gripping thoughts from john 2 – part one

a few weeks ago in the fellowship i lead, we launched a series called “the word became flesh.”  we are trekking verse-by-verse through the gospel of john (if you are wondering about my choice of subject scripture, you can read about my motivation here) and i am having a ball.  last sunday, we started chapter two, and as i tried to wrap my mind around what jesus was doing/thinking at the wedding at cana, i came up with some pretty compelling thoughts.

my objective is to challenge my people.  instead, i usually end up challenging me.

over the next couple of days (if time permits) i will share a couple of things that intrigued me in this story.  i’m sure my brilliant readers will find nothing unique or compelling in my perspective (if you want compelling, check out brett’s treatment of 1 corinthians 13 here and here), but they will indulge me because they love me.

in my studies of the gospels, i’ve noticed in jesus a protective passion about his father’s timing.  he claims to only do what his father directs him to do, and he is acutely aware of his mission.  to avoid circumventing his father’s timing, he instructs healed people to tell no one about their miracle.  that’s why jesus’ reaction to his mother’s provocation surprises me.

When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” (John 2:3)

beyond embarrassing, if the groom’s family ran out of wine their standing in the community would be marginalized.  one commentator i read claims that such a breach of hospitality would have been legally actionable.  mary was obviously moved to action.

“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied, “My time has not yet come.” (John 2:4)

here we see jesus’ reticence to stray outside his father’s pre-determined schedule.

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5)

what?  wait…

at this point, i am positive that jesus is going to gently but firmly put his mom in her place.  instead, jesus did his first public miracle and turned water into wine so that the wedding feast could continue and the reputation of this family would be saved.  but this story is not a lesson on how a son should defer to his mother, it is a lesson on how a christian should submit to another christian.

submission is a dirty word in our culture (even church culture).  we deserve our rights and we demand them.  but, as christ followers, we are called to cooperate with the holy spirit as he produces the attributes of jesus in our lives.  the list of fruit (products) of the spirit (galatians 5:22-23) includes kindness.  and gentleness.  and self-control.  yet i encounter stubbornness much more frequently than submission.  rather than gentleness and self-control, we display self-centeredness and short tempers.

i’m just saying that if “getting along” was more important to jesus than maintaining his cherished schedule, shouldn’t we be willing eager to submit to one another?  could that be the lesson jesus was trying to teach his disciples?

and us?


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3 thoughts on “gripping thoughts from john 2 – part one

  1. first of all, thanks for the links and kind words.

    now, i don’t do this often, and i’m not entirely comfortable with myself when i do — maybe even less so with others when they do — but i’m going to share something i feel i’ve learned from experience, and for which i have no real biblical backing. it may be in there, but i guess i’ve never bothered to look, i’m so sure of the principle in my life.

    i’m sometimes urged by the Holy Spirit (some of you can read conscience if it makes you feel better) to be obedient in some particular way. it may be a very small thing. but if i’m submissive to him, and obedient to what he’s asked of me, it never fails that i hear more clearly the next time what it is i’m to do. in my life, being submissive to the Holy Spirit leads me to greater submission. obedience leads me to greater obedience. listening leads me to a greater ability to hear.

    so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this were a point Jesus is trying to teach early. it seems there is much built on top of it, and dependent on it.

    • i totally agree, brett (and thanks for the comment, by the way. and thanks for the thanks). i’m beginning to believe there is no more effective way to demonstrate christ than to lay our lives down in favor of others. the whole “stank up for your rights” and “jesus never meant for us to be a doormat” is feeling kind of humanisitic to me.

      and you can say “led by the holy spirit” on my blog anytime you want.

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