A number of lessons can be drawn from John 2:1-11 when Jesus quietly turned water into wine.
Jesus, his disciples, and his mother were at a bridal party when Mary became aware of the bridal family’s dilemma: they were out of wine. In that time period, that would be a cause for great shame for the hosts. So she sought Jesus’ help.
I also need to be continually and compassionately interceding for people when I’m aware of their problems, trusting that God knows best how to handle the situation. Knowing people’s problems can crush us unless we have the faith to believe God will intervene. The very fact that God makes me aware of a problem should be a source of hope that He’ll take care of it. He doesn’t put needs on our hearts to crush us, but to motivate us to pray.
I suspect Mary knew this because, even though Jesus said his time had not yet come and tenderly asked her why she involved him, she told the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do. She obviously expected Jesus to do something and she recognized the importance of strict obedience.
In verses 7-8 we see faith and obedience in action. The servants must have wondered why Jesus would ask them to fill the jars with water, and how that would solve the wine shortage problem. They may have even been fearful of ridicule or a reprimand when he told them to draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet. Perhaps they wondered what they’d say to the master if he asked why they were bringing him water. But they obeyed. Imagine their surprise when they learned it had been changed to wine! In verse 11 we learn that this miracle caused the disciples to “put their faith in him.”
It is wise to obey God, even when it doesn’t make sense, and be prepared for a pleasant surprise when we discover what He’s doing. So,
a) take all my problems to Jesus, believing He’ll help
b) obey—exactly! (Lean not on my own understanding.)
c) fear not; trust Him (put my faith in Him)
It’s possible that Mary’s action in verse 5 also represented surrender on her part. She told the servants to obey Jesus and then waited to see what he’d do. Since he had told her it wasn’t his time yet, she may have just backed off and waited to see if he was willing to help. Her motive in seeking his help was good (concern for others), so she asked, surrendered, and waited. That’s a good example to follow. Take all my concerns to Him, then surrender to His will and timing, and wait to see how He chooses to answer.
Jesus only revealed his glory before his disciples and some servants. He performed the miracle inconspicuously, without drawing attention to himself. He also answered a request in a way that one might not expect him to answer: making wine for people who were already getting drunk and would not appreciate the quality of the wine he had made. This makes me think that I should also help whomever God leads me to help and not worry about whether or not I’m being taken advantage of or even whether or not it makes sense.
There are four lessons I get from this:
- Sometimes Jesus performs miracles just for a select few to witness. We must be careful not to share those miracles where they won’t be appreciated. If we suspect someone will just call it “luck” or “coincidence,” it probably isn’t intended for them. So, make sure I pray about who to share the miracles with.
- In my giving, obey God’s leading and don’t worry about the consequences or results. We humans don’t like to be taken advantage of and we worry about being conned out of our money, or contributing to someone’s vice (such as giving a stranger a hand-out and wondering how he’ll use the money). God tells us He only wants us to be cheerful givers, so if we aren’t giving willingly then we shouldn’t give. But if He gives us a generous heart, then give in the name of Jesus and let God deal with how it gets spent. Jesus, in making wine, could have been accused of contributing to people’s drunkenness, yet faith was the result in his disciples. Even if someone is lying to me, if it presents me with an opportunity to share the gospel, consider it money used for the glory of God.
- In verse 10 we also see that Jesus broke the human tradition of saving the cheap wine for when the guests were drunk. He offered the guests the very best, regardless of their condition, knowing they may be too drunk to appreciate it. That’s what Jesus does for all sinners. He offers Himself (the very best) regardless of the state of depravity they’re in, and regardless of whether or not they’ll appreciate it. Likewise, I need to offer myself as God leads (my time, energy, money, talents) regardless of whether or not I think the recipient will appreciate it. But let them know Jesus’ love is motivating me, so the gift won’t be wasted.
- Verse 10 also illustrates that Jesus is not bound to the human way of doing things. I often try to limit Him according to my understanding but I need to be open to anything no matter how illogical it seems to me. His way is always better! Just as He offered the best wine to drunk people, so He offers the best solutions to sinners. Trust Him and don’t limit Him to my understanding. Give Him free reign.
It’s always best to follow Christ’s example!