On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (ESV)
This was the setting of Jesus’ first ever miracle. But our focus is not so much on the later miracle of water into wine, but on the prelude to it: namely the faith of Mary and what it might teach us about faithful prayer.
First, we can note that Mary comes to Jesus not in a normal mother/son relationship. While Jesus is not discourteous in replying as he does, he is certainly aware that as Messiah he must see his mother differently. Second, we can note that Jesus has his heart already set on things other than a shortage of wine at weddings. One day his divine power will be seen in all its glory…in his death and resurrection. Till then, people only see hints of it. Having said all that, we know from the story that Jesus does produce more wine. His awareness of his ultimate miraculous act won’t prevent him performing preliminary miraculous acts.
But back to Mary. Look how she goes straight to Jesus when there is a problem. No mucking around: go straight to the top, to the one who can fix the seemingly unfixable. A reminder for us to bring our concerns to Jesus. Dallying around worrying or confiding in others or reading self help books…none is a substitute for going directly to Jesus.
Then look how her request is phrased: no long speeches, no worry filled explanations. Just a statement of a need, telling Jesus what is lacking with no attempt to dictate to him how he responds. Having done that, she simply tells the servants that it is all in Jesus’ hands now. She can leave it in his hands and assume it is in good hands. The lack of wine is no longer her concern: she has delegated her anxieties!
All in all, a great model of prayer. Simple, direct, confident. All prayer needs to be a relief from a burden not a burden in itself. All prayer is a leaving of people or circumstances in God’s hands, not clutching them fearfully in our own hands. That was Mary’s sort of prayer. And it produced lots of good wine!
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