Following Jesus • 37 / There’s no better person to follow

Read This: John 2:1-11

Now we’re moving into the story. Jesus, fresh from His baptism and temptations, is attending a wedding. His mother, siblings, and disciples are there, and they’re not merely guests. Mary feels some ownership, whether as a concerned friend or in a hostessing role we’re not told. But when the wine runs out, she takes charge.

Weddings were noteworthy events. They could last for days, hospitality was central, and it was an indignity for the host to run out of wine.

We’ve been “following Jesus” through thirty-six installments featuring His arrival, early years, and public emergence. We can’t miss the fact that Jesus is the Messiah. But this was not yet common knowledge. These people knew Jesus in relation to His family. They didn’t know He was their Messiah, and they really didn’t know their Messiah was God Himself.*

But Mary knew. And after thirty years of living under the same roof as God, she knew His heart. So when the wine ran out, she approached Jesus. “They have no wine.” In other words, “Their reputations will be ruined. They need help.”

Jesus’ response that His hour had not yet come was true. His redemptive work was yet ahead of Him. But He also had compassion on those in need, and Mary knew that.

“Do whatever He tells you,” she told the servants.

There were six large water pots nearby, holding about thirty gallons each. Jesus told the servants to fill them with water, which they did. To the brim. Then He told them to scoop out a cupful and bring it to the headwaiter.

I would love to have seen those servants hand that cup to the headwaiter. It was a cup of water. Did they make eye contact? Maybe servants just looked down, but if not, I’ll bet their eyes were riveted on his. We’re out of wine, this is a disaster, and we’re handing the headwaiter a cup of water . . . 

Imagine their reaction as his eyes widened and he immediately sent for the groom. Did they know what had happened? When the groom arrived, the headwaiter upbraided him. “Everyone else serves the good wine first, but you have kept the best till last!”

Jesus turned 180 gallons of water into wine. Excellent wine. And He did it from across the room while socializing at a wedding.

Only God can do that.

Jesus did two things here. He revealed that He was God, and He revealed what God is like. Compassionate and all-powerful. Mary already knew this, but now the servants and the disciples knew it. As a result, they believed in Him.

Choosing to follow someone is an expensive endeavor. It costs you your life. The disciples just received their first affirmation that they’d made a wise choice. They’d chosen to follow the One who is all-powerful and compassionate.

So have I.

* “Your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth” (Isaiah 54:5b).