A decade ago, sitting at the head table in the prettiest dress I’ll ever wear, I was surprised at how seamlessly my wedding was going.
After planning and preparing and hiring caterers and renting a banquet room and putting together our own flower arrangements (thanks to our wonderful crew of friends and family, who didn’t just show up, they showed up, if you know what I mean…), the day went incredibly smoothly.
Until dinner was served.
As the meals were placed before our guests, Daryl and I were chatting and newlywed-gazing into each other’s eyes and not paying a lot of attention. Then I glanced down the head table at the groomsmen and noticed that they weren’t eating. Friends, we got married in our mid-20s. Guys in their mid-20s EAT.
But they weren’t. They were just staring at their food.
Turns out the caterers, who did a bang-up job in all of the delicious food, forgot the flatware. It’s tough to eat prime rib with your fingers.
Someone scooted into the kitchen, and within minutes all the tables were set and everyone was well on their way to being sated. Still, I’ll never forget the faces of those groomsmen who looked at Daryl and I politely but ravenously, as if to say: “Great wedding, friends, but we’re about to eat our own arms off if we don’t get a fork in the next ten seconds.”
In John 2, it’s wine that nearly stops the wedding. Well, a lack of wine, anyway.
The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”
In Jesus’ day, running out of wine at a wedding was not good. Wine cost a lot of money; many people drank it only on special occasions. A wedding was as special as things got. The parents of the bride would save and save and save to make sure they could throw the proper celebration.
To run out of wine was a shameful thing. A humiliating thing. A borderline-scandalous thing.
No one would remember So-and-So’s wedding without remembering that So-and-So ran out of wine. They didn’t plan well enough or save enough to adequately care for their guests.
Jesus’ mother, knowing who Jesus is and what he can do, runs to him.
“Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Most of us know how the story ends, right? Jesus turns the water into wine, the guests are sated, the host is amazed, the servants are the first witnesses to his first miracle.
But I want to stop here for a second. Mary, Jesus’ mother, sums up the whole journey of discipleship in this one phrase.
“Do whatever he tells you.”
What is the Christian life but this? Jesus says, “Fill up these jars.” He’s going to do this miracle with us or without us, but if we obey, we get to witness the miracle. We are in on the blessing.
The servants fill the jars and they become some of the first people to see the kingdom of God touching the earth, as Jesus lifts back part of the veil on the kingdom.
That which is broken will be made new. That which is empty will be filled up. The blind will see. The lame will walk. The prisoners will be set free.
What is Jesus asking of you today?
Don’t miss out.