Happy New Year! We pray it will be an absolutely wonderful year in every way for you and your family.
John, in his Gospel, records in Chapter 2 the time when Jesus and His disciples, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, accepted an invitation to attend a wedding celebration. It is the well known story of when Jesus changed water into wine. It is a story where we can actually learn some important lessons where the New Year is concerned.
So there they all are wearing their Sabbath best enjoying the wedding, the blessing, the Bride and Groom, the other guests, the food, the drink and, of course, the dance. There is always joyous dancing at a Jewish wedding. Suddenly Mary had a quiet word with her Son.
‘Jesus, there’s a bit of a situation occurring, it must be awfully embarrassing for the family, maybe you could help?’
‘So what’s the matter mum, what’s occurring?’
‘They’ve run out of wine. Someone must have really messed up with the drinks order.’
‘So what has this got to do with me mum?’
‘As I say, can’t you help them out?’
And the rest is history as they say! Jesus transforms a huge amount of water into the very best wine. Now when I say a huge amount I’m talking of between 120 – 180 gallons. When you work it out, that’s no less than between 960 – 1440 pints or bottles. Now with 5 glasses from every bottle on average, I make that somewhere in the region of 4800 and 7200 glasses of the finest red. Absolutely staggering! One thing is for sure, you can never accuse Jesus of doing anything by half.
So what are some of the lessons we can learn from this?
First of all, notice what Mary does as soon as the problem arises. She invites Jesus to be at the very centre of the situation. She knew it was Jesus who had the power to change the situation. I believe there was real wisdom in what Mary did here. You see, immediately she puts Jesus at the centre of proceedings. Not because He was her son but because she knew if she gave Him control of the situation He would turn things around for the good. It’s interesting to note though that before Jesus got involved He had to be asked and invited into the situation.
As we begin a new year we would do well to remember and emulate this. When things throughout the year don’t seem to be going according to plan and begin to fall apart somewhat, the first thing we need to do is to invite the Lord Jesus Christ right into the centre of the situation. Give Him control of proceedings – let Him have His way and work it all out! He knows how to turn any situation around. He’s the God of the turnaround. He specialises in things thought impossible and He is always waiting for an invitation to intervene on your behalf. Invite Him to be at the core of the problem and watch and learn.
Secondly, note the advice Mary gives in verse 5. Now I know what I am about to say could be considered by some as outrageously audacious, but I believe it to be the absolute truth. In my opinion the one sentence of advice that Mary gives to the servants at the wedding that day is most probably the most profound piece of wisdom that has ever been given throughout the whole of history. That advice was simply this, ‘whatsoever He says to you – do it!’
She knew if they were willing to submit and do exactly what Jesus said to them, then He would do what He does best and turn the situation around. She knew the key was always absolute obedience. It was then and it is now! As we are on this subject, it’s worth observing several aspects of this motherly advice.
First our obedience is to be nothing less than entire, total and in every way. Mary encapsulates this in the word she uses when she says ‘whatsoever’. This also speaks of our obedience being ‘exclusive’ in so much as we are to do ‘whatsoever He says’ to the exclusion of what all others think or say if they differ from Him. The type of obedience Mary was speaking about was also ‘specific’. She says ‘whatsoever He says unto you, do it’ whatever it is! Not just something like it, or something halfway to what He has told you to do, and not something supposedly equivalent, but exactly and precisely ‘it’.
Mary’s advice is advice we should all take into this new year. If we want to prosper and have success and know the favour of God on our lives then the key really is ‘whatsoever He says to you – do it’.
There’s one other lesson we can learn from Mary and what she did in this story. After Jesus had provided a miracle for a family in crisis (something, by the way, He still very much wants to do in 2016, help individuals and families in all types of crises), verse 12 tells us that
His mother and the disciples went with Jesus to the seaside town of Capernaum. Here we see Mary not just seeking the miraculous but going on to walk with Jesus and stay close to Him. It’s an important lesson we should all take into this new year. None of us know for certain what will happen in 2016 and that’s exactly why each one of us need to walk with Him and stay close to Him every step of the way.
In 2016 be sure to put the Lord Jesus Christ at the centre of you life and at the centre of every situation and circumstance. Make a quality decision to be absolutely obedient in whatever He tells you. And through it all, be sure to walk with Him and stay close to Him!
Have a wonderful Christ filled 2016. Until next month, stay blessed,