• The Explore the Bible lesson for Sept. 15 focuses on John 2:1-25.
Sometimes the most interesting parts of Scripture are the things not said. In the passage this week, we have such a moment. It comes between verses 4 and 5. Jesus, his mother and the disciples he has called up this point went to a wedding feast in Cana.
They were invited guests. When Mary noticed the wine was about to run out, she asked Jesus to do something about this embarrassing predicament for the newly married couple. Jesus said something very interesting in verse 4: His time had not yet come.
What did he mean?
What exactly did that mean? Did it mean he was not supposed to perform any miracles yet? Did it mean this type of ministry was not supposed to take place? That makes the most sense. Then what happened between the two verses? Mary tells the disciples to do whatever Jesus tells them to do. Did it suddenly become time for Jesus to begin his miracles?
We are not always going to understand every little detail in the Scripture. The big idea of this text is Jesus began the “miracles” portion of his earthly ministry, and in doing so he began to show the power he has within him to bring about transformation.
I believe there is a thing or two we can learn from Mary’s role in this story. As a matter of fact, there are at least four things Mary does in this passage that would be wise for us to follow if we want to be useful to God in this world.
We can begin with the simple idea Mary was aware of her surroundings. Most people would not have known the wine had run out until they became thirsty. She was paying attention to the details and to the world around her.
Second, Mary felt sorrow for the couple getting married and for their family. To say running out of wine was a big deal in that day and time would be a gross understatement. I’m not sure we fully understand how devastating this situation would have been to the family. Weddings were not just family events; they were community events. Not only would the family be embarrassed, the young couple might have even felt as if their lives were doomed because of this oversight.
Mary immediately went from observing the situation to feeling sorrow or sympathy for the family. God can use people who can do these two things. Most of us would have to admit that we go through life and do not pay much attention to what is going on around us. Even worse, if we do observe something out of place, how often do we allow ourselves to get emotionally involved? If we do not observe nor sympathize, then we never will do the next thing Mary did.
• Involve Christ
Mary knew Jesus could help. She may not have known exactly what Jesus could or would do in the situation, but she knew he could do something. Again, the exchange between her and her son is very interesting. But, either way, Jesus did get involved. Jesus ended up showing his incredible transforming power.
I love the next part of the story. Jesus seems to tell His mother, “No,” and immediately she tells the disciples to do whatever Jesus says for them to do. I love it because it shows a level of expectancy—Jesus can help. She believed he would come through in this situation.
It also shows she was plenty willing to be a part of the solution. It was not like she asked Jesus to do the work and told everybody else to stand back and watch. Nor did she tell them to go and solve the problem on their own. Jesus would be in charge, but there was work for them to do as well. I believe God is looking for this kind of faith from his followers. It is a kind of faith that expects great things from God, but one that is willing to be a part of the answer when called upon as well.
Application for our lives
Maybe there is something about the way Mary handled this situation. I believe we, too, can be useful tools in God’s hands if we could do the same things that Mary did:
• Observe—look around for people who need God’s help
• Sympathize—don’t judge people, instead put yourself in their shoes
• Pray—bring these people to God through prayer
• Expect—pray, believing God wants to and will help. And, be willing to do “whatever he asks you to do.”