IMMEASURABLY MORE

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Life can get awfully serious, full of responsibilities.  There are seasons when I feel weighed down by ‘stuff,’ when I forget an important fact-   Jesus celebrates!  He was a ‘Man of sorrows,’ to be sure. However, He laughed, too.  While suffering does an important work in us and it is true that we must not become superficially silly people, we need to know how to look up, to find the joy of the Lord.

Do you remember to celebrate, to laugh, to sit down and enjoy life?

At the beginning of John’s Gospel there is a story about Jesus’ first public miracle. It does not involve sickness, death, or tragedy. Jesus was at a wedding in Cana with His family and His disciples. Jewish weddings were a big deal, involving a celebration that stretched over several days.  The groom went to the house of his fiancé and brought her, in a public procession, to his home.  It marked a new beginning.  Weddings were so significant that Jesus made the wedding a parable to illustrate the arrival of the Kingdom of God. The Church, the Bride, looks forward to joining her Husband at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb.

At that wedding in Cana, there was a minor crisis for the groom. Somehow, he did not have enough wine! “The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.” “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:3-5, NLT)  The family was going to be embarrassed.  The celebration could not go on without the wine! Mary apparently believed that Jesus could and should do something about this fiasco.  Jesus insists that the problem is not His to solve, but Mary ignores Him and tells the servants to approach Him and to do what He tells them to do.  First lesson from this story is this –  To experience God’s sufficient provision know that obedience is a key factor. “Do whatever He says!”

Though Jesus tells Mary He is not ready to act, for reasons we are not told, He chooses to act. As you read, note the details.  “Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions.” (John 2:6-8, NLT) 6 containers the size of an ordinary garbage can! Not 6 water bottles, but 6 BIG containers.  Getting those jars filled was no small task. Water had to be drawn from a village well, carried back to the house, poured into the jars which would have been too heavy to move. The work demanded the efforts of several servants for an extended time.  When they had finished, Jesus gives them cryptic instructions: “Take the contents from one of the jars to the best man.”   And, they did!

There is some wry humor in the last part of John’s account. “When the host tasted the water that had become wine (he didn’t know what had just happened but the servants, of course, knew), he called out to the bridegroom, “Everybody I know begins with their finest wines and after the guests have had their fill brings in the cheap stuff. But you’ve saved the best till now!”  (John 2:9-10, The Message)  Somewhere between the well and the best man’s lips, God made water into wine!  It was not just any wine; it was good stuff.

Here is my question to you today – is your celebration of life, your ability to feel joy being hindered by a development you did not foresee, a problem you cannot solve, a situation that came from nowhere?

If the Lord of life would invest Himself in a wedding, in a village nobody cared about, can you trust Him to provide what you need for life? He is a good, good God!  Perhaps the thing stealing your joy is just an irritant, not really a big deal, but enough to keep you from singing.  Let me ask you –  was running out of wine a life or death matter? Of course not, and yet Jesus cared. He cares about your need today. So, ask Him for His provision.  Hear Mary’s words and take them to heart:  “Do whatever He tells you.”   In obedience you will find that He enters the ordinary and something amazingly wonderful will emerge, the best stuff, on the third day!  That’s just another way to say, ‘in a way and at a place when you least expect it.’

The word from the Word comes from my favorite part of the Scripture, from a letter that overflows with hope and promise.  There is a little phrase tucked into the passage that I try not to forget – “immeasurably more!”

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:16-21, NIV)

________

Good, Good Father  (listen, learn, and worship at this link)

I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

I’ve seen many searching for answers
Far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers
Only You provide
Because You know just what we need
Before we say a word

You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us

Love so undeniable I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable I can hardly think
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love love love

You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

Anthony Brown | Pat Barrett © 2014 Capitol CMG Paragon (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Common Hymnal Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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