Be where people are… but don’t get in their way!

John 2

As the Apostle John’s recount continues, we hear about Jesus’ first recorded miracle. The setting was a wedding in Galilee. Jesus was there with His mother and His disciples, spending time with the people He was close to. The host must not have planned very well because in the middle of the festivities they ran out of wine. This would’ve been a big problem according to the custom of the day and would’ve caused embarrassment for the host. Jesus’ mother was concerned about the host’s predicament, so she came to Jesus to see if He would help. Jesus cared enough about His mother and about the host of the wedding to step in and do something. Jesus instructed the servants to bring Him jars filled with water and then He miraculously turned the water into wine. John says that this was the first time Jesus displayed His glory, and the disciples believed in Him. (John 2:11)

The story of Jesus’ first recorded miracle teaches us something about our Savior besides the fact that He could do miracles. Jesus was doing life. He was spending time where the people were. There is no doubt that He spent time studying the Scriptures and praying, but He also spent time in the world where He could interact with people. When the ill-prepared host ran out of wine, Jesus was right where He needed to be to see a need and to fill it!

If Jesus is our example and He rubbed elbows with people, shouldn’t we be doing the same thing? Shouldn’t we also be where the people are so that we can be ready to see needs and fill them? For whatever reason, God has chosen to use us to show His love to people and to get the gospel message out to the world. Jesus’ life was part of His ministry, not separate from it. We can’t have an impact on the world if we’re not living in it!

After the wedding, Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem to observe the Passover. The Passover was an important observance for the Jewish people. It was a time when they remembered the miraculous deliverance God had provided them from Egyptian slavery many generations ago. (Exodus 12:12-14) During the Passover, people came from all over to offer their sacrifices and to worship God at the Temple in Jerusalem. But when Jesus arrived at the Temple complex, He was angered by what He found. Instead of people reverently preparing to enter the Temple and worship God, He saw a marketplace filled with the sounds of buying and selling. It was so crowded and noisy that it was making it difficult for people to worship.

Jesus’ righteous anger at the disregard for God’s holy temple caused Him to quickly disperse the crowds and to flip over the money changer’s tables and put an end to their shenanigans. He demanded that they stop turning His Father’s House into a marketplace.

“Get these things out of here! Stop turning My Father’s house into a marketplace!” – John 2:16 NLT

These people had decided to turn the Passover into something they could prophet from and to use God’s house as the place to do it. Their behavior turned many people away. People were coming to the holy place to worship God and what they encountered looked no different than the busy streets they had come from. The raucous was a distraction that got in the way of people who were seeking God.

What about today? Are people seeking God confronted with too much distracting noise? When people show up at our churches or tune into our social media feeds, do they see a group of people that have been changed by their Savior? Do they see something different that draws them in, or do they see the same kind of junk that they see everywhere else and decide not to bother? As followers of Christ, we are His ambassadors. We are representing Him to the world around us. Are we drawing people in or pushing them out?

So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. – 2 Corinthians 5:20 NLT

As the salt and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-15), we need to find the right balance of being in the world but not like the world. We need to be the salt that seasons and preserves while also being a light that shines brightly for Jesus.

impact the world

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