Thursday, January 26, 2012

John 2:1-11

Today we come to chapter 2 and witness the first miracle of Jesus: changing water into wine at the wedding at Cana. There is so much to just this little passage! And, once again, I’m grateful to Jon Courson for pointing out some things that I have missed! This wedding took place only three days after his baptism by John according to the first verse:

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” (John 2:1-4)

As Mary saw that the host had run out of wine, she turned to Jesus. Jon Courson asks us to think about the possibility that Mary was maybe thinking more about just filling a need for wine when she made this request of Jesus, because Jesus actually gives her a mild rebuke. When he says, “Dear woman...” the term for Greek word used for woman here is gune, which is a term of respect but not warmth. The King James Version translation makes the rebuke a little more apparent: Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.

Courson speculates that Mary may have wanted Jesus to finally show Himself to the world as the Messiah, because, for more than thirty years, she had been living with the tarnished reputation of being pregnant before she was officially married to Joseph. She wanted people to know what she knew so that she might be vindicated. Jesus told her that His hour had not yet come. In other words, He would not fully glorify the Father until his death, resurrection, and ascension.

Undeterred, even though rebuked, Mary turns to the servants, and, in her last recorded words in scripture, she tells the servants to obey Jesus. She did not act as a mediator between Jesus and the servants, but sent them directly to Him. Jesus did not exalt Mary at any time. He loved her and cared for her (giving her into John’s care at the cross), but she did not receive special treatment. In Luke 8:21, when He was told His mothers and brothers wanted to see Him, His response was, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” 

Later, in Acts 1, when the disciples are all in the Upper Room praying, Mary is not a leader at the meeting, nor is she given any special recognition. She is just one of the disciples mentioned along with the others. Now, that is not to say that Mary is not a most special woman, because of ALL women in history, SHE was the one chosen to be the mother of Jesus. I can’t wait to meet her one day! But I think Mary knew that her job was not to be glorified, but to also glorify her Savior, even as that is also our job.

The behavior of the servants is amazing and has lessons for us.

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” (vs. 6-10)

Jesus did not tell the servants, nor did they ask, what the plan was ahead of time. Jesus gave them directions one step at a time, and that’s how they obeyed Him. He told them to fill the jars with water - and they filled them to the brim! He then told them to take some to the master of the banquet, and they did. Only then, when the master reacted, did they understand what Jesus had done. Courson writes, “Too often I want to know what steps two through five are going to be before I follow step one.” Oh my goodness! Isn’t that our way??? But like the servants, we are just to trust and obey at each step, one step at a time. The result of their obedience was that they got to be part of an exciting work of God. They knew something that the master of the banquet did not know about that wine: Jesus had performed a miracle!

Oh, that we would have the patience and faithfulness of these servants to participate in what God is doing by just faithfully obeying one step at a time! Great stuff, eh?


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