Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Shepastor: "Are You Willing to Fill the Pot?"

John 2:1-11 King James Version (KJV)
2 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

Mary, Jesus’ mother, Jesus and the disciples are guests at a wedding. In that day and time wedding celebrations would last up to seven days. The wedding festivities were held at the home of the bride groom. It was the groom’s responsibility to ensure that there was ample food and beverage to meet the demands of his guests. To run out of food or drink was a tremendous embarrassment. Mary noticed that the wine at this wedding had run out. She must have been a friend of the family because her concern moved her to ask her son to do something about it. The text does not suggest that Mary asked Jesus to perform a miracle, per se, but her request suggests that she knew that he could do something to alleviate the problem.

Jesus seems almost to disrespect his earthly Mother and says, “Woman, what do I have to do with you…my time has not yet come.” Interestingly, Mary in turn ignores his response, turns to the servants and says, “Whatever he tells you to do, do!”
In the 1980’s the sports shoes and clothing manufacturer Nike came out with the phrase, “Just Do it!” They would show world renowned athletes wearing the Nike symbol on shirts, shoes, jackets, hats etc., running, pole vaulting, sweating, pressing their way through pain, weariness and struggle in order to reach their intended goal. “Just do it!” That slogan and campaign catapulted them into one of the highest and most successful earning brackets for sports merchandise of all times.

That phrase captured the essence of true grit…don’t make excuses, don’t over think it, don’t try and understand it…just do it! Relative to our text for today, Mary and her friends had a problem. The party had run out of wine. Now I imagine that that would still be a problem today at some parties! But in Jesus’ day, it was more than just a problem, it was a major embarrassment. It suggested that the bridegroom did not have the wherewithal to take care of or manage his affairs. Wanting to avoid this embarrassment, this problem, Mary turned to her son, Jesus.

Why did Jesus respond to her so gruffly? Why did he speak to her in this way? It is reminiscent of Jesus’ response to the The Syrophoenician Woman in Mark 7:25-30/Matthew 15:21-28, who asked Jesus to heal her daughter. Jesus told her, “It is not right to take the children’s food and feed it unto the dogs…” essentially, calling the woman and the gentiles dogs! But just as in that case, where the woman bowed and humbled herself before Jesus and began to worship him…Mary chose to look past what appeared to be disrespect and instructed the servants to “just do what he says.”

Notice how Mary did not start arguing with Jesus, she didn’t start telling Jesus what and how he needed to do what she wanted done…she didn’t get discouraged and walk away. She knew that Jesus would honor her request. She simply positioned herself and the servants to receive the blessings to come. She was confident that Jesus could and Jesus would fix it.

So in confidence, Mary told the servants, “do whatever he tells you to do.” What would happen in our lives if we did like Mary and the servants, “Lord, here is my issue, here is my problem…here is my need and I’m going to do whatever you tell me to do to fix it!” So often, we are so busy fretting and arguing with the Lord about how our prayers are not being answered, how the Lord appears not to be paying attention to what we have said, seeming to ignore our petition etc., that we don’t present ourselves to Him, humble ourselves and say, “Lord, I’ll do whatever you tell me to do.”

Now consider what Jesus tells them to do…They needed some more wine. Jesus instructs them to get the water pots and fill them up with water to the brim. Now understand, these were not necessarily decorative pots or receptacles that were set apart for drinking and food…these were the pots used to wash people’s feet and hands! These were the pots used for cleansing. These were not used for drinking…these were used for washing dirty, nasty, stinking, filthy hands and feet!!!

WHAT? You want us to use these pots? Isn’t it interesting how the Lord takes and uses vessels that we count as basically worthless and lowly to bless and supply what we need? Now if it were us, we probably would have begun to argue with Jesus… “Lord, you want us to fill up the kitchen sink or the bathtub with water and dip it out to give people to drink! That’s just nasty…that’s crazy!!!

“Lord, I have this need…” Ok, go down to that little church gathering…I have a word for you there.” I ain’t goin over there, they ain’t got nothing to offer me…” “Lord, I have a need…” Ok, go and work this job for a while…” “I ain’t going over there, they don’t pay enough…” “Lord, I have a need…” “Ok, start going to prayer meeting and Bible study and seek my face, get into my Word…” “I ain’t doin that, I’m too busy…” “Lord, I have a need…” “Ok, trust my Word and tithe and watch me open the windows of heaven…” “I ain’t doin that, I’ve got too many bills….”

What water pot has the Lord told you to fill and you have refused? What assignment has the Lord called you to fulfill and you have refused? What places has the Lord told you to go and you have refused? But look at the Mary and the servants… “Whatever He tells you to do, do it.” Go get the pots and fill them to the brim…they did what Jesus said do and look at the results.

Jesus turned the water into wine. This was his first recorded miracle. But before the miracle happened, they had to fill the pots. In order for their need to be met, they had to trust Jesus and do what He said to do. Sometimes our needs are not being met, we are broken, embarrassed and left wanting because we refuse to do what Jesus said do. I am not suggesting that all who are broken and bruised are in that condition because of disobedience…I am suggesting, however, that there are times in our lives when we ignore the “way of escape” because it seems too hard or nonsensical. When we trust Jesus and do what Jesus says do and move as Jesus says move, not only are we blessed, but our families and our communities are blessed. Because Mary utilized her relationship with her son to help out her friends, the people saw and experienced a miracle.

How many miracles are we missing and causing others to miss because we won’t do what Jesus said to do? Wandering, looking, holding out, refusing to fill our pots to the brim…doing things in a half-hearted manner, arguing with the Lord about His guidance and instruction? Not only are you missing out, but those around you are missing out.

Jesus saves the best for last. The world gives you the “goods” upfront, just enough to lure you, to beguile you, to trick you…to pull you in until you are so lost you don’t realize where you are and how you got there. But Jesus sees you wounded, sees you wanting, sees you wandering and says, “I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly.”
Jesus offers us the best…the best of life…the best of love…the best of peace…the best of hope…the best of fulfillment…the best for our souls. But we’ve got to surrender and allow Him to fill us up to the brim.

What is holding you back from surrendering to the Lord? Are you willing to do what Jesus says do and “fill the points” he designates? Why not let all of that go and just do it? Just do it, just do it!

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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