Did you ever think that once you become a follower of Christ that your life would be free of problems and that joy would always be present? “I’m here, Jesus, Now, give me what I ask for!” In order to experience joy and Jesus’ presence, you have to listen for what He tells you, and then, you must do it. The servants had to be willing to be obedient. Obedience made the possibility of joy and a miracle a reality. How do I fill the empty spots in my life? Thirdly,
3. Do What Jesus Tells Me
5 But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
7 Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, 8 he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions
To those servants on that day, Mary said, “Do whatever He tells you to do.” At that moment, Jesus ceased to be a guest and became the one who was in control of the whole wedding celebration. And at that moment, a miracle began to happen. People are perfectly willing to have Jesus as a guest in their lives. But they are not willing to turn over control and “do whatever He tells” them, and so they never have their lives changed by a miracle.
The Bible records that there were 6 stone pots there. Their purpose was to hold water that the Jews could use for purification. They would come to the pots and let water run over their hands. It was more ceremony than sanitary, it was required by the Jewish law. It became an outward show. An outward show, then or now, has never been able to produce joy. Simply coming to church, saying the prayers or even reading your Bible will not produce joy in you. They will put you in the place where you can find joy and put you around the people who will help to enhance your joy. But if you come to church and never put into practice the things that you hear there, you will become even more miserable than you were to begin with. If you say the prayers but refuse to listen to and obey God’s Spirit as He speaks to you, then your prayers will only produce emotional and spiritual conflict in your life. And if you read the Bible with no intention of getting rid of the sin that is exposed by the commands that you read there, then you will only provoke guilt within yourself and send yourself into depression.
The servants heard Jesus speak, and they responded in obedience. They began the process of filling the stone jars with water. Each of these jars held between 20 and 30 gallons of water, and there were 6 jars. That’s 180 gallons of water. It would have taken a lot of time and energy to accomplish this task. Trip after trip to the well to draw water and pour it into the jars. And we don’t know how far it was to the well. It would have been tempting to do a half-hearted and half-completed job. After all, Jesus only said to “fill” the jars with water. He didn’t say how far to fill them. And “fill” is a word that can be interpreted in many ways depending on how hot it is and how late in the workday it is. Anything over half way is full, isn’t it? That’s what potato chip companies seem to think. But these men didn’t think so. When Jesus told them to fill the jars, they took Jesus’ words quite literally, and they filled them all the way to the brim, just shy of overflowing.
I would say that most everyone here would admit to wanting joy. And in order to receive that joy you might even be willing to be obedient to God – to a certain extent. But are you willing for your obedience to reach all the way to the brim even when the obedience that Jesus asks for doesn’t make sense to you? Or when it requires more work than you had originally intended on giving? Or when it forces you to rearrange your priorities and your schedule like these servants had to do? You see, the amount of joy that you experience is in direct proportion to the amount of obedience that you give. The greater your obedience, the greater your supply of joy will be. When Jesus tells you to do something, never do it halfway because Jesus wants to give you joy to the full.
The bottom line is that if you and I do whatever Jesus tell us, we will see miracles happen in our lives. Some of us are going through marriage problems, financial problems, relationship problems. And we need to ask ourselves, ’In order to get victory over this particular area of my life, am I willing to do whatever Jesus tells me? Even if it makes me uncomfortable, even if it’s hard work, even if it’s inconvenient, even if it’s something I’ve never done before?’ The next way to fill the empty spots in my life:
- Know that with Jesus: the Best is Yet to Come
9 When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. 10 “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!”
Notice also the quality of the wine. Jesus didn’t turn the water into Mad Dog 20/20. He provided the best wine that was ever made! And he saved the best for last! The point is that for those of us who have invited Jesus into our marriages and into our lives, God is saving the best things in life for last! Maybe all things considered, you think that your life is pretty good right now. Well, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Jesus always saves the best till last. The world puts its best up front and things go downhill from there. But when God shows up things go from good to best. The best that the world has to offer now is only a hint of what is yet to be. The difference will be as different as water is to wine.
- Jesus Gives Not Just Enough but More than Enough
6 Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons.
There were six jars containing between 20 and 30 gallons apiece. So, at the very least, the jars contained 120 gallons of wine, and as much as 180 gallons. That is a lot of wine. There is no way the guests could have consumed that much wine. Why did Jesus give so much wine? Because he is an extravagant giver. He never gives just enough; he always gives more than enough. This is the same thing Jesus did when he fed the multitude. He multiplied five loaves and two fish so that 5,000 men and their families were fed. And when everyone had eaten their fill, there were twelve baskets of bread and fish left over. He gave them more than they could possibly eat. But that is the way God gives. There is no limit to his grace. What Jesus gives is never just enough, it is always more than enough, with plenty left over. He did not give just enough trees; he gave more than enough. He did not create just enough mountains; he created more than enough. He did not give just enough ocean; he gave more than enough. He did not give just enough life and joy; he gave more than enough. When Niki and I went to Big Bend National Park several years ago, I saw beauty in the most unexpected places. I saw flowers blooming on just 8 inches of rain a year, plants growing out of rocks. I saw blossoms that were so intricate and beautiful it was breath taking. In the depths of the ocean where no one has ever been, God paints his creatures with exotic color and beauty. Below the ground, where no one has yet gone, God places gold and precious stones. He is extravagant. In very ordinary places he creates extraordinary beauty. Let Jesus touch you, and see if your life is not filled with new beauty and wonder — new flavor and fragrance.
- Jesus Changes Everything
Jesus is in the business of turning water into wine, sinners into saints, fear into courage, sorrow into joy, defeat into victory, despair into hope and death into life!
Jesus often preached a sermon after performing a miracle. He didn’t do it here, but if He had, I think He would have made at least three points:
• My first miracle took place at a wedding, not at a funeral; in a home, not in church. Please invite me into your relationships and into your families. I value social interaction and friendships and have sanctified marriage by my presence. Don’t compartmentalize me by thinking of me only when you’re in church.
• I am the bridegroom and those of you who know me are my bride. Please keep yourself pure and be ready when I come for you so that we can sit down together at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and experience never-ending joy.
• If your joy has run out, let me give you the kind of joy that is new every day and let me satisfy you completely. Give me the ordinary and let me do the extraordinary. Put your faith in me just like my disciples did. When you do, I’ll transform your life from the inside out. I’ll change you just like I did the water.
Let me ask you: Has your life been transformed by the power of Jesus Christ? Have you invited him into YOUR life and into YOUR marriage? Have you tasted the new wine of the gospel? Psalm 34:8 says “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Don’t take my word for it Taste and see for yourself. Invite Jesus to be your personal Lord and Savior. Do whatever he tells you. And he will perform miracles in your life.