mary in this story that are so powerful. “Do whatever Jesus tells you to do”. How much better would your life be if you just did whatever Jesus tells you to do? How much pain and hardship would you have avoided if you simply did that? Yet so often we think we know better. We try to nuance what he says or just ignore it. But Jesus has the words of life. He ignore him to our own peril. Do whatever he tells you to do. You can’t beat that.