"Jesus said to them, 'Fill the water pots with water.' So they filled them up to the brim. And he said, 'Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.' So they took it to him...This was the beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him." John 2:7-8, 11
Jesus is the Son of God. He was born of a virgin in the little town of Bethlehem, but His home was in heaven. He came into this world, fully God, and fully man. There is no explanation, illustration or comparison that is adequate to put into words or draw a picture of the divine dynamic God created, when He sent His Son into the world.
From childhood, the words of John 3:16 have guided me into a basic understanding of the love of God. For over 50 years I have been trying to comprehend why God would send His Son to die on a cross for my sin. My belief in God's love for me is still the greatest, life-changing encounter I have ever had with Him. I have yet to plumb the depths of, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
After the birth of Jesus, there was a three decade waiting period before He began His public ministry. The Gospel of John records the wedding feast of Cana as the site where the favor of God fell upon His Son. It was in this unlikely setting, that people were able to see God's glory reflected off of the face of His Son.
How many times had Jesus wondered if today might be the day of God's visitation on Him for the fulfillment of His calling? Surely, the home of Mary and Joseph was filled with reminiscences and reminders of The Christmas Story. The Bible says that Mary pondered in her heart all the things she had seen and heard, regarding the birth of Jesus. When she weighed all of the wonders she had witnessed, it must have been a heavy burden to keep to herself. There must have been times when she and Jesus would talk about His birthday, and the significance of all the events that surrounded it.
Mary and Joseph had received a mild rebuke from Jesus, when He was a boy in the Temple. When they found Him conversing with the rabbis, He seemed surprised that they did not know that He was where He needed to be, doing what He needed to be doing. At a very early age, Jesus must have been guided to a rendezvous with His destiny, by the hands of godly parents and the Holy Spirit of God.
Mary approached Jesus about the embarrassing dilemma of the wedding party running out of wine. She apparently expected His days as a carpenter in Nazareth to be numbered, and any day His main ministry in life might blossom forth. Her response to Jesus was a curious mixture of submission to His judgment, and a confidence in His ability. She told the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."
Jesus was in the habit of getting with God on a regular basis. His divine nature hungered for conversation and communion with God. He ordered the servants to fill six stone pots with an estimated 120-150 gallons of water. This would have been a task that required some time and effort to complete. Drawing water from a well involved dropping a goatskin into a deep hole. The process included letting the skin fill up, drawing it out of the hole, carrying it to the pots, and filling each jar until the water reached the brim. The record does not indicate Jesus was praying, but He had enough time to do it, if he sensed the need.
When the pots were prepared, He simply told the servants to take the contents to the master of ceremonies. The result was a commendation to the bridegroom for saving the best for last. Jesus did not receive any credit, or citation. He had made Himself available to God. He filled the pots, waited on God, and God did the rest. This may be the greatest lesson to leave with Christ followers, as they contemplate the significance of The Christmas Story.
John's Gospel records the favor of God on the life of Jesus caused His disciples to believe in Him. It was His dependence upon God that attracted people to Him. His willingness to reflect the glory of what God did through Him, back to His heavenly Father, was the key difference between Him and the key men of Israel.
Jesus did not shine the light on Himself. He reflected the light back to The Source. God's favor on Jesus did not lead Him to name a building, a school, or a ministry after Himself. He reflected the radiance of God back to the One who was the source of His power and influence. Jesus did not seek to become a celebrity or make a name for Himself. He was a willing instrument, and His times were in God's hands. For thirty years, Jesus was a regular attender in God's waiting room. God knew His Son could be trusted to point people to His Father. God is still looking for people who will fill the pots, and get out of His way, and let Him do what He does best...transformation.
Jesus found the power of prayer through unbroken, consistent companionship with the God. Conversation with Him, over matters great and small, still leads the believer to a sense of direction that cannot be gained from an intermittent crisis search for truth. When life puts the unexpected squeeze on the life of a believer, it will always reveal what is inside. Prayer is the means by which Christ followers saturate themselves with the Presence of God. God turned the water into to wine, not whine. When believers whine under pressure, there is a strong indication that they need more time being aged in the waiting room with God.
Jesus is still in the miracle working business. Mark's Gospel records a visit to Nazareth made by Jesus. This was not the city of His birth, but it is where people who knew Him, thought they knew Him best. It says, "And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief." (Mark 6:5)
Jesus was sent to build a bridge between God and man. From filling stone pots with water, to carrying a cross up Calvary's hill, Jesus waited on God tor God to show up and do what only He could do. He waited on God to reveal His power through Him. Jesus marveled when people did not respond to what God was doing right in front of their faces. Most people would call healing the sick a miracle. Jesus didn't think of it as that great of a work. The greatest miracle of God is the turning of a non-believer into a believer. Jesus knew that healed people eventually die, but believing people would live forever. That is the miracle of The Christmas Story. People are lot like those empty pots. They need to be filled and transformed by the work of God in their lives. Christ followers do not change lives, but they can fill pots. Fill the empty pots around you with Living Water, and watch, wait and see what God can do. Don't be discouraged if some of the crack pots around you leak, and miss out on what God wanted to do in their lives. Jesus had it happen to Him, and it will happen to you. Fill the pots up anyway. 2010 is going to be a great year for wine.