In John 2, we find the familiar narrative of Jesus, His mom, and His buddies celebrating a wedding. It was normative for weddings in the ancient Near and Middle East to last for days on end, even up to a week or longer, and at this wedding, the host families ran out of wine at some point during the festivities. How embarrassing!
Now, this episode is especially captivating if you understand the spiritual meaning behind what’s going on; for example, the fact that Jesus arrived to the wedding on the third day is eyebrow-raising, or the fact that wine in the Bible sometimes symbolizes a blessing or encounter from God is remarkable.
But what I’d like to do is take this fascinating moment at face value. Mary, Jesus’ mom, learned that the wine had run out and took matters into her own hands. Why Mary concerned herself with this matter is up for speculation: she could have been a wedding planner, so ensuring the flow of food and drink was her responsibility (which is especially possible in light of verse 5 where we see servants obeying Mary’s commands); or perhaps she was a close friend of the bride and groom and wanted to help them avoid embarrassment. Whatever her motivation, Mary went straight to Jesus and expected Him to remedy the unfortunate situation.
In John 2:3, Mary said to her Son, “They have no more wine. Can’t you do something about it?” Jesus gently declines her order, pointing out that it wasn’t His time just yet. However, Mary just about ignores His answer and instructed the servants, “Whatever Jesus tells you, make sure that you do it” (2:5)! And of course, this led to Jesus’ first public miracle: the changing of water into wine.
What gutsy faith Mary had! If she had given up when Jesus seemed to shrug off her request, there would be no miracle. There’s definitely a lesson in this little chronicle for us about bold faith and expectant prayer.
Jesus teaches us in Matthew 7:7, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you” (emphasis mine). Yes, the original language indicates a persistence, a verb tense that is continual.
In Luke 18, we find a strange parable of a widow who had been wronged, who was demanding justice from a judge. This angry and unfair judge “ignored her pleas for quite some time, but she kept asking. Eventually he said to himself, ‘This widow keeps annoying me, demanding her rights, and I’m tired of listening to her. Even though I’m not a religious man and don’t care about the opinions of others, I’ll just get her off my back by answering her claims for justice and I’ll rule in her favor. Then she’ll leave me alone’ ” (verses 4-5). And Jesus made a connection by saying, “Don’t you know that God, the true judge, will grant justice to all of his chosen ones who cry out to him night and day? He will pour out his Spirit upon them. He will not delay to answer you and give you what you ask for. God will give swift justice to those who don’t give up. So be ever praying, ever expecting, just like the widow was with the judge. Yet when the Son of Man comes back, will he find this kind of persistent faithfulness in his people” (18:7-8)?
And Jesus does say more than once, that whatever we ask for in prayer is ours (Mark 11:24, John 14:13, Matthew 21:23, John 15:7, John 15:16, John 16:24, 1 John 3:22, 1 John 5:15, among others).
See, had Mary not been audacious in her faith, Jesus would not have performed a miracle.
Of course, my cautious side wants to throw out a disclaimer about how God probably will not answer our prayers for a mansion with tennis courts and $1,000,000 in the bank. However, I don’t think the issue most Christians have is asking for the “wrong” things; I think most Christians have an issue with not asking.
So, what miracle is Jesus waiting to perform—if only you ask Him in faith? Seriously!
And is Jesus’ so-called delay in answering, merely an invitation for you to keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking?
Could it be that Jesus is waiting for you to step up and start making audacious requests of Him? Bold requests? Out of the ordinary requests? Larger than life requests? The Holy Spirit, our precious Friend, will ‘check’ you if your requests are out of line, but otherwise, keep knocking on the door for that miracle until it happens! I’ll say it again: keep knocking on the door for that miracle!
So get to asking! Instigate a miracle!