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Do whatever He tells you John 2 5

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Do whatever He tells you

2 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

4 “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

                                                                                JOHN 2 5

This evening we visit the wedding at Cana in Galilee and we witness that decisive event in the life and ministry of Jesus.  This narrative is unique – it involves Mary the mother of Jesus, and it marks the first of the great signs that outline for John the pattern of our Lord’s earthly ministry.

In many ways it is a strange story – not for the obvious reasons and the changing of a truly immense quantity of water into the best wine – but because of the involvement of Mary, and because of the significance that John attaches to it.

It is almost as if Mary is pushing her son into action – much as any proud parent would push a loved child into a new venture that will begin something new.

Despite what Jesus says about His time not yet having come – she acts in faith and with a remarkable vision.   “DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU…”

I want to approach the story in a different way from my usual method. (I prefer to expound a passage.)   This time I am approaching the words of my text in a quite different way.  Here I am concerned to emphasise a phrase: 

Do whatever he tells you

I want to ask a series of questions – in the hope that by answering them honestly we may open ourselves to the same striking transformation that the story describes.

We have a very simple outline this evening:

Ø     Does Jesus speak?

Ø     What does He say?

Ø     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; whether we are left with large capacity storage jars fit only for bathing – or an incredible source of wonder and joy in our lives.

1.  Does Jesus speak?

I hope you have no difficulty in answering that question.

I do not say: “Do you hear Him speak?” – but “Does He speak?”

Consider the ways by which He speaks and has spoken to others and perhaps to you:

a.     BY THE INNER VOICE OF THE SPIRIT

By the moral compulsion we sometimes call conscience.

Do you listen to that voice?

Or has time and insensitivity dulled your senses so that that still small voice no longer is heard above the clamour of so many attention seeking voices in this corrupting world of ours?

b.     BY THE WRITTEN WORD OF SCRIPTURE

Some of us are more sensitive than others – and some of us are sensitive at times and “dull of hearing” at others.

Perhaps out of daily devotional reading?

Or the words of a text stated somewhere – either familiar or unfamiliar?

When we read the Word of God – DOES JESUS SPEAK?

c.      BY THE EXPOUNDED WORD OF HIS MINISTERS

I guess you spend a lot of time listening to people like me.  The written word is explained and applied and interpreted so that it has a meaning for TODAY and FOR YOU – whereas it is often for YESTERDAY and FOR OTHERS….

It may be that the voice of Jesus comes when you have to prepare for speaking to others – but in the Written Word – Does Jesus Speak?

d.     BY THE INFLEXIONS OF CIRCUMSTANCE

God speaks “the Spirit of Jesus” speaks – and sometimes the voice is audible and clear and it has tone and inflexion.

At other times the very pattern of our life allows Christ to speak to us.

e.     BY THE ADVICE OF CHRISTIAN FRIENDS

We may not be good at taking it – but is it not true that Jesus has spoken through the counsel of a friend – or even at times through the LIFE of a believing friend.

Sometimes a family member – sometimes a member of the fellowship.  Does Jesus speak to you?   Has He spoken?  Did you listen?

f.      BY THE VOICE OF A NEEDY WORLD

I distinguish between the noisy clamour of a sinful world – and the conversation of a world that – without God and without Christ – is calling out for answers, for hope, for wisdom – for Salvation.

Like Paul and the vision of the man of Macedonia.

g.     BY THE CONVICTING SPIRIT

This is a deeper voice than conscience.  A more accented voice. 

Down through the ages God has – as Hebrews reminds us – spoken by the prophets

And their words echo on.

But God speaks often bringing to “every heart and mine” the words of Jesus.

Does Jesus Speak?             Do whatever He tells you!

2.  What does Jesus say?

The story before us provides some clues:

Jesus speaks to His mother – and to the servants.

In speaking to His mother he uses language that is notoriously difficult to translate – compare a few different translations and you will see how widely they differ.

Yet His words to His mother are significant.

4 “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

                                                                                                        NIV

4 Jesus said, “Is that any of our business, Mother—yours or mine? This isn’t my time. Don’t push me.”

                                                                                        MESSAGE

“What to you to me?”

As Jesus speaks to His mother there is an understanding between them that is probably difficult for us to reflect – yet clearly two strands can be recognised:

“What is the issue here?”

“My actions are decided by the Father”

OR

Is this a valid situation for me to demonstrate my power?

My time is not yet.

When Jesus speaks His words are full of meaning – and it has to be said that the fullness of their meaning may take time and reflection to understand – but HE DOES SPEAK – and WHAT HE SAYS ADDRESSES TWO DISTINCT ISSUES:

o       A situation of NEED

o       The overall plan of His glory

When JESUS SPEAKS TO THE SERVANTS THE MEANING IS IMMEDIATELY CLEAR:

Jesus addresses a need, speaks authoritatively a command that carries with it a promise.  

7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.”

What He says :

What you must do now – and presently

His word is given in simple stages -

“Fill the waterpots with water.”

“Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.”

What does Jesus say to YOU?

1.     He tells us who He is

2.     He reminds us of what He has done for us

3.     He makes it clear what our response should be

You have heard about HIM by the written word and the word expounded

You have heard what He has done for you

His life

His ministry

His death

His resurrection

His ascension and intercesion

NOW HE PROMPTS YOU TO ACTION

Do whatever He tells you!

And over and over again He speaks and what He says is full of HIMSELF and HIS LOVE

And all that HIS WORK HAS ACHIEVED FOR US

And we are left with only His voice to prompt us;

HAS He spoken to you in that way?

And do His words remain with you now as a rebuke – and not just a reminder?

We have moved on beyond His FIRST WORDS TO US

Have you heard Him speak?

What does He say?

“Whatever he says to you – do it!”

I believe you have heard Him speak:

What is He saying to you now?

o       Trust me in complete faith and discipleship – not halfheartedly

o       Follow me in baptism

o       Take up My service as your work

3.  What should we do?

There is a THREEFOLD ANSWER TO THAT:

o       Listen

o       Obey

o       Listen again

It is a cycle that is meant to be repeated.

Although when Jesus worked that miracle at Cana there was one clear command and one opportunity for obedience and wonder – this was – as John reminds us

11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.   NKJV

11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

It was the FIRST of a whole sequence of signs….

Because His time had indeed come.

How easily we see the Christian life as ONE response to ONE WORD to ONE MOMENT OF FAITH AND OBEDIENCE

When in reality it is only the beginning of a CONVERSATION – a MANNER OF LIFE!

So often we say “I heard, I obeyed, I trusted …. That’s it.!”

We are living yesterday’s faith, yesterday’s commitment, yesterday’s victory.

There is a very real danger of spiritual stagnation.

When we reflect on the way He spoke when He was here amongst people we see in how many different ways He taught about the response to His words:

The sower – different levels of obedience

The builders – hearing but not doing

The two servants – I go …. But he didn’t

Are you listening?

The question changes subtly – from “Does Jesus speak?” to “Are you listening?”

The servants at the wedding can be sensed watching as they see Mary turn their embarrassment and need into an expectation that He may actually have a solution.

They watch and listen and of course they do as He said.

Is your life organised in such a way that Jesus can speak to you easily?

Yes – you say – I can hear His gracious promises, His love, His faithfulness…

And I interrupt you…

ARE YOU LISTENING?

Can you hear Him when He asks you to DO something?

Is there room in your life for a      NEW INITIATIVE

                                                NEW OBEDIENCE

                                                NEW DIRECTION?

What are we talking about?

o       Possibly a first great obedience of commitment to Him?

o       Or is He calling you to follow him in Baptism – or in another way DEMONSTRATING That YOU ARE HIS?

o       Or is saying to you I HAVE YOUR LIFE MARKED OUT FOR YOU                                 I want you do do my work?

The alternative is empty stone jars – an absence of joy and fulfilment.

WHATEVER HE SAYS TO YOU …. DO IT!

How stands the stone jar of your life….

Empty …   part filled  ….

And – when the wine of life runs out is empty indeed!

See it for what it is …. EMPTY – until His word heard and obeyed transforms it.

WHATEVER HE SAYS TO YOU …. DO IT!

 Hymn:    383  Jesus, the joy of loving

“Our restless spirits yearn for Thee,
Wherever our changeful lot is cast;
Glad when Thy gracious smile we see,
Blessed when our faith can hold Thee fast.”

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