Isn’t it interesting that sometimes a Bible passage sticks to you and keeps speaking to you? This happened to me with the story of the wedding in Cana. I blogged about the beginning of it last week but the story didn’t let go of me. So here I am blogging again about the same Bible story but from a totally different angle. So today I am writing about the fullness of joy which we find in Jesus. It is the best thing in life in my book. But what has this anything to do with the wedding in Cana?
The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. 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.” 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.
When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!” This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him. After the wedding he went to Capernaum for a few days with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples. (John 2:1-13, NLT)
The fullness of joy…
Indeed, how is this text connected to the fullness of joy in Jesus? Because wine (not drunkenness) is often seen in the Bible as a sign of joy and God’s blessings, many scholars state the wedding party running out of wine symbolizes the spiritual drought of first-century Judaism. And I think this is what’s going on all over the world in the present time too. Maybe even in our own lives, what do you think?
The wedding festivities in Israel went on for days and wine could not run out. But it did, more people showed up than had been anticipated. In the same way, we try to plan so we would not run out of joy but nonetheless, we often do. So there is a deep need in us. We had thought we could do it on our own but the results – the spiritual drought we are experiencing – speak for themselves. So what to do so we would not keep on repeating our mistakes?
We need to remember the real bringer of joy is Jesus who is our Heavenly Father’s gift to us. We can try to look elsewhere for happiness but nothing else will bring everlasting joy no matter how hard we try. Blessedly, Jesus does bring joy – in abundance.
That’s why we need to look up to Jesus for direction and do exactly what he says. When Jesus says to fill the jars with water, we need to do exactly that. We are not to stop filling them when we think they are reasonably full. Instead, we need to fill them up to the brim as we are told to do. We don’t need to understand the reasoning behind Jesus’s directions, we just need to do what we were asked to do. The results are up to God. And when we surrender our will to God this way, God will always deliver. Even beyond what we dared to dream. Because God is a good, good Father.
For out of His fullness [the superabundance of His grace and truth] we have all received grace upon grace [spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, favor upon favor, and gift heaped upon gift]. (John 1:16, AMP)
… is in Jesus
John uses the word grace only four times in the gospel, all in the prologue (chapter 1) but, yes, in a very powerful way, don’t you think? Then John moves on to show us what God’s grace looks like in real life: Jesus turns water into wine when that’s needed in a rural family’s wedding celebration. God cares for your mundane affairs too. Nothing is strange to Jesus, he walks with you and shows you the way to go, just keep on listening to his promptings.
This first sign of Jesus went mostly unnoticed, only his newly recruited disciples witnessed it. But it was anyway done to strengthen their (and our) faith. So when Jesus asks you to do something that has nothing to do with joy and is full of hard and humble work, do it anyway. Trust Jesus, he knows what he is doing.
I truly adore the fact Jesus’s first sign was the sign of joy. In the same way, as God created the world by word, Jesus created wine from water. And it was also very, very good.
Are you ready for Jesus to reveal his glory in the midst of your humble circumstances? I hope you are. Jesus cares for you. He has heard your cries, he has not forgotten you. The fullness of joy is in Jesus and it is the best thing in life. It is the joy of salvation, it is the presence of God. And God gives in abundance. So be filled with God’s goodness to the brim. Every day. And do not stop halfway. God does not give stingily, so let’s receive all he has for us. And that’s grace upon grace.
Let us pray
Dear Heavenly Father,
Forgive us for not being open to all your gifts.
We want to be yours and live in the fullness of joy in Jesus.
There is nothing else that truly satisfies us.
Tell us what to do, and show us what grace truly looks like in our lives.
Fill us to the brim and use us for your glory.
In Jesus’ name,
Isn’t God amazing? He is always more than we imagine. Let’s stay open to receive all God has for us. That is the only way to the fullness of joy. And we want that. We don’t want to live under the privileges of his children, we want all that he wants to give us. Then we are ready to fully serve him. So receive grace upon grace, my fellow pilgrim. God wants to bless you to be a blessing according to his plans for you and the people around you. Do what he says and you will be amazed! Blessings upon blessings!