The best advice came from the mother of Jesus

Published 9:23 am Friday, September 29, 2017

By Pastor Brandon Young
As I was completing my Master’s Degree in counseling from Western Carolina University, I was told a truth multiple times in class by many professors: In the counseling profession, you never give advice. The reason is the advice given may not be the best, and the counselor could be held liable by the client. They insisted a good counselor would reflect the feelings of the client, and help the client to see the pros and cons of each possible decision, but would never tell the client what to do. Advice given by humans is tricky because none of us can anticipate all the variables, and what may or may not happen. With all that being said, I have found one lady in the word of God gave the best advice possible, and honestly we can all give the same advice and never go wrong in doing so!
We hear this advice at a wedding feast, and Mary the mother of Jesus spoke it. Allow me to give you some background knowledge about weddings in Bible days. Because social standing was so important in the Jewish culture of this time, we assume this was a “peasant” wedding. Otherwise, Mary, being a peasant, would have never been invited. It’s interesting to note: Jesus’s ministry, like his birth, began in a small, unimportant town, to common folks. Weddings were, and are, a big deal in the Jewish culture. Certain protocol was to be followed. If the bride was a virgin, the wedding occurred on Wednesday. If the bride a widow, the wedding came on Thursday.
The wedding ceremony would take place late in the evening after a time of feasting. The father of the bride would take his daughter on his arm, and with the wedding party in tow, would parade through the streets of the village so everyone could come out and congratulate the bride. Finally, the wedding party would arrive at the home of the groom. The wedding actually took place in the front door of the groom’s house. It was no short ceremony…..the festivities lasted for days. It was a time of great celebration. We all know at every wedding something has to go wrong, and this particular wedding is no exception. The bridegroom ran out of wine, and this may not seem like much to us, but it was! This was definitely different than running out of mints or “pigs in a blanket” at a traditional wedding in American culture.
Why did they run out? Perhaps it was just one of those things where they didn’t plan well enough, or maybe someone was guzzling too much. More likely, the couple was so poor and they just didn’t have enough. Unfortunately, to run out of wine was considered a sign of disrespect. The couple could be ostracized from the community and according to Jewish law, could even be sued. Imagine starting off life together being the laughing stock of the community, shunned by everyone, embarrassed, broke, and facing a lawsuit. Mary was troubled over this couple’s lack. Wine was a symbol of God’s blessings, and they had just ran out of it. It is here in the couple’s fears, worry, anxiety, and trouble that we hear Mary give the best advice. John 2:5 says, “His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” This is the best advice ever given, and it always works! We must do what Jesus says to do. The only times in my life that I have found myself in a mess is when I do not do what the Master has said to do, or I do exactly what he says not to do!
Jesus told the stewards to fill the six stone jars of 20–30 gallons each with water. The Bible says they filled the vessels to the brim. They did exactly what Jesus had said, and if they had filled the jars half full, the miracle would not have happened. We must follow every direction the Lord gives. We’re told these jars are for the Jewish rites of purification. People would come to events, and ceremonially wash signifying a cleansing for God. Once you were ritually pure, you could get into the party. The servants took the wine to the governor of the feast, and he was surprised the best wine was saved for last. He had never tasted something so wonderful. Immediately he called for the bridegroom, and I am sure the groom was shaking from fear expecting the worst. He knew the wine was gone, and he expected to be shunned and sued for it. Can you imagine how fearful he must have been when the governor of the feast called him? The Master had already changed the narrative. Instead of being an outcast and laughing stock, the bridegroom was praised for the exquisite wine he provided to his wedding guests. I’m sure his frown was turned upside down because the servants had listened to the voice of the Master!
Obedience brings blessings. In the story, wine was important. Not because of the alcohol content, but because it was a symbol of blessing. The God who provides the abundance of the world, the abundance of the grapes that produce the wine is looking out over us, always. To run out of wine was a symbol they had run out of benediction of blessing for the guests. In that moment of lack and shame, Jesus provided more blessings by turning the water into wine! He does the same today. He can turn our moments of hopelessness, shamefulness, and brokenness into blessings through our obedience. We must do whatever he says! Yes, Mary did send us the best advice ever. Let’s give heed to it!
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton, and his associate, Hunter Greene.)

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