Last Sunday I spoke on John 2:1-11, where Jesus turns water into wine at a wedding in Cana. Like any good story, we are introduced to a number of key characters. Jesus obviously plays the main role, and His actions shed light on all the other characters. We discover Mary’s love for her neighbors – the family of the bridegroom - and her faith that Jesus will provide. We see the disciples “believe” in Jesus as they witness His glory. We meet the master of the banquet, who tastes the new wine, and wonders why it has not yet been served. We imagine the bridegroom’s surprise and puzzlement, for surely he did not provide this great wine!
We also read about the servants. At first I did not consider their role in the story all that significant, but as I re-read the passage I was caught off guard by these two verses:
"Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet. (John 2:7-8)”
“FILL” THE JARS
Jesus asks the servants to fill the jars with water. It was the word “fill” that caught my attention. In Scripture, words like “fill,” “filled,” and “full,” often refer to the work of the Holy Spirit, especially in the New Testament. When Jesus travels into the wilderness, he is full of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1). On the day of Pentecost, the disciples are filled with the Holy Spirit and speak in other tongues (Acts 2:4). We are told that great men like Stephen and Barnabas were also full of the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:55, Acts 11:24).
At the wedding in Cana the command of Jesus to fill the jars is a foretaste of His promise to fill His people with the Spirit. The six stone water jars in the story could contain twenty to thirty gallons each. This means Jesus potentially made one hundred and eighty gallons of wine, or nine hundred and seven bottles! Jesus is showing the abundance that comes from the Spirit.
We are to be a people filled with the Spirit. But filled for what?
"DRAW AND TAKE”
After the servants have filled the jars with water, Jesus asks them to draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet. Notice Jesus does not say to the servants, “Draw some out and drink up!” The servants who just hauled all the water, who put in all the work, don’t even get to taste the wine. Their orders were to simply share the wine with the wedding guests.
There is an important lesson here for us. The abundant, life-giving wine Jesus provides does not come to us as a result of our own efforts, from working hard for God. It comes when others serve it to us.
Scripture teaches us that we are blessed to be a blessing. Everything we have received from God is to be given away. This was the ministry model of the early disciples. In Acts 9:17 we see God using Ananias to visit Paul so that Paul could “see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” We are not filled solely for ourselves, but so that we may overflow and share the goodness of God with others through word and deed.
Unlike the servants, those who are in Christ Jesus have tasted the good wine! We have experienced the Holy Spirit, and now get to share the Spirit with others so that they also can drink and enjoy. Paul says that we are to “be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18-19).
Have you ever sought God and asked for him to speak to you, and then discovered his answer through the words and actions of others? We must understand that the Holy Spirit has been lavishly poured out on us, like a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over (Luke 6:38). The Holy Spirit is a well that never runs dry. Because of this, in the words of Wendell Berry: “Every day you have less reason not to give yourself away.” It is our great privilege then to minister to one another in the power of the Spirit while manifesting the fruit of the Spirit.
Like the servants who filled the jars and served the wine, let us be filled with the Spirit, so that we may draw and take the love of Jesus to His church and to the world.
For more insight into John 2:1-11, check out last weeks sermon by clicking here.