Obedience in the Little Things (Can Bring Great Results)
Text: John 2:1-11
Context: Wedding celebrations could last up to seven days. The financial responsibility lies with the groom. To run out of anything (especially wine) would have been a terrible embarrassment and shame for the family of both the bride and the groom. It was such a big deal that the groom could be sued by the bride’s relatives.
D. A. Carson (v. 4) “although Mary probably laid out the need for wine in mundane terms, it is typical of Jesus to detect more symbolism in various utterances than the speaker envisaged. Mary wants the wedding to end without embarrassment; Jesus remembers that the prophets characterized the messianic age as a time when wine would flow liberally (e.g. Je. 31:12 - Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, Streaming to the goodness of the LORD For wheat and new wine and oil, For the young of the flock and the herd; Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden, And they shall sorrow no more at all.; Ho. 14:7 - Those who dwell under his shadow shall return; They shall be revived like grain, And grow like a vine. Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon.; Am. 9:13–14 - “Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, And the treader of grapes him who sows seed; The mountains shall drip with sweet wine, And all the hills shall flow with it. I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them.). Elsewhere he himself adapts the wedding as a symbol for the consummation of the messianic age (e.g. Mt. 22:1–14; 25:1–13).
II. Principle #1: God wants us to be involved in what He is doing, even if our part seems very small. (v. 7-8)
I am amazed at how often we in the church and we as the church refuse to be a part of what God is doing (and even commanded us to do) because it is too small a part or too big an inconvenience for us.
Practice: Strategically obey even in the little things.
Illustration: Too often our faith is reactive to the circumstances, situations, crisis, victories or ease of life. We are like a ball in a pinball machine, faithful to what we are, but bounced around from this to that. Our faith is more of a result of something rather than an initiative. It is too often the end result of something (everything else has failed, so all we have is faith) rather than the certainty that is the definition of faith. Faith must be proactive, not just reactive. It is not that we are unable to do, so we hope He can. It is we believe He is able to do and therefore we can. Faith is not a passive response to things around us but rather a strategic response to fulfill God’s purposes.
A. Commanded by Christ
Probably the wisest counsel ever given in history are Mary’s words “Do whatever He tells you.” (v. 5)
B. Done to the full
The jars were filled to the brim. So there is no room for speculation, excuse, or supposition. There is only room for the miracle. Our lives as followers of Jesus are very often not lived full to the brim. Consequently, there is room for speculation, doubt, excuse or supposition.
Side Note: Even though the miracle was performed in semi-privacy, it was done in the context of community and relationship. We are meant to be engaged with the culture and society around us. We are meant to have a relationship with those around us. This is “in” when Jesus says we are to be in the world not of it.
III. Principle #2: The best is still to come with Christ (v. 10)
Practice: Purposefully live toward the future and His glory
Illustration: Forfeit in softball. Scrimmage or practice would try things we would not normally try. Take risks and change because the outcome was already determined. The victory was already won. We need to live with our victory in mind. The prize and victory are already determined, we should live as victors.
A. Christ’s way is superior than everyone else’s way
The wine provided by Christ was better than the best wine supplied for the celebration. Yet, that which is provided by Christ is better than the best man can put forth.
B. Christ’s provision had purpose.
His provision here points to His greater provision in life and eternity.
IV. Principle #3: People put their faith in Christ when His glory is revealed through our obedience. (v. 11)
There is much speculation as to what is meant by the water being changed into wine and the wine being the best. Some suggest this is a picture of the passing of the Law of Moses (the previous wine which ran out) to the Law of Grace (a miraculous and better wine) – the old wineskin, new wineskin motif. Some say it signifies the transformation of the old order into the new through Jesus. Similarly, some attach a stricter salvation picture that the efforts/works of man come up short and run out so consequently the miraculous grace of God is now given through Jesus. Some suggest that it represents the change of the revelation of God through men (i.e., the prophets) to God’s revelation through the Son of Man (Jesus).
Practice: Intentionally reflect the glory of Christ
A. Christ reveals His glory
A life lived authentically for Christ, is a life lived transparently in Christ and reflectively of Christ. (2 Cor. 3:18)
Quote: We are mirrors whose brightness, if we are bright, is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us - C. S. Lewis
B. Faith is put in Him
Christ’s glory is revealed for God’s glory, not ours.