Guest Post from Terry Virgo: Jesus Is Not Your Genie
They weren’t there.
I remember looking out at these thousands of people and thinking, “Oh Lord, what do I do?” And I just very quietly and (outwardly) calmly got off the platform, walked outside… and ran as fast as I could to where I was staying, where all my stuff was. I grabbed the notes. I ran back. I took my seat, very quietly and (outwardly) calmly and slightly out of breath… just as I was introduced. No one was any the wiser. No one had any idea of the crisis that had just unfolded and had narrowly been averted. No one knew how close they came to being able to say, “I was there when Terry Virgo stood up to speak, and didn’t say anything”.
Similarly, most of the guests at the wedding at Cana had no idea how close they came to being able to say, “I was there at that wedding where the wine ran out”. A crisis was about to break. It hadn’t broken yet—there was a wedding party going on and everything looked fine, everybody was enjoying themselves, everyone was having fun—but under the surface there was a crisis. They were running out of wine, and this was a crisis. This would be the wedding that would always be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
I’ve had the privilege of going to Israel a couple of times, and I’ve been to Cana. It’s a bustling little town now, but in those days when Jesus visited it 2,000 years ago, it would have been a tiny village, and I guess most of the village would have been there at this wedding. But it was in danger of becoming the one that was remembered as “The one where the wine ran out!” Someone just whispered to Mary, the mother of Jesus, “We’re running out of wine”. On the surface everything was fine… but underneath there was a crisis.
Mary shares the secret with Jesus. But at this wedding a remarkable thing happens. Jesus does not say, OK Mum, I’ll run out and find a few bottles from somewhere else in the village. No. He says, “Pour water into those jars and take that liquid to the master of ceremonies at this wedding.”
Jesus helps by taking over. That’s what happens in this episode. The crisis is that they’re running out of wine. And he steps in and produces gallons of wine. Jesus helps by giving instructions, by taking over. He takes over and he gives instructions that are specific and unreasonable—they demand faith and obedience. That’s how he takes over—that’s how he’s going to solve this problem.
Because the servants do what Jesus says, they get to see something phenomenal. They get to experience something amazing. They get a glimpse of the kingdom of God, of the rule of Jesus. They get to see all that because they step out of their comfort zone; they let Jesus set the agenda and give the commands.
When you step out of what you expect to happen into what Jesus says is going to happen, you start to experience the abundance of life that Jesus promised and that this miraculous wine represents. After all, whereas most bridegrooms would provide the best wine first and then bring out the cheap bottles later, when the guests weren’t in a great position to appreciate the finer tones and tints of the wine, here the MC says, “You have saved the best till now”.
It’s a complete turnaround. The crisis of running out has become the joy of having something even better than they’d yet enjoyed. And all because Jesus takes over.
That’s the the message of my short, new book, Life Tastes Better. The surprising truth about Jesus is that when we let him take charge, we find that our biggest problems are sorted out and we are free from the pressure of relying on ourselves for everything. It’s this truth that liberates the lives of so many people who have come to find faith in Jesus.