Two stories of faith John tells us in his account of the wedding at Cana. One stars Jesus’ mother, Mary. The other account of faith involves the servants.
Mary saw a need at the wedding. Whose wedding? We’re not sure. Maybe one of Jesus’ family members or close friends, or merely someone in the community. What we do know is that Mary felt the need to ask her son to intervene. The host faced the embarrassing prospect of running out of wine and seeing his marriage party dwindle a bit early. She had undoubtedly seen examples of Jesus’ nature over the last thirty years and trusted his capabilities. More than this, however, she believed he would act. Thus, she told the servants, “Whatever he says to you, do it,” anticipating his work. Mary knew her son would help a man avoid embarrassment on his wedding day just as much as he’d help a blind man. She knew his heart. And she believed in that as much as she believed in his power.
The servants had a faith that followed Mary’s. Faith can be contagious … even if these servants didn’t have Mary’s thorough understanding of Jesus due to their history. Scholars believe this to be one of the first actions Jesus does following his forty days in the wilderness. Therefore these fellows at the wedding had little reason to put their faith in this guy: especially when they heard his offbeat instructions.
He told them to fill washing pots with water. Easy enough, but what practical purpose this could serve at a wedding was anyone’s guess. Not having an intricate system of pipes, hoses and water purification made this task a little more laborious, but still simple. So they did it.
He then had the audacity to tell them to scoop some of this water from these pots used for bathing, and take it to the head steward at the party. There’s no way anyone could have believed this was clean water, let alone the finest wine in the place. What did they risk by offering plain water to the head steward? Ridicule? A beating? Loss of position? Still the servants listened to Jesus, and they went.
Their reward: witnessing Jesus’ power and nature. Mary already knew of it, and believed he would act again in accordance with what she knew of him. These men acted, but probably with some measure of fear and uncertainty. But they listened, served, and saw something of his divine character as a result. Faith believed, and believing saw.
What do I believe about Jesus’ power? His nature?
Do I ask him to act in accordance with what I believe?
Will I serve Jesus without certainty of the payoff, knowing the visible risks and not knowing the invisible rewards?
Ⓒ Revolworks 2005