Saturday, April 9, 2016

Water, Wine and Wonder: Triplets of Transition

Photo by Nyehob 2016

Scripture records three incidents reflecting the transitions Mary had to make as Jesus grew up and entered His earthly ministry. The first was Jesus staying behind at the temple in Jerusalem to do His Father’s business (Luke 2:41-52); the second was the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-13), and the third occurred when Mary and her other children came to visit Jesus (Mark 3: 31-35) while He was teaching and preaching.

The wedding at Cana occurred on the third day after Jesus had gathered His apostles together. Essentially, it was the “debut” of His earthly ministry and the first time Jesus, His mother, and His disciples appeared together at a public event (John 1:37-51; 2:1-3).

A marriage celebration is an appropriate setting for the Messiah in His new role. It reminds us that He is the Creator Who designed man and woman to unite as one flesh (Genesis 2:22-24; Matthew 19:6); it pictures the holy union of Christ and His bride, the Church (Ephesians 5:23-32); and it anticipates the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9). At that ultimate feast, all believers saved by their faith in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6) will begin eternity with Him in their glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:51-54).

I wonder if Mary suspected beforehand that her Son’s miraculous power would be revealed at this public gathering, or if she just came to Him spontaneously hoping He could intervene in an awkward situation. A Hebrew wedding celebration at the time often went on for days, accompanied by feasting, drinking, and dancing by loved ones who had traveled from all over to honor the new couple beginning their life together.

But the host at this wedding was about to be humiliated, for they had run out of wine. Mary came to Jesus and did not cajole or order Him to help, but instead just stated the problem: “They have no wine” (John 2:3).

Mary’s approach to her Lord is a great model for our prayer life, for too often we plead like petulant children hoping to get our way (James 4:3), or even worse, order God to “fix it” according to what our limited understanding seems to be the best solution (Isaiah 55:9). Instead, we should bring our requests to Him simply stated (Matthew 6:7), thanking Him in advance (Philippians 4:6), and trusting that He will answer our prayer in the best way possible (Matthew 6:8; Romans 8:28), according to His infinite love (1 John 4:8), wisdom (Psalm 139:6), and power (Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17,27).

But Jesus reminded Mary that God’s timing is always perfect, that He will not be rushed to meet the demands of our schedule (Ephesians 1:10), and that we must trust Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). He rebuked her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come (John 2:4). His response suggests that He would follow His Father’s lead (Ephesians 5:1-2), not that of His mother or anyone else, and wait upon Him (Psalm 27:14; 33:20), acting only when He received clear indications from His Father (Psalm 46:10). Again, a great example for all of us.

Did Mary attempt to exert her parental authority (Exodus 20:12; Luke 2:51) by ordering Him to help,guilt” her Son into rescuing the situation, or question His power (Job 4:17; 5:1), doubting whether He could even be of any assistance? No, she handled the confrontation with deference to His will (Luke 22:42), tact in resisting the urge to argue (Proverbs 15:1), and recruitment of aid from the servants, whom she told to obey Jesus in whatever He asked of them (John 2:5).

May we learn from Mary that when we approach our Lord to make our requests known (Hebrews 4:16), we should defer to His perfect solution, wait peacefully for Him to move, and encourage others involved in the situation to also follow His command. As we await His answer, may we have faith that His ways are best (Hebrews 11:6), patience, knowing that His timing is perfect (James 1:2-8), and obedience to His perfect Word (1 Samuel 15:22; Romans 6:16; 2 Corinthians 10:5-6).

Jesus gave simple instructions to the servants, and they obeyed without question, even though His commands defied all logic. He told them to fill six waterpots, to draw from the pots, and to present it to the host (John 2:6-8). If they presented only water that had not been transformed to wine, the guests would have been insulted, the host would have been humiliated, and the servants would have been punished or even put to death.

But praise God, He had changed water into wine! He saved the day for the host, who most likely was unaware that Jesus was involved, only that this was the very best wine of the day, implying that it was fresh grape juice and not fermented (John 2:9-10). He pleased His mother, giving her reason for great joy, making her proud, and no doubt filling her with wonder at His Divine power, only now beginning to be revealed (Matthew 15:31; Mark 6:51; Luke 2:18; 4:22; 8:25; 24:12,41).

Most important, He had performed a great miracle!  Other Scripture terms for “miracles” are “signs” and “wonders” (Exodus 15:11; Deuteronomy 6:22; Acts 2:22). The waterpots that had been used for ritual purification were now filled with new wine, symbolizing the precious blood Christ would shed to pay for all our sins (Romans 3:25), the power of His blood to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7), and the new covenant in His blood (Luke 22:20; Hebrews 12:24) that gives eternal life to all who trust Him!

The miracle was the first of many Jesus did, showing His Divine glory, and reinforcing His disciples’ faith in Him (John 2:11). In remembering this miracle, may we allow His living water (John 7:38) to flow through us, trust in the power of His blood represented by fruit of the vine, and be filled with wonder at His mercy, love and grace!

© 2016 Laurie Collett
children's ministry blogs

Top 1000
Womanhood With Purpose
Adorned From Above
No Ordinary Blog Hop


Cheryl said...

I love the thoughts you shared here about our dear Lord. Oh, I do love Him and appreciate all He has done for me! I especially loved how you highlighted the fact that He saved the day for this wedding host. I never thought of it that way. Thank you for being so faithful to God's call upon your life. May He bless you with a wonderful Lord's Day tomorrow! Sending you much love, sweet friend.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Cheryl,
Thank you so much for your lovely comment and kind words! Praise God that He cares for all our needs -- the major ones of eternal significance, like salvation, and even the minor ones we face every day, like giving us the provisions to show hospitality to others.

Thank you also for the Lord's Day wishes -- so far, it has indeed been wonderful, God showing His faithfulness by relieving my pain of a tooth infection long enough to teach my ladies' Bible study and sing a special in church!

Many blessings and much love to you and your precious family,

Donald Fishgrab said...

Great post, Laurie. May we learn, like Mary, to let God know our concerns, but then let him decide what needs to be done instead of, like many teach today, demanding our way. After all, as you point out, he is God and he knows far better than we do what needs to be done.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Donald! Praise God that He hears us and does what is best, not what we think we want, for only He knows the complete picture.
God bless,

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
As my wife Alex has been partially disabled for nearly three years, being confined to a wheelchair whenever we are out of doors, we too have come to the conclusion that if it's God's will for her to be healed, then he will do it at his own time. The woman who suffered bleeding (Luke 8:43-48) suffered for twelve years before she was healed.
Meanwhile, I have found that my wife's ailment to be a basis for character building, and rather than turning away from God in resentment to unanswered prayer, rather our present situation as drawn us closer to him, knowing that he is the strong tower, a fortress, and a refuge for every believer to run to.
An excellent post. God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
May God bless you and Alex richly for your faithful devotion to Him and to one another despite trials and testing. His timing is always perfect, and His rewards sweet, if not in this life then always in the next. Thank you as always for your encouraging words and for sharing your testimony and insights.
God bless,