In John 2:1-11 we see the scene of a wedding reception at Cana in Galilee. Let us imagine the bride and the groom are dancing, families and friends are celebrating, tables are piled with variety of food, cups are full of drink, music is playing, people are laughing and enjoying, children and servants are running in every direction. At one of the tables Jesus and his mother Mary are sitting with the disciples joining in the festivities. All of a sudden Mary notices something that is not quite right. The servants are whispering among each other. Mary overhears one of them and turns to Jesus and says, “they are out of wine”.
Even in today’s world hospitality is a way of life. Hospitality was expected in that culture also and to fall short would have been a public disgrace for the whole family. So Mary mentions it to Jesus. I am not sure what she had in mind for him to do. But Jesus answers, “what is that to you and me?” “Why do you involve me?” which almost sounds like he is saying, “It is not our wedding, not our problem” and he follows up with the comment: “my hour has not yet come”. But we understand that she knows something would come up. So Mary turns to the servants and says, “Do whatever he tells you.” In John 2:5 we read His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he (Jesus) tells you.”
We also get into many such difficulties, dissatisfaction with life and stunted spiritual growth the moment we deliberately decide to go against the master’s will. In John 2:5 Mary’s instruction to the servants is quite clear: “Do whatever He tells you.” This instruction equally applies to you and me in its full measure: “Do whatever He tells you.” Are you looking for a solution to a problem that you might be facing, as transpired in the wedding at Cana? There was a problem or a need at the wedding at Cana…the ceremony had run out of wine; more wine was therefore required. Are you looking for something? Do you long for improved fellowship with Him? Do you seek to get to the spiritual higher ground? If so, here is the key: “Do whatever He tells you.”
I love the attitude that the servants displayed here; they demonstrated that they were real servants. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” (John 2:7). The words of Jesus represent the “whatever He tells you” that Mary talked about. What did the servants do in response to Jesus’ instruction? The bible says: “…so they filled them to the brim.” (John 2:7). The servants did exactly as the Lord had told them and just as Mary had instructed them. Then He told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet” (John 2:8). How did the servants respond this time? The bible says, “They did so…” (John 2:8). And when they did, the miracle came to pass! They probably did not understand at first what this was leading to; they however still did exactly as Jesus had instructed them.
I think that the miracle would not have come to pass if the servants had disobeyed the words of the Master. In the same manner, we will miss a lot; if we choose to disobey His Word. I therefore beseech you today: “Do whatever He tells you.” Whatever! From your interactions with His Word you now know; you do not necessarily have to ‘hear’ His audible voice; but He speaks to us through His word. He speaks to us through what we read, what we hear, what we see… and if we are listening we will not fail to hear His voice. Obey it; listen to the inner voice – the still, small voice that speaks to us always. “Do whatever He tells you.” Will you?
I want to bring a few of questions to our attention– in the hope that by answering them honestly we may open ourselves to the same striking transformation that the story describes. Does Jesus speak to us? What does He say? What should we do? The answers to these questions will determine whether we move on from a potential crisis to a time of unrestrained joy and celebration. Do we want to know His joy, peace and blessing upon our life? Do we want our life to be well-pleasing to Him in all things we do? Do we want our prayers to be answered? Are we seeking fresh and enlarged fields of service in our life and do we need His guidance? Then we must do what He says. “Whatever He says, however contrary it may seem to our ideas, we need to do it!” He speaks to us just as He spoke to the servants 2000 years ago.
But how does He speak? He speaks to us with authority. If we know Him as our Lord, then we do not need to question what He says. For what He says is endowed with all the authority of what He is. He also speaks to us personally. He spoke personally to the servants, and the guests did not know what He had said. He speaks in the same way to us today. He speaks to us providentially too. That is, through the daily happenings and circumstances of our life. Revelation 3:8 says “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”
Finally Consider, how we should respond to what He says. We should respond with prompt obedience. “Whatever …do it!” They did not delay. Our whole responsibility is to do what He says, and to do it not as an obligation but as a delight. We should respond with complete obedience. The Lord’s command was, “Fill…” (verse 7). How did they obey? “They filled the jars to the brim” (verse 7). We should respond with unquestioning obedience. The word is “whatever”. That means we must obey Him without any questioning or dispute. Obviously doing things God’s way is not always easy. But it is worth doing. At the end of it all, we will hear Jesus saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant”. So I want to encourage all of us on our faith journey with the words of Jesus’ mother: “Do whatever he tells you.” AMEN.