I’m always learning…but honestly the lesson I learned at the wedding reception surprised me.
But, let me show you instead of tell you.
Come walk with me and let’s take a closer look at the wedding reception at Cana in John 2. You can hear the laughter and the voices trying to talk over the loud music before you get close enough to see their faces.
At every wedding…
I always look for the bride first. I want to see what her dress looks like and the flushed glow on her face as she looks at her groom. And then … I want to see the look in the eyes of the groom…do his eyes smile…do they drink in her face like a love-sick puppy? Always a good sign…but not the only indication that they will be happy.
I can almost instantly spot the bride’s family…then I guess at the groom’s family…not always as accurate as I would hope. But there’s something even more important in this story than the wedding party, something that I had failed to notice even after coming to this portion of scripture on numerous occasions. No, I don’t want you to look at the obvious…the musicians or the dancers, or even the man laughing so loud at the end of the table…look at the servants.
Look at the servants.
They are doing their job well, so you’ll have to pay attention to find them. Silently carrying heavy trays. A job that began long before the reception, slaughtering and butchering, then cooking the animal until it is fragrant and tender. Every item was made from scratch beginning much further back in the process than I can imagine (Oh, how I love grocery stores!!). Such a wonderful assortment of breads and dried sweet apricots, figs and raisins, honey glazed almonds, salty olives and oily sardines. Don’t forget the platters piled heavy with fragrant meats cooked long and slow over a hot fire and then positioned on tables for hungry friends and family. Hard working servants that hurry without looking rushed to refill trays and glasses.
And at this magnificent party, they…
Diligently. Faithfully. Until the wine ran out….
Mary noticed and told Jesus.
“And what does that to have to do with us,” Jesus questioned her. I believe she answered with her eyes, with the look that means, “You know why!” Because Jesus replied, “It’s not my time yet.”
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, whom it would appear was also a close friend or relative of the wedding family, approached the servants. Nodding toward Jesus, she instructed them, “Do whatever He tells you.” Simple. Straight forward.
“Fill the water pots,” was His directive.
6 large…actually, HUGE water pots (approximately 20-30 gallons each)…the guest used the water to dip over their hands for ceremonial washing before they ate. However strange His request may have seemed…they obeyed filling each pot to the brim.
“Now dip some out and carry it to the wedding director,” was His next instruction. They knew water was NOT on the menu. But they simply obeyed.
Did they know?
Did their heart pound in their chest wondering what would happen to them for bringing water to be tested before it was served?
The Wedding Director didn’t!
The first words that tumbled over the Wedding Director’s shocked lips was something like “Oh wow!” He had to bring this to the attention of the bridegroom. Still not in on the “inside story,” he gushed with shocked excitement, “Most people serve the best wine first, but you have saved the best for last.”
The wedding party enjoyed the delicious wine, but I’m not sure they had the faintest idea what had happened. John is the only writer that mentions this first miracle of Jesus. I don’t think it was time for a public announcement yet. Jesus simply met a need, but the disciples knew and they believed. Jesus had done what no one could do unless God was with them. He had turned the water into wine. This miracle was a confirmation to what they already knew in their heart—Jesus was indeed the Messiah!
The servants played a part in Jesus’ Miracle!
But look back with me at the servants…they had just partnered with the Messiah. They had filled the jars with the water that Jesus used to turn into wine. They weren’t overlooked, marginalized or minimized by Jesus.
The Bible is silent,
but I can’t help but wonder, were they shocked when they saw the color and the fragrance of the wine? Do you think the servants did their own happy dance when no one was looking? Did they pour some into the palm of their hand and taste it?
They absolutely knew they had put water in and now they were pouring out wine! Nobody, NOBODY understood the gravity of what had just happened greater than the servants! They had received an honor greater than attending the wedding, they had partnered with Jesus.
Do Whatever He Says
Mary’s words echo across the pages of time…”Do whatever He says!” It is as true today as it was then. Let that soak in. “Do whatever He says.”
It seems that God wants to partner with people. But not as stars, simply servants. He is the star. We are called to reflect His glory so people will hear and believe. As a servant we are called to be laborers together with Christ. Even Jesus came to serve, not be served.
Are you willing to do the “little” things?
How ’bout the hard things? How many times do we miss the miraculous because we are not willing to fill the water pots! How many miracles do we miss because we are looking for a position of honor instead of a place to serve?
I want to see more miracles.
I am convinced they come through hearing His voice and doing what He says. Pray. Give. Serve.
Lord, help me tune our ears to hear your voice. Help us to obey, even when our mind wants to question…to understand. Help us to do what you say, so others will see and put their trust in you.