“His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” -John 2:5
John’s gospel brings us to Jesus’ first public miracle. It wasn’t healing the sick. It wasn’t raising the dead. It wasn’t even anything spiritual. It was turning water into wine. Think about that for a moment. The first recorded “miracle” of Jesus occurs at a public celebration.
The Life Application Study Bible notes that Jesus was on a mission to save the world, the greatest mission in the history of humankind. Yet, He took time to attend a wedding and take part in its festivities. We may be tempted to think that we should not take time out from our “important work” for social occasions. But these social occasions are often an important part of our overall mission.
Social occasions are amazing opportunities to share our faith. Many people who are not followers of Christ or regular church attenders (if they attend at all) frequent social events. Jesus valued weddings because they involved people. And Jesus came to be with people. Our mission as Jesus’ disciples can often be accomplished in the joyous times of celebration with others.
Some of our most effective ministry will not happen in the confines of the church walls, in church settings or with church people! Some might be alarmed by this statement because we have been lulled into thinking that every interaction with unchurched people has to be “churchy” or “oily.”
I’ve found that attending backyard barbecues, graduation celebrations, sporting events and other non-church social gatherings allow people to see a more human side of me. It also allows us to meet people where they are, in the comforts and confines of their world. This is the example we see Jesus displaying in John’s writing.
Let’s look a little deeper at the text. Weddings in Jesus’ day were weeklong festivals. Banquets would be prepared for many guests and the week would be spent celebrating the new life of the married couple. Often the whole town was invited, and everyone would come. It was considered an insult to refuse an invitation to a wedding.
To accommodate the many people who would attend, careful planning was performed. Running out of wine was not only an embarrassment; it broke the strong unwritten laws of hospitality. Jesus was simply about to respond to a heartfelt need and help his neighbors avoid a major embarrassment.
We can learn two things from this biblical account. First, don’t dismiss the messenger. Mary was the messenger, not Jesus. If we are not careful, we can miss the message by dismissing the messenger. Mary did not understand what Jesus was going to do, but she trusted him to do what was right. So, she told the servants: “Do whatever He tells you.”
Finally, don’t miss your miracle. When we run into difficulties that we don’t understand, we must continue to trust Jesus to work out the situation in the best way possible. Mary submitted to Jesus’ way of doing things. She recognized that Jesus was more than her human son. He is the Son of God.
When we bring our problems to Jesus, we may think we know how he should take care of them. But He may guide us on a completely different path. Like Mary and the servants, you must be willing to “Do whatever he tells you.”
Dr. Preston T. Adams III is senior pastor at Amazing Grace Christian Church in Indianapolis. Contact Pastor Adams via email at email@example.com or via Twitter @DrPrestonTAdams. For more information, visit agccindy.org.