Getting the jars filled with water during Jesus’ first earthly miracle required some work (John 2). The jars weren’t small. They were stone jars used for ceremonial purposes. They each held twenty to thirty gallons of water. And there was not a simple faucet anywhere, it required trips to the water source – either by lugging the jugs (which would seem to be nearly impossible) or making many trips with smaller buckets. This was a project. Yes, indeed, the faithfulness of these behind the scenes servants allowed this miracle to take place and to be celebrated for centuries to come.
God has the power to do miracles, but in Scripture it almost always involves action on someone’s part. God is always partnering with us. Jesus uses people, gives instruction and includes us in the work. He sent Moses to be the leader and messenger. He sent Paul to Ananias. He asked who had food when 5000 were hungry. He invited others to believe, he told others to pray, and invited even others to participate in even their own miracles: “Do you want to see?”, “Get up and walk”, and “Lazarus, come forth. I believe there is still need for this today.
Jesus invites us into behind the scenes work everyday.
Christians have opportunities to be involved in behind the scenes miracle work everyday. Have ever sensed a need to contact someone, help someone, share something with someone? Probably one of the greatest behind the scenes miracle work is the ministry of the Christian church. Thriving, working and serving in more areas around the globe than any other single business or enterprise or other religion. How many miracles of faith have happened because the church was working with Jesus, doing “whatever he tells us to do” as with those servants in the first miracle?
The bigger question may be, how many miracles haven’t happened because no one was working behind the scenes. We don’t berate people for not jumping into ministry once they are believers. We don’t condemn people for attending church on Sundays but doing very little otherwise – it’s not for us to know where their hearts are. But I think it’s silly for the church to sit back and throw up their arms spouting out business formulas about 20% of the people doing 80% of the work. Leaders: Have you considered that your role may be inviting people in to serve? Why not pray for a church where 100% of the church is involved behind the scenes, serving, giving and paving the way for miracles to happen in the lives of people. If the church has lost some of the influence in our culture it may be because we’ve lost the will or have become too busy to serve Jesus in behind the scenes ministry.
Jesus Miracle Benefits Everyone
One of the greatest rewards in ministry is seeing the fruit. These behind the scenes workers did indeed experience it. Jesus said to those who had filled the jars, “draw some out and take it to the master.” They did, the master drank and was pleased, shocked and amazed that the choice wine had been saved for last! I love the fact that the servants took the drink to the master.
In fact, probably more than anyone at the wedding feast in Canaan, these behind the scenes water jug fillers may have had their faith shaped most of all! They knew it was just water they had put in those jugs. There was no doubt about it. They had experienced both the toil, the miracle and the reward.
They were able to go back and tell the story first hand. This was Jesus’ first miracle, and the Scripture says, “and his disciples believed in him.”
His disciples were following him, but now they believed in him. Did this team of behind the scenes workers realize what their part had done. Yes it was work. Yes, it did require some effort. No, we don’t know their names or their stories. But through their obedience and effort during this first miracle, Jesus disciples believed in him.
Jesus Does Miracles with Excellence (and we learn from it)
Those behind the scenes workers did their job with excellence, not even realizing what Jesus would do in the end! The scripture says, they filled the jugs to the brim.
When Jesus invites us into the work of a miracle – any ministry that he is calling us to – we must do so with excellence, enthusiasm and exuberance… filling the jugs to the brim!
Too often, we’re waiting for the high profile ministry opportunity, the one that doesn’t require lots of work and sacrifice. We serve with half a heart until we can do something we really love. But from the very start, Jesus invited people to be obedient to his instruction for the miracle to happen.
Whatever he calls you to do – do it. It’s a good mandate for today – for each believer. This is how miracles happen!