When Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding in Cana (John 2), He was giving His disciples — and His Church to come — an illustrated sermon. Our Lord never did anything or spoke any word that wasn’t eternally significant. Everything that Scripture records about Him points to the unchanging nature and workings of God.
Jesus’ “hour” (John 2:4) had to do with something that was happening at the feast. That is, His hour of power came when there was no wine left in the bottles. This happens to us when we are empty of solutions, when all our human efforts are in vain — and only a miracle can solve our problem.
We find this principle at work throughout the Bible: In man’s darkest hour, the Lord has a history of manifesting His power. When we come to our wits’ end, God has already prepared a great work of deliverance on our behalf.
Scripture gives us examples of this principle. Judges 6 finds Israel in a period of awful impoverishment. Year after year, God’s people were rendered helpless by a marauding enemy: the vicious Midianites. When this enemy arrived, God’s people fled to the hills for safety, hiding in caves. Meanwhile their enemy stole their crops and herds and destroyed everything they’d built, leaving Israel completely “without sustenance” or in a spiritual death.
Israel’s impoverished condition continued year after year. Yet it was in this dark hour that God manifested His power on behalf of His people. Indeed, the Lord performed His deliverance by choosing the poorest man from the poorest family in the poorest tribe in Israel: Gideon. His cry reflected the pain of the people of Israel. “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles?” (Judges 6:13).
You are probably familiar with his story. God sent an angel to Gideon and along with three hundred other men, using only trumpets and torches, the men broke the power of the Midianites and Israel was miraculously delivered!
Their hour of darkness became God’s hour of power!
In John 2, Jesus and His disciples were invited to a marriage supper in Cana.
“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come’” (John 2:1-4).
Evidently, the Lord’s family received the invitation, too, because Jesus’ mother was there. Mary even came up to Him with a request: “The hosts have run out of wine.”
Jesus’ response to His mother seems a bit strange. He told her, “My hour is not yet come.”
What was this “hour” Jesus was referring to? He wasn’t talking about the moment of darkness He would face three years later, before His crucifixion. At that time Jesus did say, “My hour has come.”
But here at Cana He was speaking of a different hour. The fact is, Christ’s ministry was just beginning. This is what He was referring to when He told His mother His hour hadn’t yet come. Indeed, soon afterward He performed a miracle by miraculously turning six large pots of water into wine.
Let me ask you: Have you ever wondered why Jesus waited to do this miracle? He waited until every bottle was dry; every glass was empty — even as the worried host wrung his hands.
I tell you, Jesus purposely waited at that wedding for all human resources to fail. He waited until nothing could solve the problem short of a miracle. That was when God’s hour came.
Here is an important truth for every believer: The hour of Christ’s power is manifested at the very point of our helplessness.
“Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number . . .” (Acts 6:1, ESV).
Let me just set the tone, the background for this passage of Scripture. It was in the very early days of the Church, probably just weeks or, at most, a few months after Pentecost, and the Church had seen explosive growth. Three thousand people had been saved in one day! They began to meet in homes and not only Jews but Gentiles were being saved. Also Samaritans and Ethiopians were becoming believers, so various cultures came together, cultures that were not used to being together at all.
As a matter of fact, these new believers were very racially segregated and they did not like one another. They had persecuted one another, defamed one another, and now all of a sudden they found themselves flung together in the very same Body of Christ — saved, sanctified, filled with God’s Holy Spirit — working together. And it was going quite well.
It was so strange. At Pentecost not only did people hear others speaking in their own language but now they were seeing people not of their own race, of their own gender, of their own nationality, of their own backgrounds, worshiping together, serving together, loving one another. This kind of love, Jesus said, is “the kind of love that will make the world know that you are My disciples. And this is the kind of love that will cause people to believe in Me.”
When we are doing the thing that we are called to do — reaching out to the lost — and doing it with this kind of love, serving one another with this kind of need-meeting mentality, then the world is going to be drawn and attracted to Him.
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35, ESV).
Today I am still a broken little boy inside and God is still my Father. Everywhere I go, I look to Him to walk beside me, hold my hand, lead me. When I stumble and fall, He reaches down and picks me up. He dusts off my clothes, kisses the hurt, and then continues with me down the road.
When I do something right, I see Him smiling, clapping, showing His support. When I do something wrong, He scolds and disciplines. When I get tired and weary, He holds me up, beckoning me forward and encouraging me not to give up. When I’m frightened, He takes my hand. When I’m sad, He kisses my heart.
I look to Jesus for help and guidance in everything I do, and He has never failed me. He has always been there when I needed Him.
This loving relationship I have with my Father is one that began more than fifty years ago. It hasn’t always been easy. At times I’ve pulled away from Him, tried to go my own way, even rebelled, but He has always been there to receive me with His arms outstretched, waiting for me to turn back to Him. His faithfulness has never waned — He’s the perfect friend and Father. My faithfulness to Him, however, was a quality I had to learn, one that I’m still working on every day. It’s a lifelong process.
When I first gave my heart to Jesus, I had no idea where this newfound faith would take me. I was scared and alone, wondering how He would rescue me from the people and things of my past, the gangs and drugs that held me captive. I didn’t know how to be His child, but He showed me, mentored me along the way. But throughout those years I witnessed firsthand what can happen when we allow God’s Spirit to be loosed within and among us, when we tap into His glory and allow Him to work and move and minister through us.
Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.
For years, people were accustomed to hearing me preach repentance and holiness. But they began to question me when my messages started to focus more on mercy, reconciliation and hope. There is a simple explanation for this.
When I traveled as an evangelist, I didn’t have an opportunity to get to know the people I preached to. I was never in one place long enough to discover all the hurts, needs and burdens of God’s people. As a pastor at Times Square Church, I’ve heard firsthand of all the troubles and trials endured by those in the congregation, as well as in churches around the world.
Beloved, I have discovered that God’s people are hurting deeply. They are being tempted and tried and tossed about by great adversities and needs. The problems in families are overwhelming. Many sheep are groaning in misery and pain — hurting, thirsty, spiritually crippled, living from crisis to crisis.
God has made it clear that I cannot take a club to His sheep. Instead, tender mercy is needed. Even the fiery prophet Jeremiah cried, “O Lord, correct me, but with justice; not in Your anger, lest You bring me to nothing” (Jeremiah 10:24). Jeremiah was saying, “Lord, be tender with me, because I am in no condition to hear anger or wrath, or I’ll be reduced to nothing.”
God will never use His Word to reduce you to nothing when you are hurting. All He asks of His people is a repentant, broken spirit. He responds with mercy to our crying need.
Rest in His mercy and love, for He pities His children.