Learn from the Servants at Cana
Do you want to see the work of Jesus in your life? Do you want to be rewarded by God? Do you want a life like the great men and women in the Bible? There is a simple way to get a Spirit-filled life. It might not seem possible but it is actually simple in concept. Follow Jesus’ direction and be a servant. Serve His church and others in big ways and little. Jesus said this will make you the greatest among His disciples.
Do you believe Jesus when He says this?
Service is the most direct way to see Jesus move. It is not easy as true God-honoring work for God requires sacrifice and hard work. But Jesus guarantees abundances, not leisure. Your Lord’s life was totally defined by self-denial and service that led to glory. What do you expect for yourself?
Jesus’ power is so much clearer when you are working for Him, particularly on the impossible. Trust in Him becomes all you have when your planning fails. You also naturally see the results. You will be looking for them if your time, talents, and prayers are attached to the endeavor. You will be desperate for them when the work does not go according to your plans
If you are intimately involved in work for God relying on God, you will get to know God intimately. The great missionary, Hudson Taylor, believed that any great work of the Lord began with a weak man on his knees begging for the impossible. Then, after the impossible is given to God, it becomes possible and then done.
You are given a front-row seat to watch Him work when you choose to serve Jesus. Those involved in planting a crop will closely watch for signs of harvest. Those who stay inside at sowing time often miss the harvest. It is like being part of a sports team. You have to be willing to do the training and enter the game to experience the joy of winning.
A Hopeless Wedding Problem
This is demonstrated in Jesus’ first miracle at the Wedding Feast of Cana. Jesus, Mary, and the Disciples attend this anonymous wedding feast. A hospitality emergency occurs during the feast. The wine for the festivities runs out. This would have been quite a scandal. A lapse in the strict code of hospitality was considered greatly insulting to the community. The embarrassment to the young couple and their families would have followed them well after the day.
There is a seemingly insurmountable problem. It is only the first day of the feast. There are 6 more days involved in the wedding celebration. There is no way to fix it on short notice. There will be shame and pain as a result. This is where Jesus is called on to step in and fix the situation. He will turn water to wine and provide everything needed to make things perfect, but the servants don’t yet know this.
6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. 9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”
11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
Did you notice how Jesus did not resolve the problem by Himself?
He used the servants just like He will use you to fix big problems in this life. Are you willing to be used? If you are, then two things likely await you: hard work and exclusive blessings.
Jesus could have simply filled every glass with wine with a word. Yet, He enlists those who are there ready and willing to work. He calls on the servants to grab the jars and fill them with water. Jesus did the actual turning water into wine alone. The servants could not change the water. He has them carry out the physical steps necessary to make it happen. Your flesh will kick and scream in frustration about being put out and forced to work. It can seem to you like an imposition as it can be exhausting. Yet, the reality is God is giving you a wonderful privilege. He allows you to contribute to a miracle.
Isn’t that amazing?
The servants fill the pots with water. This was a large amount of work. There were no sinks in those days. The servants did not have a tap to turn on to let the water flow. They likely drew the water from a well and then carried them to the waterpots. They transferred 700-800 pounds of water through sweat and muscle. They expend this effort solely because Jesus tells them to.
They worked hard even though they did not understand exactly what would happen. Can you imagine the doubts swirling through their heads as their backs ached from all that water?
Have you ever noticed the impossibility of their task? They lugged all that water into pots while their problem is not a lack of water. They needed wine, not water. Their labor could do nothing to remedy the issue of no wine. But, they listen to Jesus. They then stand by and wait in expectation and faith.
How much faith do you have that God will fulfill His promises? Do you trust that His timing to fulfill them is perfect…even better than yours? George Muller, the great evangelist, prayed faithfully for a man for 63 years before that man came to Jesus. Should he be the one to tell God that 61 years was the proper time for God to answer?
The wait is more than worth it no matter how long the wait or hard the labor. Can you imagine their surprise as they witness the actual work done by Jesus? Jesus only allows the servers to see the inside of the execution of the miracle.
Can you see the blessing in this work?
The servants know with absolute certainty that they themselves did nothing out of the ordinary. They filled pots with their own hands with water and set them before Jesus. Their own inadequacy to fix the situation was clearly on display. There was nothing miraculous about the pots or their placement. They just followed the instruction Jesus gave them. The servants did what they can do. They did what Jesus said to do and waited and watched what happened next. They then are blessed in a special way. Only the servants experience the whole story.
It is only the disciples on the boat as Jesus calms the storm. Only Peter walks on water. The women who wake up early and pick up the spices early in the morning are the first to see the empty tomb. No one in their own homes by a warm fire sees Jesus appear in their midst like the disciples.
It is a simple proposition. It is right for the workers to share in the joy of the harvest.
You Will See the Works of God
The servants listened to Jesus, did what He said, and did what they could. They reached the end of their ability. They worked hard. Their efforts on their own failed. The great news is they are not alone and it is not the end of the story. They are with Jesus. They step aside and let Jesus do His thing.
His glory is on full display. They watch as eternal God molds the world to His will. They alone witness the simple vessels of water change into wine. They alone see the results of Jesus’ work in those vessels. They alone watch the transformation. No one else at the Feast understands the type of love Jesus has for simple people to save them from shame.
Can we imagine the joy of the servants seeing the reactions of the guests as they sampled the wine? How they must have marveled as the Master of the Feast proclaimed it the best wine! The workers knew it was just water a few moments before.
The servants certainly had to fight doubt and rebellion when they were told to serve with water from pots. It just made seeing the joy brought about by Jesus’ miracle even sweeter.
It is only the servants that get the full picture of Jesus’ work from beginning to end. They are side by side with Jesus. They see His power. They know for absolutely certain that Jesus does amazing things. They see nothing is impossible for Him.
The very same process takes place today for those who serve the Lord in faith.
Effort is always required to serve whether you are called to pray or street witness. It can be exhausting. You can work your fingers to the bone filling thousands of pots with water. You may be praying for years for a friend or loved one. You may have planted many seeds and water faithfully without seeing a crop yet.
Don’t despair. It is coming!
When Jesus adds the power of God you will see life-changing things happen. It is here that the blessing is enormous.
You can’t turn water to wine. You can’t pick the timing. You can fill the pots. If you do it alongside Jesus you will always be there to see Him do His work.
You know for certain it is nothing you did and all about Jesus. God is constantly working and taking the basest materials – people just like you and me – and turning us into sweet wine to be poured out for Him. You are not going to see that if we are sitting at home watching a football game.
Service in Jesus is an enormous privilege. You get to see Jesus work up close and personally. You are allowed to come in and participate. You get to do so alongside God Himself. It is the joy of watching Jesus work with your hands as He does the miraculous. If you are not serving the Body of Christ in some way today, start right now.
Jesus is waiting to bless you in a special way.