Today’s reading in Project 3:45 is John 2. (Click here to read it.)
This is a well-known story about a wedding where Jesus turns water into wine. The verse that grabbed my attention this morning was John 2:5, which says:
“His mother told the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.'”
Jesus’ mother, Mary, says these words to some servants at the wedding feast after she realizes the wine has run out. She asks Jesus to do something about it, and then, without waiting for him to agree to it, tells the servants that he’ll do it. (Sounds motherly to me! “Oh, yes, he’d LOVE to do that for you!”) The story goes on that he turns water, the most common of all substances in the world, into wine.
I found it really interesting that she said, “Do whatever he tells you,” and not just, “Believe whatever he tells you.” There’s a big difference between believing something and doing something, between believing in someone and following someone, between agreeing intellectually with something and completely re-orienting your life around it. It reminds me of a story I read in the book Almost Christian (which is a fantastic book that anyone who’s interested in the future of the church should read. Check it out here.)
The story goes like this. In 1860, famed tightrope walker Charles Blondin crossed Niagara Falls on a high wire. Prince Albert Edward, the nineteen year-old Prince of Wales, was there to watch. Before crossing the high wire, Blondin asked the prince, “Do you believe that I can carry a man across the falls on a tightrope.” The prince exclaimed, “I do!” Blondin then asked, “Will you be that man?” The prince declined, so Blondin carried Henry Colcord, his trembling manager, on his back instead.
A big problem people in our culture have with Christians is that our words and our actions often don’t mesh. For those who seek to follow the way of Jesus, believing is only one step, not the whole thing. Just like Mary asks the servants to, “Do whatever he tells you,” we are asked to do the same thing. Faith in Christ isn’t something that should only affect what we think or how we believe or what’s on our t-shirts or our bumper stickers, it should change how we live. It’s one thing to say we believe in Jesus, it’s another to jump on his back and go wherever he takes us.
And how cool is it that in this story, when the servants “do something,” Jesus meets them there and makes something extraordinary happen? How cool is it to think that Jesus can do miraculous things with even the most ordinary substances? How cool is it to think that Jesus could take even the most ordinary, common, run-of-the-mill people like me and do incredible things if I’ll only “do what he says?”
Today, how can I shift from being someone who “believes” in Jesus to being someone who does what he says? What would it look like for me to do whatever he tells me to do? What would change in my life if I turned my beliefs into actions? If I were willing to back up my words with my whole life?
God, may I be like the servants in this chapter, willing to do whatever Jesus tells me. May I be like Henry Colcord, willing to jump on Jesus’s back, even if I’m scared to death and trembling with fear, and go wherever he takes me.