God’s Thoughts to Me
But His mother told the servants, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 5:2, NLT).
It is to divide between what is us in fallen nature, and what is Christ, and to get rid of the one to give full place to the other! (T Austin-Sparks).
Water, Wine and Merriment
I have a little 5 year old friend. We have been blessed to have Onwaba and her grannie staying with us the last few years.
Onwaba has a great sense of humor. When she does something funny, she is a funny bunny.
But when she is just plain stupid she calls herself a scabbanger. She is quite chaffed with herself for creating this big word.
Onwaba’s sense of humor is just a chip off our Lord’s dear heart. I can just see Him grinning as he looks down at the human race, all honorary members of the Scabbanger Club.
When Jesus and His disciples attended the wedding at Cana, He must have been a bit amused, as well as filled with compassion, for the predicament of the poor bridegroom.
To run out of wine at your wedding was a major faux pas that would cause them to be the latest scabbangers in town until someone else messed up worse than them.
We all know this parable where our Lord Jesus helped the poor groom out of his scabbangerish predicament. But He did much more than merely turning water into wine.
Our Lord never allowed an opportunity to pass without confronting and exposing the uselessness of the Jewish religion; actually, any religion for that matter. It only has the ability to bind us in chains.
He did so in this parable by using the empty clay pots that were used for the ceremonial, legalistic cleansing, instead of the empty wine jars.
After the servants filled the pots to the brim with water, the master of ceremonies gave some to the groom. They were all amazed at the superb quality of this “bubbly” wine and that, only being served near the end of the wedding feast.
The new wine symbolizes the new covenant wine of Jesus’ own life; ever active, dynamic, full of joy and spiritual blessings, replacing the old dirty water of the purification vats of the law.
Jesus’ command to the servants to fill the jars to the brim, shows us the abundance of His provision. There is no short supply in heaven. Unlike the water of religious cleansing, the new wine of His life never runs dry. As we allow Him to restore sight to our spiritual eyes, we become aware of the empty futility of filling the jars of our hearts with religious water of self-effort to clean our consciences and to find favor with our Pappa.
This new delicious wine is only served in abundance when we come to Him and learn how to abide in Him. It is way above and superior to the wine which we drank before.
Some modern-day Pharisees, in defense of abstinence, try to explain this new wine to be diluted grape juice, while others are calling Him a drunkard and a glutton, finding fault with His social life! Preposterous!! Mary told the servants at the wedding to do just as Jesus told them to do. They had the common sense to do just that. Something I used to be in short supply of.
I have been a scabbanger without an iota of common sense for a time. I labored so hard, trying to wash my dirty feet, hands and face with my own brand of religious soap and water.
Yet, with such patience and wisdom our Pappa allowed me to be refined in the refiner’s fire of suffering. He didn’t burn away only the stuff He considered bad and left and refined the good. Not at all!
Paul informs us that there is none who is truly good; not even one who seeks the Lord (Romans 3). If it was not for His prevenient grace, none of us will ever be able to even think one right and true thought about our Pappa. Only He and He alone is good.
He burned away everything pertaining to my scabbangerish self and replaced it with only Him and His new Life. This didn’t happen without a lot of complaining from my side.
But, He enabled me to realize that giving Him free reigns of my life, was the greatest gift of love I could give myself. He dared me to be brave enough to truly love myself by allowing Him to burn away all the dross of the flesh.
I am immensely grateful that He opened my mind and understanding to the uselessness of the legalistic purification methods of washing with religious soap and water. He gently showed me another way … a better way. Oh, the joy when I was able to hear, listen and heed His still small voice asking my hand in marriage … asking permission to fill my heart with the new bubbly wine of Himself.
Much love XX