“Do whatever he tells you.” John 2:5b
Weddings are heavily on my mind at the moment, with just 2 months until our daughter’s big day, so while perusing the Gospel of John this week, I couldn’t help gravitating to the “Wedding of Cana”. It’s like I’m like a bridal magnet these days. I must have read this passage gazillions of times over the years, and I know it’s famous for being Jesus’ first miracle, but for me it was Mary’s instructions that really struck a chord.
Many of us are familiar with the basics of this famous wedding in Cana— Mary was invited, along with Jesus and the disciples. Weddings were huge, long-lasting, epic affairs back in the day (after planning ours for just 60 guests this year, I can’t even imagine the scale of this event!), and the WINE was a really big deal. Really big.
The usual unspoken rule was to give guests the very best wine at the beginning of the celebrations, which could last for days and days (nightmare!), and then as they became… less discriminating, shall we say… the cheaper plonk was offered. But the mere thought of running completely dry and having to resort to water was unthinkable. It would have been utterly humiliating, not only to the host, but also to the happy couple. This is where Mary steps in.
I’ve been contemplating the life of Mary lately, largely due to a great book I read around Christmastime (allow me to recommend The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs, complete with a thought-provoking Bible study to boot.)
Dear Mary, the humble, chosen mother of Jesus, who must have lovingly watched her son daily, marvelling at this young Messiah and wondering when he would start his ministry. We know she pondered much in her heart, and now at this wedding she offers an opportunity for Jesus to perform a miracle. Not that He needs permission or a nod and a wink— He is the Son of God with the ability to do anything, anytime. But for some reason, Mary sensed this might be the right time and the right place. She says to the servants:
“Do whatever he tells you.”
Those 5 words, inviting obedience and faith and the hope of something wonderful, speak deeply to me. Yes, they were uttered many hundreds of years ago by Mary at some wedding— but they are penned in the Word of God for us, too. A simple instruction. Am I ready/ available/ willing/ happy to do whatever Jesus tells me to do? Even if it’s out of my comfort zone, messy or painful, not in my plans or quite what I had envisioned for my future?
Here’s the thing. In order to obey Him, I have to know WHAT it is He’s telling me to do, and that takes listening ears. Very rarely does Jesus tell us in big, bold writing or an unmistakable booming voice. Often, He speaks in a whisper, or when we are pawing through His Word, and at the very least we should be waiting, expecting to hear from Him. We ask, right? We ask for answered prayers and guidance and courage and all these great things, but then we need to listen to hear whatever he tells us, that we might act on it.
Those servants at the wedding in Cana could have looked at Jesus like He was crazy when He gave them instructions. They had no idea how powerful He was, but they did whatever He told them, and the miracle happened. The water they poured into massive urns transformed into wine. And not just any wine— the very, very best. We should expect nothing less of God. Mary was probably watching it all unfold, maybe smiling just a little, remembering the words a certain angel said to her back before Jesus was even born:
“For with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:37 NKJV)
This miracle at the wedding wasn’t a matter of life or death— no one’s existence was hanging in the balance at this mega party. But God is all about the details, and He chose this special, jubilant occasion for Jesus to demonstrate His glory. Can you imagine how amazed, perplexed, and overjoyed the newlyweds were? That miraculous wedding wine has gone down in history. And tucked within the narrative, we have the urging, the plea: “Do whatever he tells you”— that God might be glorified and show His miraculous love… even through us.
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers. Check them out: