Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as written by the apostle John. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the second chapter of this New Testament book. “And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: and both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two of three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, and saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him” (John 2:1-11).
“After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days. And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: and when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” (John 2:12-17).
“Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:18-25).
When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the gospel narrative written by the apostle John transitioning from the opening chapter where the emphasis was placed on the divine nature and person of Christ to the beginning of the actions of Christ. It’s actually quite interesting when you take the time to read the words which are presented in the opening two chapters of this gospel narrative written by the apostle John, for the entire first chapter is spent focusing on the identity of the person of Jesus the Christ as the Word which was made flesh and dwelt among us. It is worth noting and making reference of this particular truth and reality when coming to the second chapter of this gospel as I would dare say you cannot truly understand the actions of Christ without and apart from understanding who Christ is. In all reality I would dare say the opening chapter of this gospel is a powerful presentation to the reader and audience of who this Jesus of Nazareth truly was. The apostle John would begin and open this gospel with a powerful declaration that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and then devotes the rest of the chapter to further building upon that truth. What’s more, is that in addition to that which the apostle John would write concerning Jesus of Nazareth he would also highlight the testimony and witness concerning Christ which was presented by John the Baptist. We dare. Not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth, for it draws and calls our attention to the fact that when the Father sought to introduce His Son to the world during those days He would first raise up a powerful and prophetic witness that would proclaim the Son unto all those who were present in the land of Judaea.
BEHOLD THE SON! The more I think about and consider this particular reality the more I find myself coming face to face with the tremendous truth that before Jesus would emerge on to the scene as the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God there would be a wonderful witness present in the earth—a witness that would prepare and make ready a people for His arrival and appearance. This is something we must needs recognize and understand if we wish to understand the four gospel narratives written concerning Jesus, for when the Father sought to prepare the world for the arrival and appearance of His Son He would send and raise up a prophetic voice of one crying in the wilderness. The life and ministry of John the Baptist is actually quite astonishing when you take the time to consider it, for he was divinely raised up, ordained and appointed by the living God to go before the face of the Messiah and prepare the way for Him. Much like the twelve apostles would go before the face of the Messiah into the cities and towns of Israel, and much like the seventy whom Jesus ordained and appointed would go into the cities, towns and villages before the face of the Messiah to prepare them for His arrival, so also would John the Baptist be the first witness which would prepare the way and make ready a people for the coming and arrival of the Messiah. Oh how absolutely incredible it is that when you read the gospel narratives written concerning the life and ministry of Jesus there are essentially three different and distinct witnesses introduced into the earth as certain individuals would be sent into the cities, towns and villages before the face of Christ to prepare and make ready a people for His arrival and appearance.
I sit here today thinking about and considering this particular truth and I can’t help but be utterly fascinated with and by it as the eternal and only begotten Son wasn’t merely sent into the world without a witness and testimony surrounding and concerning Him. The Father could have sent the eternal and only begotten Son into the world without and apart from the witness which would go before His face and prepare the way for Him, however, the truth of the matter is that the Father raised up a powerful prophetic witness that would prepare the hearts and minds of men and women through repentance unto the remission of sins, as well as through water baptism. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth as it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely incredible truth that the Father took a great deal of time to prepare and make ready men and women for the arrival and appearance of His Son. It’s almost as if the Father wanted to introduce Jesus through John the Baptist, through His twelve disciples, and even through the seventy whom Jesus ordained and appointed and sent before His face. It is absolutely incredible to think about and consider the fact that there were certain individuals who were raised up in the midst of the land during those days to go before the face of the Messiah and to prepare the way for His coming, His arrival and His appearance. It’s almost as if the Father sought to introduce the expectation and anticipation that there was one who was preparing to come and one who was about to be manifested in the earth. It’s as if the Father sought to build and foster this sense of expectation and anticipation within the hearts and souls of men and women as these witnesses would preach and proclaim the truth concerning this Messiah who was to come unto and among them. Oh it is with this in mind I would like to invite you to consider the language of the witnesses before we delve into the words which are found in the second chapter of this gospel narrative written by the apostle John:
“And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease…These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city” (Matthew 10:1-15).
“After these things the LORD appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you agtain. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city” (Luke 10:1-12).
“Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? HE answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people” (Luke 3:1-18).
AND AS THE PEOPLE WERE IN EXPECTATION! ALL MEN MUSED IN THEIR HEARTS OF JOHN, WHETHER HE WERE THE CHRIST! These words are absolutely remarkable and astounding when you take the time to think about and consider them, for during the days when John the Baptist moved freely within and about the region of Judaea around the Jordan there was a certain expectation within the hearts and souls of the people. This expectation—and I would also even dare say this curiosity—was rooted and grounded in whether or not this man was indeed the Christ who was prophesied of and spoken by the prophets. Those who came to the baptism of John would hear and listen to his words and would be baptized of him in the waters of the Jordan River, and as a direct result of their experience with John the Baptist they would wonder within their hearts whether or not John was indeed the Messiah and the Christ which was to come. What we find in Scripture, however, is John the Baptist emphatically declaring unto those who mused within their hearts concerning his identity that he was the voice of one crying in the wilderness. John the Baptist would indeed and would in fact proclaim unto those who came unto his baptism that he was not the Christ, and that there was one mightier than he who would come and baptize—not with water as he did, but with fire and the Holy Ghost.
Oh we must needs recognize and pay close attention to this particular truth as it forces us to acknowledge the tremendous anticipation and expectation surrounding the person of John the Baptist and the divine mission and assignment that was given unto him. John the Baptist was not only raised up to baptize men and women unto repentance for the remission of sins, but he was also raised up to preach and proclaim the Messiah and the Christ which was to come in the earth. John the Baptist was ordained and appointed by the eternal and living God to go before the face of the Messiah and Christ that men and women might know that there was coming one who would indeed and would in fact be the Messiah. If you take the time to read the four gospel narratives you will find that there were three powerful witnesses which were raised up during those days and sent into the land to bear witness and testimony concerning Christ. There was of course the initial witness of John the Baptist who would set the expectation and build up the anticipation concerning the Messiah who was to come. Although no man at that time knew who the Messiah was, and although at that particular time John himself did not know who the Messiah was, he knew that the Father had given him a sign concerning the Messiah which was to come. John the Baptist had been given a specific sign from the Father concerning the Christ and the Messiah, and that sign focused on the one upon whom He saw the Holy Ghost descending from heaven and resting upon Him. It would be that one whom the Holy Ghost descended from heaven and rested upon who would be the Messiah and the Christ which was to come.
What makes this truly unique and astonishing when you think about it is that there were essentially two sides to the witness of John the Baptist. On the one hand you find the witness before the baptism which would take place at the Jordan River when the heavens were opened before and unto Jesus, when the Holy Ghost would descend in bodily form of a dove upon Jesus, and when the voice of the Father would speak from heaven and declare that this was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. On the other hand, however, there would be the witness after the baptism—the witness which would take place after John the Baptist would behold the heavens opened unto Jesus of Nazareth, after he would witness and behold the Spirit descending in bodily form of a dove and resting upon Jesus, and after he would hear the voice of the Father speaking from heaven and declaring this to be His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. This is what is so incredibly unique and powerful about the words which are found in the first and third chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John, for what we find within these chapters is a truly awesome and powerful picture of the revelation John the Baptist would have concerning Christ after he would know and understand that it was this Jesus of Nazareth who was indeed the Messiah and the Christ. In all reality this is what we must needs recognize and understand when reading the first chapter of this gospel, for within this opening chapter we find the powerful witness concerning the Lord Jesus which would be proclaimed and professed by John the Baptist. John the Baptist would see and behold the heavens opened, and would see the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus in the bodily form of a dove, and would hear the voice of the Father speaking from heaven, and he would see the fulfillment of that which the Father had spoken unto Him concerning the Messiah and the Christ. I would dare say from that moment on the message and language of John the Baptist would drastically and dramatically change as he would speak of the Messiah and Christ in an entirely different way. Consider if you will the words which are found in the first and third chapters of this New Testament gospel narrative:
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light” (John 1:6-8).
“John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:15-18).
“And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? That we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizes thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose” (John 1:19-28).
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before m: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:29-34).
“Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:35-36).
“After these things came Jesus and His disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. For John was not yet cast into prison. Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:22-36).
It is absolutely necessary that we pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture, for what we find here is an incredibly powerful witness concerning Jesus Christ—a witness which was raised up in the earth by the eternal Father. In all reality, if I had to speak about that which is present in the first and opening chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John it would be the witness and the Word. You cannot read the first and opening chapter of this gospel narrative and not encounter and come face to face with the absolutely incredible truth surrounding the manifestation of the Word which was made flesh and dwelt among us. It is impossible to read the words found in the first chapter of this gospel narrative and not be brought face to face with the tremendous manifestation of the Word in the midst of the earth as well as the presence of the witness. THE MANIFESTATION OF THE WORD AND THE TESTIMONY OF THE WITNESS! That which we find in the first chapter of this gospel narrative is essentially a wonderful and powerful introduction to this man who came from Nazareth named JESUS. The apostle John would begin and open his gospel narrative with a powerful and wonderful declaration concerning this JESUS of Nazareth and concerning the divine and eternal nature of this JESUS who would become the Word which was made flesh and dwell among us. This Word was in the beginning, and this Word was in the beginning with God, and this Word was God in the beginning. It would be through this Word being manifested unto and among us that we would see and behold the glory of the eternal God and Father of the Son in the flesh, as those who saw and beheld JESUS would see and behold the Father. In addition to this, we also find the wonderful truth surrounding the witness which was sent to bare record and bear testimony concerning this one who would emerge as the Messiah and the Christ.
I am convinced we must needs recognize and understand that which is found in the first chapter of this gospel narrative, for we cannot begin to enter into the second chapter without first understanding the testimony of the witness and the manifestation of the Word. Both the manifestation of the Word and the testimony of the witness were meant to introduce and bring us face to face with this Messiah and this Christ who would indeed and would in fact emerge within the earth as the eternal and only begotten Son of the Father. In order to understand that which is present in the second chapter—and not only the second chapter, but also the subsequent chapters of this gospel—it is necessary to recognize the divine and eternal nature of the Word. The first and opening chapter of this gospel was meant to introduce us to the person of this Jesus of Nazareth who would emerge on to the scene and would be manifested in the earth. Oh how absolutely wonderful it is to read the words which are found in this portion of Scripture and understand the presence of the witness and the Word, for when we come to the second chapter we experience a transition from the witness and the Word to the works. THE WITNESS, THE WORD, AND THE WORKS! We must needs recognize and acknowledge that which is found in the first and opening chapter of this gospel, for when we understand the manifestation of the Word we have a great foundation for the demonstration of works in the midst of the earth. THE MANIFESATION OF THE WORD & THE DEMONSTRATION OF THE WORKS!
I sit here today thinking about and considering what is found in the second chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John and I can’t help but come face to face with the beginning of the manifestation of the works of Christ in the midst of the earth. If the first and opening chapter was meant to bring us face to face with the manifestation of the Word which was made flesh then the second chapter was meant to introduce us to the works of Christ which He would engage in within the earth. In fact—and at the risk of getting ahead of myself—it is in the eleventh verse of the second chapter we find the apostle John writing how “this beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him” (John 2:11). THIS BEGINNING OF MIRACLES! MANIFESTED FORTH HIS GLORY! In the first and opening chapter of this gospel narrative we find the manifestation of the Word which was present within the earth, while in the second chapter we begin to see the demonstration of the works which would be produced and wrought by the Word. It is in the second chapter of this gospel narrative we are brought face to face with the beginning of that which Jesus began to do in the earth—a reality which is in direct alignment with that which is found in the opening verses of the first chapter of the gospel written by the beloved physician Luke. It is in the first four verses of the opening chapter of this gospel we find the following words written by this physician concerning those days: “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightiest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed” (Luke 1:1-4). Consider also the words which are found in the first chapter of the New Testament book of Acts which was the second treatise written by the beloved physician Luke:
“The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, OF ALL THAT JESUS BEGAN BOTH TO DO AND TEACH, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, it is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
OF ALL THAT JESUS BEGAN BOTH TO DO AND TEACH! It is necessary that we recognize this language which was used by the beloved physician Luke at the beginning of the book of Acts, for he chose to begin this book which was in all reality written to speak of the works which the spiritual body of Christ—the Church—would engage in the earth by speaking of that which Jesus began to do and to teach. We must needs understand this, for at the very core and foundation of that which we do, and at the very heart and foundation of what we say is that which the Lord Jesus taught and did while in the flesh. In order for us to understand that which we have been called to do we must first recognize and understand that which the Lord Jesus was indeed sent by the Father to do and to accomplish in the midst of the earth. The eternal and only begotten Son of the Father was sent into the earth as the Word which was made flesh and dwelt among us, and it was in that process of dwelling with us that we find Him engaging in wonderful and powerful works within the earth. That which we find in the second chapter of this gospel narrative written by the apostle John presents us with the beginning of the miracles which Jesus began to do in the earth—something that is actually quite astounding when you take the time to think about it. Here in this particular chapter we find the first and/or the beginning of the miracles which Jesus would do within the earth to show forth His glory, and it would not be what you would expect. What’s more, is that not only would this miracle not be what you would expect, but it would also take place in a location you wouldn’t expect. This first of the miracles performed and wrought by Jesus would take place in Cana of Galilee, and would take place at a wedding Jesus, His mother, and His disciples were invited to.
MIRACLES IN THE PLACE OF COVENANT! MIRACLES IN THE PLACE OF INTIMACY! MIRACLES IN THE PLACE OF RELATIONSHIP! MIRACLES IN THE PLACE OF FELLOWSHIP! As you begin reading the words found in this second chapter you will find that on the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and that the mother of Jesus was there. Not only was the mother of Jesus there, but the apostle John also writes how both Jesus was called, and the disciples, to the marriage. INVITING JESUS TO THE MARRIAGE! INVITING JESUS TO THE WEDDING! INVITING JESUS TO THE CELEBRATION! INVITING JESUS TO THE PLACE OF COVENANT! INVITING JESUS INTO THE PLACE OF INTIMACY! While there might not be many who would choose to focus on this particular truth, I find myself coming face to face with something that might not be altogether preached and taught from this particular passage. We know within Scripture that there is going to be what is referred to as “The Marriage Supper of the Lamb” which will take place in the Father’s house and in the Father’s kingdom, and we know there were certain parables which Jesus taught which highlighted and underscored this invitation that would be given to come unto the marriage and to the wedding. From the parable of the five wise virgins and the five foolish virgins, to the parable of the wedding invitation being given we find in Scripture an incredibly powerful truth concerning the kingdom of heaven being likened unto a marriage and a wedding which men and women would be invited to that they may take part in the celebration and covenant.
When I read the words which are found in this portion of Scripture I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the truly awesome and incredible truth surrounding Jesus being invited into the place of covenant and intimacy. What’s more, is that not only was Jesus invited into the place of covenant and intimacy, but so also were the disciples of Jesus invited into the place of covenant and intimacy. I can’t help but read the words which are presented before us in this passage of Scripture and encounter the truth that here we find Jesus being invited into the place of ceremony, into the place of covenant, and into the place of celebration as perhaps the bride and the bridegroom sought to invite Him into this sacred and holy occasion. Pause for a moment and think about what it would have been like for Jesus to be called unto this marriage—for Jesus to be invited into the place of covenant, ceremony and celebration. What’s more, is consider the fact that Jesus actually accepted the invitation and responded when He was called. Scripture makes it very clear that Jesus was invited unto the marriage and into the place of covenant and ceremony, and that Jesus actually responded to that invitation. In this passage of Scripture we find Jesus, we find the disciples of Jesus, and we find the mother of Jesus being present at this marriage and wedding having responded when they were called. Oh there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if Jesus and His disciples knew this particular couple, or if as was customary during those days most weddings were celebrated by the entire city, town or village. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the four gospel narratives it’s that weddings and marriages weren’t merely small and isolated events, for they would typically involve and include many within the cities, towns and villages where the wedding would take place. It just so happened that this was a wedding which would take place in Cana of Galilee—a wedding which Jesus and His disciples would be called and invited to.
I sit here today thinking about the words found here and I can’t help but see a powerful prophetic word found in this passage—one that is so absolutely critical and necessary within our generation. I read the words found in this portion of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth that Jesus was invited into the place of covenant and ceremony—and not only was He invited and called, but He also responded. JESUS RESPONDS WHEN HE IS CALLED! JESUS RESPONDS WHEN HE IS INVITED! The words which we find here in this passage of Scripture clearly indicate that not only was Jesus called unto the wedding, but Jesus also responded to the invitation. Jesus could have made up some excuse as to why He couldn’t come unto the wedding, and He could have politely declined the invitation given unto Him to come unto the wedding. Jesus could have spoken unto and told His disciples that there was too much that needed to be done and that they were prohibited and prevented from coming unto the wedding. Jesus could have spoken unto His disciples and declared unto them that they simply did not have the time to stop what they were doing and attend this wedding and marriage. In fact, there is a parable which Jesus would later speak concerning those who were invited to a wedding and marriage, and how they would each come up with their own excuses and reasons why they could not come to the wedding. There would be within Scripture parables Jesus would teach and speak concerning marriage and the invitation to come unto the wedding, and in one of those parables Jesus would actually highlight and underscore those who were called unto the wedding and yet began to make their own excuses why they could not come to the wedding.
If there is one thing I absolutely love about this particular portion of Scripture it’s that not only was Jesus called unto this marriage, but Jesus actually responded to the call. Jesus was invited to this marriage and to this wedding, and we aren’t sure if Jesus and His mother knew this couple, or if this was simply the customary call given unto the town or village when a marriage was taking place. Regardless of whether or not Jesus knew this couple we know and understand that Jesus was called to this wedding and marriage, and that Jesus chose to attend the wedding and marriage. Please do not miss and lose sight of this, for there is something truly powerful that is at work here. One of the greatest truths we see within this passage is Jesus being invited into the place of intimacy, being invited into the place of covenant, being invited into the place of relationship, and being invited into the place of fellowship. There is something to be said about Jesus being invited and brought into this place of covenant and ceremony, for it would be as a direct result of Jesus being invited into this place that the first of His miracles would indeed take place. We have a great need to understand and see this, for it presents us with a truly powerful invitation within our own marriages and within the covenant relationships we have within our lives. Oh there is something truly spectacular and supernatural that takes place when we invite Jesus into the place of covenant within our lives. Jesus was invited and called unto this marriage and into the place of covenant, and those who invited and called Him had absolutely no clue what would or could take place there at the marriage and wedding. Jesus and His disciples were called unto the wedding, and yet I would dare say that no one could have anticipated the wine running out—and not only the wine running out, but also Jesus beginning the first of His miracles by turning water into wine.
WHEN THE WINE RUNS OUT! In all reality, I read the words which are found in this passage and I can’t help but see the wine at the wedding—not only as a symbol and emblem of covenant and celebration, but also as the marriage and wedding itself. How many times have you spoken with husbands and wives and they have informed you that the love which they once had has run out? How many times have you spoken with husbands and wives and they have told you that the communication they once had has run out? What about those who have said that the trust which they once had has run out? Or what about those who have told you that the intimacy they once had has run out? If there is one thing this passage demonstrates and reveals unto us it’s that it is possible for certain things within marriages to run out and to dry up—and if not to run out and dry up, to at least have the appearance of doing so. Jesus was invited into this place of covenant and into this place of celebration, and it would be in that place where the wine would run out. Perhaps the single greatest question I must ask you when you read this writing is what does the wine represent within your own life. What does the wine represent within your own life? What does the wine represent within your own relationships? What does the wine represent within your own marriage? What does the wine represent when you read the words found in this particular passage? Not only this, but when did you first notice the wine had run out? When did you notice there was no more wine, and how did you respond and react when you realized that truth? At what point did you begin noticing that the wine was beginning to run out, and at what point did you begin to notice that the wine was in danger of running out?
WHEN DID IT RUN OUT? I am sitting here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this portion of Scripture and I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with the language contained therein. I am absolutely convinced that what we find here within this passage of Scripture is not only a powerful picture of Jesus being invited into the place of covenant, but also wine running out in the place of covenant. What’s more, is that Jesus was invited and called into the place of covenant and celebration, and it was in that place of celebration the wine ran out. I have already asked the question of what the wine represents within your own marriage and within your own place of covenant, and I believe there is a second question which is equally as important and must be asked. The second question is that of when the wine actually ran out. If you are one who is and has been in the place of covenant relationship and you are aware of the fact that the wine has run out—when did you notice the wine ran out? Did you even notice that it was beginning to run low, or did you notice once it had actually run out? Oh I am absolutely convinced there are men and women in marriages who aren’t aware of the diminishing and dwindling of the wine within their relationship and marriage, and it isn’t until the wine runs out that they are forced with an unprecedented decision to make. What do you do when the wine runs out? Moreover, what do you do when you begin to notice the wine is running out? How do you respond when you notice the wine of love is beginning to run out within your marriage? How do you respond when you notice the wine of trust is beginning to run out? How do you respond when you’re in a marriage and you begin to notice those things which once seemed to flow so freely are actually running out—if not have already run out altogether?
I am absolutely convinced when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture that this is a powerful prophetic picture of countless marriages—those symbols and emblems of covenant and intimacy—and how even in the place of covenant and intimacy the wine can run out. Oh we might very well do anything and everything we can to ensure that there is enough wine to last the whole time, however, there are times when the wine does in fact run out and we are perhaps left wondering how it could happen. What’s more, is that we might not only ask how it could happen, but how we could let it happen. Perhaps you are in such a place and position right now and you find yourself without wine—and not only without wine, but also wanting wine. The Scripture clearly states that both Jesus and His disciples were called to the marriage and how they wanted wine, thus indicating that the wine had in fact run out. Oh there is something worth thinking about when reading this passage of Scripture, for I can’t help but wonder what those who realized the wine had run out thought when they noticed it. Did they even notice it as the wine began to dwindle and diminish, or did they only notice it once the wine itself had run out? Scripture is entirely and altogether unclear when those who were at the wedding realized and recognized that the wine had run out, however, we do know and understand from this passage that there came a moment when they realized there was no more wine. Oh I can’t help but wonder what it was like when they realized there was no more wine and if they scrambled trying to figure out what to do. The only thing Scripture indicates within this passage is that they wanted wine and that the mother of Jesus spoke unto Jesus and declare that they had no wine.
There is truly something prophetic and symbolic within this passage and portion of Scripture, for within it we find a powerful picture of those places of covenant finding themselves lacking and wanting wine. Of course we know and understand from this passage of Scripture that it was literal wine which they ran out of at the marriage, however, we must needs understand that there is something greater and something deeper at work here in this particular passage. There is something found within this passage which we must needs acknowledge and understand, for it not only speaks directly unto marriage, but it also speaks into relationships with others, as well as our relationship with the living and eternal God. Within this passage of Scripture we not only learn that the wine had run out, but also that at some point they realized and understood that there was no more wine. At some point there were those present who recognized and understood that there was no more wine and there was perhaps a powerful and palpable concern when this was actually realized. It is absolutely necessary and imperative we understand this, for I know beyond a shadow of a doubt there are marriages right now where the wine has run out. I. know there are marriages right now where if the wine hasn’t yet run out it is on the verge of running out. There are marriages right now where the wine has been slowing running out and slowly dwindling—perhaps unawares and unbeknownst to the husband and wife, or perhaps they are very much aware of it. Perhaps the single greatest question we must needs ask ourselves is what do we do when we realize the wine is running out? Do we address the wine running out before it dries up completely, or do we wait until it has completely run out? This question is absolutely necessary as it points to and reveals the fact that there are those who not only wait until the wine has run out to even address the situation, but they also—at that time—mark and consider all as being lost and essentially over.
EVEN WHEN THE WINE RUNS OUT IT’S NOT OVER! The more I read the words found in this portion of Scripture the more I can see a powerful picture of men and women who experience that moment within their lives when the wine runs out. [As a side note: It’s incredibly interesting that when Jesus provided the parable of the marriage and the ten virgins who were called unto it there were those virgins who not only experienced their lamps going out, but also the absence of oil. Perhaps one of the greatest truths surrounding this parable is not only the lamps going out, but also the absence of oil. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering that the beginning of Jesus’ miracles took place at a marriage when the wine ran out, and He would later speak forth a parable of lamps going out and the absence of oil. There is a great need within our hearts and lives to pay close attention to this, for we must not only be aware of the presence and supply of wine within our lives, but we must also be aware of our the condition of our lamps and the supply of oil. When we speak about marriage and when we speak about covenant we must needs recognize and understand that there is not only a great need for a supply of oil, but there is also a great need for a supply of wine. In the second chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find the supply of wine running out, and in the parable of the ten virgins we find the supply of oil running out. What’s more, is that not only do we find the supply of oil running out, but we also find the lack of oil to begin with. That which made the foolish virgins foolish was not that their lamps went out per se, but that they were not prepare with a supply of oil ready to ignite their lamps once more.]
As I consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture I am brought face to face with the fact that Jesus was called unto this marriage, and even though Jesus was called unto the marriage the wine had run out. I can’t help but wonder if there is something that can be said about those times when even though Jesus is invited and called into the place of covenant the wine can indeed and can in fact run out. There is a part of me that can’t help but think about and consider the fact that even though Jesus might be called into the place of covenant, and even though Jesus might be present in the place of covenant it might still be possible for the wine to run out—or at the very least run low and be on the verge of running out. That which we find in this passage of Scripture is not merely the wine running low, but the wine actually running out. How incredibly interesting it is to think about and consider the fact that although the wine would run out here in the place of covenant and celebration, Jesus was still present among them. It is one thing for the wine to run out and Jesus not being present in the midst, but there is something else about the wine running out and Jesus being present. This leads me to the wonderful truth that so long as Jesus is called and so long as Jesus is present there is always something He can do. We must needs recognize and understand that so long as Jesus is present in our midst there is always something He can do and there is nothing that He can’t do. It is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and understand this as it calls and draws our attention to the fact that when Jesus is present among us in our midst He is able and capable of doing absolutely anything that is needed. Jesus was present at this marriage and it would be His presence that would enable Him to be able to perform the first of His miracles in their midst.
THE PERSONAL SIDE OF MIRACLES! THE HIDDEN MANIFESTATION OF MIRACLES! What so amazes me about this portion of Scripture is that Jesus didn’t perform this miracle openly. Jesus didn’t call for every guests’ glass to be filled with water and then instruct each to drink from those glass and taste the water turned with wine. We must recognize that Jesus could have very easily performed this miracle openly in the sight of all those present as He could have instructed the attendants and servants to fill each guests’ glass with water. The apostle John wrote concerning this occasion and how it was the beginning of the miracles Jesus would perform in the earth and how He would show forth his glory. It’s actually quite interesting to think about the fact that this miracle which was performed and this showing forth of the glory of Jesus would not be done in the open and publicly, but would be done privately and in the secret place. The only ones who knew that the water had been turned into wine were the servants who filled the earthen vessels with water and then drew out of those vessels and brought unto the master of ceremony. How absolutely incredible it is to think about the fact that Jesus would begin His miracles in the place of covenant and ceremony and Jesus would begin to show forth His glory and yet it would be done in secret and in a private place. I am convinced there is something to be said about Jesus here in this passage of Scripture as He could have performed this miracle out in the open in the sight of all those who were present at the wedding and yet he chose to do it in secret away from the eyes of the guests who were called unto the wedding. Jesus could have performed this miracle in an entirely different manner and fashion, and yet He deliberately and intentionally chose to do it behind the scenes and in the secret place.
As I read the words found in this passage of Scripture I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the awesome and powerful reality that there is within this passage a prophetic picture of wine running out in the place of covenant and intimacy. It is important for us to understand that this can indeed refer to marriage itself, however, I am convinced that it can refer to other arenas as well. I am convinced that this truth surrounding wine running out can indeed refer to our relationships in general as the wine which once flowed within those relationships ran out and dried up. There is not a doubt in my mind that this reality of the wine running out can indeed be manifested in relationships and friendships between brothers and sisters as well as within the context of marriage. I am absolutely convinced this particular concept of wine running out can also be manifested in the context of the church and body of Christ as men and women might not necessarily run out of physical wine, however, they do in fact run out of wine in an entirely different sense. There is not a doubt in my mind there are churches and congregations which have witnessed and experienced the wine of worship running out as when it once flowed freely among them in their midst it has ceased flowing. There are and there have been congregations when the wine of prayer and intercession have ceased flowing in the place when they once flowed freely and abundantly. Moreover, there are churches and congregations where the wine of fellowship which once flowed freely among them had in fact run out and is no longer present in their midst. Oh I would even dare say it is possible for faith which once flowed freely and abundantly in many churches and congregations has indeed and in fact run out and men and women are left wanting in those particular places.
WHEN THE WINE RUNS OUT AND YOU ARE LEFT IN A PLACE OF WANTING! I am absolutely convinced when reading this passage of Scripture that more often than not when the wine runs out there are one of two responses. Either the wine runs out and we are found to be in a place of wanting and desire, or the wine runs out and we are found to be in a place of relative ease, comfort and complacency. I am convinced that there are really only two responses when the wine runs out and that is either to be found in a place of wanting and desire recognizing the supply has run out, or to be found in a place of complacency and indifference. With this being said I would dare say that being found in a place of complacency and indifference when the wine runs out is an incredibly dangerous place to be in for those who allow themselves to enter into and remain in this place will be content with the wine running out and the absence of wine in their midst. I would dare say there is nothing more dangerous and deadly than being in the place where the wine has run out and being numb, indifferent and complacent to that reality. If there is one thing I love about this passage of Scripture it’s that although the wine had run out those who were present were in a place of wanting. Scripture does not reveal who it was that found themselves in this place of wanting wine, and Scripture doesn’t reveal the conversation surrounding the absence of wine, however, we know that here in this place of celebration and covenant the wine had run out and they were in want and need of wine. If there is one thing I find myself encountering when reading this passage of Scripture it’s the tremendous need we have in that place of the wine running out to be those who are found in a place of wanting and those who recognize the need for Jesus to do something supernatural and miraculous.
WHATOSEVER HE SAITH UNTO YOU, DO IT! WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU TO DO, DO IT! Oh I absolutely love reading this passage and how in this place of the wine running out Mary the mother of Jesus told the servants to do whatever Jesus commanded and instructed them to do. There seems to be this clear and present indication that Mary recognized and understood what her Son was capable of doing, which is actually quite interesting when you think about it. The apostle John writes how this was the beginning of miracles which Jesus would perform in the earth after He had been manifested at the Jordan River. What makes this particularly intriguing is when you think about the fact that there seems to be no indication that Jesus had performed any other miracles at that time. There seems to be every indication that there was no context or framework for Jesus performing any miracles and yet Mary the mother of the Jesus would speak unto the servants and instruct them to do whatever Jesus commanded and told them to do. If there is one thing we must needs recognize when reading this particular portion of Scripture it’s that even in this place of wanting and even in this place where the wine had run out there was still the need for obedience to the word and command of Christ. It would be Mary the mother of Jesus who would instruct the servants to do whatever Jesus commanded them to do for she knew that whatever He commanded would in fact be necessary for this particular miracle to take place. How absolutely incredible it is that just as Jesus blessed, broke and multiplied the loaves of bread and fish so the multitude could be fed He would not do it without the participation of the disciples. In both the feeding of the five thousand as well as the feeding of the four thousand Jesus would bless and break that which was placed in His hands and He would then take that which was in His hands, place it in the hands of His disciples, who would then place it into the hands of the multitude which was present. Oh there is something to be said about the miracles of feeding the multitudes and the transforming of water into wine for in these manifestations of the glory of God we find active participants who were invited to be a part of the miracle and demonstration of the glory of God.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I feel it is absolutely important to once more call and draw your attention to the question of whether or not the wine has run out in your life. Perhaps the wine has run out in your marriage. Perhaps the wine has run out in your relationships! Perhaps the wine has run out on your job. Perhaps the wine has run out in your family. Perhaps the wine has run out in your church. If you are one who is presently living in a place where the wine has run out I would like to ask you what does that wine represent. Does that wine represent your trust and confidence? Does the wine represent your hope and faith? Does the wine represent your love and compassion? Does the wine represent your worship and praise? Does the wine represent intimacy? Does the wine represent communication? Does the wine represent fellowship and relationship? Does the wine represent joy and peace? How incredible it is to not only be in a place of covenant at a time of celebration in the presence of Jesus and the wine ran out. Perhaps one of the greatest questions you must needs ask yourself is not only whether or not the wine has in fact run out but whether or not you are willing to admit that it has run out. Moreover, I would also ask what you are willing to do when you find yourself in the place where the wine has run out. If you have found yourself in a marriage where the wine has run out are you willing to do whatever Jesus commands you to do and allow Him to do what only he can do? If you have found yourself in your walk with Christ and have found the wine has run out in certain areas would you be willing to do whatever is commanded and asked of you and allow Him to do whatever He needs to do? What we find here in this particular passage is not only the wine running out, but also the filling of earthen vessels, the drawing out from what was filled, and the transformation of what was drawn forth. The single greatest question we must needs ask ourselves is not only whether or not the wine has in fact run out, but whether or not we are willing to do what is necessary for the glory of Christ to be manifested and the supernatural power of heaven be displayed in our midst.
To draw this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to a narrative of an Old Testament prophet who was led by God into a place of sustenance and provision and yet found himself in a place where that sustenance dried up and stopped flowing. The Old Testament Hebrew prophet I am speaking of is the prophet Elijah who prophesied unto Ahab king of Israel that it would not rain again in the land except by his word and the heavens were immediately shut up and became as brass. Immediately following this the Lord God would lead Elijah the Tishbite unto the brook Cherith where he would drink freely from the brook and would be fed by ravens. This provision would continue for an unspecified period of time, however, there would come a point in time when the brook would dry up as a direct result of the rain ceasing to fall upon the land. What make this passage so interesting is not only that the LORD would lead the prophet to a place which would sustain him for a short period of time, and not only that the brook would dry up, but also that the LORD would not allow the prophet to remain in that place. Once the brook dried up thus serving its purpose within the life of Elijah the LORD would send him unto it widow in Zarephath where He had commanded her to care and provide for him. It is truly worth thinking about when reading the words in this passage of Scripture that the LORD would bring Elijah into a place where the brook would dry, however, when that brook would dry up He wouldn’t leave him there. Despite the fact the brook would sustain the prophet for a period of time there would come the day when the brook would cease flowing and the LORD would move the prophet into a place where there was a widow. Not only did the LORD bring the prophet into the place where there was a widow, but he brought the prophet into the place where this widow was preparing to use the last bit of her oil and meal to make bread for herself and her son that they might eat and die. The LORD would take the prophet from the place where a brook would dry up and would bring him into the place where the oil was about to run out. FROM DRIED UP BROOKS TO OIL RUNNING OUT! FROM DRIED UP BROOKS TO APPARENT LACK!
I leave you with the narrative surrounding the prophet Elijah at the brook Cherith as well as in the house of the widow of Zarephath as it is a powerful picture of that which might very well dry up and run out in our lives and how even in those apparent moments of lack the LORD can and will provide for us. The brook which the LORD brought Elijah to would in fact dry up, and the widow of Zarephath was indeed prepare for the oil to run out and yet when the prophet showed up a prophetic word would be released into her life and home that neither the oil nor the meal would run out until the days of the famine and drought were over. Here during this time there would be a famine and drought present in the land and the prophet would find himself in a place where the book and God’s source of provision would dry up. The LORD would lead this prophet into a place where the oil was about to run out and it would be in that place where the oil would continue flowing and where the meal would continue to replenish itself according to the prophetic word of Elijah and the supernatural manifestation of the power and glory of God. Oh that we would recognize that even when the brook(s) within our lives dry up the LORD cannot and will not leave us in a place of lack and want. Moreover, is that even when we think the oil is going to run out within our lives the glory and presence of the LORD is manifested and allows the oil to continue to flow freely. Consider if you will the following narrative of the prophet Elijah as it is recorded in the Old Testament book of First Kings:
“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew. Nor rain these years, but according to my word. And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the book Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land” (1 Kings 17:1-7).
“And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it and die. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a. little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah” (1 Kings 17:8-16).