So there’s this wedding. And it’s time for the reception. And Mary, Jesus’ mother, is there. And Jesus is there with his brand new disciples. And the wedding planner miscalculated, so they ran out of wine.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been at a wedding where you were privy to what was happening behind the scenes but if you have, you know that when the supply of drinks, or food, or any other essential item runs out, the women involved start to–well, their emotional intensity rises significantly. Kathy was involved in serving a meal at our son’s wedding and she was so nervous she kept repeating the question, “Is there butter on the table?” I mean she said that like twenty times. It was kind of crazy. But because she and others cared so much it was also a beautiful meal.
Anyway, so Mary the mother of Jesus is a woman at a wedding where they ran out of an essential item. And she looks at Jesus. And in my imagination I see her looking at him with deep knowledge in her eyes. Because indelible in her mind is the visit from Gabriel, God’s angel, who told her she would miraculously conceive the Messiah, the Savior of the world. She knows Jesus is more than a man. She knows who his Father is. She knows He’s the Son of God and she looks at him, and she looks to him for an answer to her problem. She looks at him, knowing he can help, but then, she doesn’t ask for anything. She simply says,
We’re out of wine.
Jesus knows what she wants but he responds: My hour hasn’t come yet.
Then Mary, moving forward, says to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
So they do. They did whatever he told them. And there was wine. And not just wine, but the best wine ever.
And they brought it to the man in charge of the wedding and served it to him, and the guy couldn’t believe how amazing it tasted. And the scriptures say, When the man in charge tasted the water now become wine, he didn’t know where it came from. (But the servants, the ones who had drawn the water, they knew.) (John 2:1-11)
The Best Wine Ever
This miracle Jesus did at the wedding wasn’t a public miracle. At the time it was a secret kept from most of the world. Only the servants knew. The servants knew, and you can know too. Because when you serve, when you fill yourself with the water of God’s word, and when you pour it out to others, you know.
You know Jesus is real. You know the key to life is doing whatever he tells you. You know doing whatever he tells you results in the best wine possible–and wine (when wine is rightly used) in the Bible always represents joy.
Jesus’ first miracle was to supernaturally provide wine, joy if you will, at a party. That’s his desire. His desire for us, is for us to experience his joy. What he teaches us, what he instructs us to do in the gospels and the rest of the Bible, is for our own joy.
This secret miracle that only the servants knew, it teaches you and it teaches me that doing whatever he tells us to do is the great secret to experiencing the joy he wants for you and for me. The abundant life comes when we’re so filled with love for him we can’t help but do what he tells us to do because we love him so much. And then when we try to bless him with our obedience we wind up filled with the best wine ever. We wind up filled with his joy.
The longer I’m alive the more I’m convinced it’s the best possible way to live. And should that be a surprise? The Son of God Himself gives instructions and what would we expect as a result except that when we follow them, we’re blessed with the best wine, the greatest joy, the best possible life.
Jesus is the way.
[Image via Yevgeny Shpika – Creative Commons]