How to ask for a miracle in 5 steps!
I have been using the One Year Bible plan through the YouVersion Bible App for, oh, 2 and a half years now. Haha!
And now for the excuse, because you can’t make a statement like that without one, lest you be judged as a uncommitted or worse: It’s what I read on my phone when I have nothing else at my fingertips. Don’t worry I read my actual Bible regularly.
Well, I was reading the plan for the day one morning in my classroom when I came upon John 2 and the story of The Wedding at Cana. I read it then thought did I read that right?
The story stuck with me. What did it mean? And what did the fact that it stuck with me mean? There were so many questions and so much missing between each verse. A month later I was still meditating on it, so I followed the nudging of the Spirit and began studying.
Upon my first few readings of this familiar story, it read to me a bit like a controlling mother, who was told to back off, got her way in the end and from Jesus of all people.
It might help if you read the passage for yourself first.
[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]John 2:1-11 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.[/cryout-pullquote]
However, after much prayer, research, and contemplation, I’ve come to see it truly reveals a beautiful model of how to approach the Father and the reason He may grant our requests.
First we need context
Verse 1 reveals that Mary is already at the wedding, indicating a close relationship with either the new couple or their family. Separate from that, in verse 2, Jesus and His disciples were also invited. It was tradition for weddings to last days and into weeks, so it makes sense that as Jesus arrived in town He and His disciples were sent for.
When it came to the wine, there were also several customs of the day to note. First, there was the fact that a lot of the wine for the wedding feasts came from the guests. As, Jesus and His disciples came at the last minute so to speak, there is no indication in the passage that they brought any with them. It was also possible take legal action (or sue in today’s terms) against those who did not provide an appropriate wedding gift (Water into Wine by J. D. M. Derrett).
So, when the wine runs out in verse 3, I picture Mary having a small conversation with herself that may have gone something like this:
“These are my good friends, and it was so kind of them to invite my son and His friends to their wedding, but now, possibly because of the extra guests, my friends are out of wine. What should I do? Should I talk to my friends? Should I try to find some more wine on Jesus’ behalf? I don’t want my friends to be upset with me or Jesus. Should I talk to Jesus about this? I mean, he should have brought wine with Him, He knows better. Hmm…well, He does have the ability to do something about it.”
And so she confronts Jesus in verse 3 after the wine is gone, “They have no more wine.”
Step 1: Demonstrate belief/faith and ask!
In this we see that Mary believes Jesus can and will do something. She has probably been privy to recent signs that His ministry was beginning and most likely was looking for a miracle (Matthew Henry) when she tells Him this. If she is indeed asking for a miracle, then she truly models the best way to go about it.
Jesus’ response was, “Dear woman, why do you involve me?”
There’s plenty to be said about how Jesus addresses Mary here and I urge you to check it out on your own. The bigger point, however, is Jesus’ way of saying it’s not any of my business, which He then clarifies with “my time has not yet come.”
What would you do with that response? If I were Mary at that time, I might be thinking what does your hour have to do with these people’s wine?
It seems that Mary didn’t fully understand it either. She knew it wasn’t a no, but rather a not right now kind of answer. And, even though Mary didn’t have access to the full picture of Jesus’ life and ministry like we do, she continues on as if it’s going to happen.
Step 2: Ask in confidence and expectation.
At this point in the text the first time I read it, it seemed like Mary just ignored Jesus and went over His head making an assumption that He would change His mind. I read it as Mary being a controlling mother who was confident she’d get her way, and that shocked me because it wasn’t characteristic of her.
However, it seems I missed an importance piece in what Mary said to the servants in verse 4, “Do whatever He tells you.” A controlling mother would’ve said, “Okay, now here’s what you’re going to do, first…” and then laid out her plan for the servants. Maybe I read it that way at first because my natural tendency is to try to solve my own problems rather than let God do it. But this was not the case.
The fact that Mary went to the servants indicates a faith that Jesus would do something even if she didn’t know how or when or what. She didn’t just believe that Jesus would do something, she lived as if she knew it would happen. Note to self here.
Step 3: Ask in humility to God’s will.
Not only that, but her charge for the servants to listen to Jesus in an indication of her humility to the will of Jesus. In other words acting on faith doesn’t mean doing it my way. It means being willing leave Jesus in control. And, it means truly wanting what He wants for me more than what I want for me Tweet This. If you ever find yourself in need of a miracle, Mary has set a great example of to go about it.
And as we see, Jesus comes through with her miracle.
Step 4: Understand how He will accomplish it.
In His time and in His way!
His timing was perfect.
- Traditionally, the best wine was given out at the beginning of wedding feasts because the more intoxicated you became the less you actually noticed the quality of the wine. Jesus saved the best for last indicating a sweet reward for patience. We must remember that “delays of mercy are not denials of prayer” (Matthew Henry)Tweet This.
- And, He did not jump at the first indication of a wine shortage rather waited until there was a true need. At the point of need Mary was looking for help. She and others now had the ability to see their inability to solve the problem. Thus, “man’s extremity is God’s opportunity” (Matthew Henry) Tweet This.
His method was perfect.
- In verse 9 it says that the master of the banquet tasted the wine but did not know where the wine had come from. “How often something similar happens in our lives! God’s grace constantly surrounds us; his love is constantly active in our lives. Yet often we fail to discern his love, seeing only the hands of those who give us the wine and not realizing where it comes from and the grace it represents.” (Bible Gateway)
- The end of verse 9 states that the servant, however, did know where this wine had come from. The Glory of the Father was revealed to all, but only those who were looking recognized it. The servants and close friends and relatives of Jesus knew what had happened and in verse 11 we see that the disciples put their faith in Him.
- Finally, Jesus provided in abundance. From the text we can approximate that 180 gallons of wine was produced. There is no way this would all be consumed at the feast. The “leftovers” or abundance was a gift for the new couple to enjoy for quite a while just like the oil that was provided for the poor widow in 2 Kings 4:7.
To reveal His Glory.
And, “man’s extremity is God’s opportunity” to do just that.
I love it when I open up God’s word and He reveals new meanings in “well-known” passages. Has that happened to you? Which passages and what was the lesson? I’m sure there are other things to take from this passage too. Do you see any? Please share.