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From the editor: "Whatsoever he saith unto you" (Jn 2.5)

J Grant

The wedding feast had been as it ought to have been - a time of gladness (Jn 2.1-11). The Lord Jesus, His disciples and His mother were present, and the joy of the occasion was being shared by all. But increasing anxiety gripped the servants: the wine was running out. Doubtless there had been many ideas as to how this could be remedied, but Mary the mother of the Lord knew to whom she should turn. "They have no wine", she told Him and then conveyed to the anxious servants the answer - "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it".

Wine speaks of joy. How often does joy run out in serving the Lord - perhaps in a marriage, in the gatherings of the saints, or in our daily lives! We become unhappy, discontented believers, more concerned with what we perceive to be the failings of others rather than the beauties of Christ. The answer is found in the One who restores joy that has diminished. How can this be brought about? The instruction given to the servants, "Whatsoever he saith…do it", is the key. Let us turn again to the Word of God, to read it daily and seek to obey it, to put it into practice. Let us "do it" and we will find an increasing joy with greater "sparkle" and contentment. We will then be able to declare that He has kept "the good wine until now". What a statement! It was not the "good wine until the end", but rather, "…until now". Let us examine our hearts and see that the best days in our Christian lives are the present days. If this is not so, let us in prayerful consideration take up His Word and heed the call, knowing that we must live in accord with "Whatsover he saith". May the disconsolate and discontented heed the lesson!

It was a momentous day when 5,000 men who had seen the miracles "which he did on them that were diseased" gathered to hear him (Jn 6.1-14). The Lord tested Philip by asking, "Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat?". Philip failed (v.7) as did Andrew who said of a lad offering five barley loaves and two small fishes, "what are they among so many?" (vv.8-9).

But the Lord now reveals Himself as the One who uses resources that seem insufficient. As we look at the world today and see the millions around us, as we consider the great anti-God movements in society, we surely feel as did Andrew: "What are we among so many?". In western society it is felt that the gospel is in retreat. But remember again the question, "What are we…?". Despite the apparent paucity of resources the multitude was filled and the disciples were left with twelve baskets full, sufficient for each disciple to enjoy His bounty. Again they proved that "Whatsoever he saith", this time in taking the food to the hungry, must be done. He cared not only for the multitude but also for those who served Him. At times we may feel that our resources are inadequate, our numbers too small, and our presence too weak. However, if the joy of the Lord is in our hearts, if we continue to read His Word and "do it", He can still use few to touch many.

In John 21 we have seven disciples, tired and weary after a night of fishing, who had caught nothing. Through the dark hours they had laboured, yet, despite some of them being skilled fishermen, their nets were empty. It had been a tiring night handling unfilled nets. How many servants of God have felt the same fatigue: energy expended to no apparent result? But He had not abandoned them. The disciples did not recognise the figure standing on the shore as we also at times fail to recognise Him.

But He will show that He encourages servants who know failure. Our failure does not diminish His work nor does it indicate that He is powerless. But we hear the call again, "Whatsoever he saith"; "Cast the net on the right side", He calls and the catch was great. The lesson is that He, in His good time and at His bidding, will show that it is His work and it is He who controls it as He will. This is encouragement and let none forget it. May the call never leave us: "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it".


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