PRAYER INSIGHTS FROM CANA
1On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, 2and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When 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." 5His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." 6Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.[a] 7Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim. 8Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."
They did so, 9and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."11This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
Because Jesus was present as a "Guest," a lot of people received a blessing at the wedding feast in Cana:-- the bride and groom and host-family, the manager of the feast, the servants, the other guests, and especially the disciples who witnessed His glory and therefore "believed in Him," as the text says. It seems rather doubtful that Jesus would have been there without an invitation.
Many of us frequently recite the invitation at our dinner tables, "Come, Lord Jesus, be our Guest; and let Thy gifts to us be blessed." If the request is heartfelt and not just mindlessly intoned, we can certainly expect that He is present and, by His presence, may anticipate His blessing!
Many insights about prayer can be gained by looking at examples in which people of the Bible made requests of Jesus. A lot can be gained from noticing what various requests were made of Him and His response in each instance. - Here we'll be considering Mary's request about wine, and servants doing what Jesus directed in His response...
PRESENT YOUR NEED TO HIM!
(OFTEN WE DO NOT)
We all tend to try to be self-sufficient, given our sinful nature and pride. We set our wills on something, start following the steps we've designed to accomplish it, keep running into walls while insistently believing we can and should be doing whatever it is, perhaps never considering what God's will might be in the matter, much less enlisting His presence and aid! Pride disguised as embarrassment sometimes stands in the way of our voicing some true needs. ("Never admit your weakness," they teach in the Marines.)
The Epistle of James bluntly asserts, "You have not, because you ask not." And, as the beloved hymn-verse states:-- "Oh, what peace we often forfeit; Oh, what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Ev'rything to God in prayer!"
Scripture repeats its encouragements, telling us, "Cast your cares upon Him..." "Call upon Me in the day of trouble..." "Ask.. seek.. knock.. !" - Mary's simple example is quite instructive. "They have no wine," she told the Lord. Without a hint of presuming to tell Jesus how she thought the situation should be remedied, she only presented the basic need.
(AS GOD'S SON, HE IS ABLE TO HELP)
The text says:-- "This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory..." It's a really appropriate statement for the "Epiphany" season of the Church year. - Jesus began showing, manifesting, "shining forth" that He is God, the Son come in human flesh. Better than the blessing of the best wine, the disciples began from that moment to entertain the possibility and spark of faith that that's who Jesus is!
We should present our every need to Christ because He is God, who therefore acts out of His compassionate nature! - As a Psalm states:--> "As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust."
Jesus wasn't contributing to the delinquency of a bunch of wild party-goers. In that culture and time abundant and good wine was thought to be a sign of God's favor, and Jesus compassionately manifest that very sign. He graciously showed that HE is "God's favor" in Person!
Jesus cared about those people as frail humans needing God, and He cares about us in the very same way. His loving compassion runs so deep as to have allowed Himself to be crucified at our hands. Not one of us is guiltless in helping to sponsor His murder, and yet its historical occurrence is the very means by which He brought God's ultimate favor to us all. Hurting, bleeding and fighting for breath, God and His favor were present with us in that scene, unasked and unsought, digging a bottomless well of forgiveness for us in our sin!
As God-the-Son, Jesus therefore also has almighty power! When He wills, basic water may be transformed into gallons of the best wine. Wind and sea obey Him. Leprosy and palsy, blindness and deafness, fever and epilepsy, demons and death flee before Him. - Who better to present with your need?
His was the power to rise to life after three days dead and entombed. None of us is going to do that for himself or herself, but He will raise us, because He is God who has both the will and power to ensure His claim:--> "I AM the Resurrection and the Life!"
DO WHATEVER HE SAYS TO YOU
In awaiting any response to our prayers, we're not free to then follow whatever sin-tainted feeling or intuition might strike our fancy. Bible examples don't show Jesus inviting people to challenge or debate with Him, but He did often issue directives about what to do.
(NO MATTER HOW SEEMINGLY STRANGE OR PRECARIOUS)
Cain didn't follow what he was warned against. Jonah did the opposite of what he was told. Naaman protested at first, but then washed in the Jordan River to be healed of leprosy as he was told. Moses and many others disregarded specific orders, either from fear or doubt or figuring they knew better, and all reaped very unpleasant consequences. - James summarized that we "must not suppose that a double-minded man..will receive anything from the Lord," so it's perhaps best not to ask if we don't really plan to receive and act in faith on God's Word for our lives.
"WHATEVER HE SAYS TO YOU," was Mary's admonition to the servants at the wedding feast. - We're not told if they first complained or mocked the directive. What we are told is that Jesus directed them to fill six
"20-some gallon jars" with water, and "they filled them up to the brim." That sounds like trusting obedience, not cynical skepticism - and, when they did as they were told, they witnessed the astounding miracle of water being transformed into wine!
(FOLLOWING CHRIST'S ORDERS IN FAITH REAPS RESULTS!)
"Wash in the Pool of Siloam," Jesus told a blind man. "Get up" or "Return to your house," He told many others. "Show yourselves to the priests," the ten lepers were ordered. "Bring Me a donkey," Jesus directed several of the disciples. "Cast your net on the right side of the boat," some heard from Him. - In each case, all just did exactly as they were told!
How well do we do with these directives?--> "Give freely, as you have received." "Love one another as I have loved you." "Abide in Me and My Word." "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone." "Take up your cross daily and follow Me." "Go, and make disciples..baptizing..and teaching them..." "Take, eat; take, drink.. DO this..."
Disciples brought a donkey, and what a parade they had! Ten lepers went, and even nine who gave no thanks were healed, receiving grace anyway. Casting their nets one more time in the way they were told resulted in the disciples having to drag a haul of 153 huge fish to shore, because they couldn't lift it. - Servants filled the jars with water, and everyone there reaped the happy benefit of the best wine!
In our hearts, as we truly want Jesus present as God and Guest in our lives, -- as we lay even our every simplest need before Him, -- as in faith we DO according to all that He has commanded us in Scripture, ---- we will no doubt find ourselves among the most blessed of all people on earth! - And be assured of this, that Jesus does want to be present and bless your life!