Not My Monkeys!

Read John 2

Focus on verse 4not-my-monkeys

My personality tends to default to being a fixer. I care about people, so I sincerely want to fix all their problems. I’ve been around long enough to know that this is first of all, not possible, and in many cases not really helpful. A phrase that I have memorized that helps me to determine whether or not to get involved is the phrase, “Not my circus – not my monkeys!”. In other words, there are times when if I don’t own the problem, it is best for me and those involved if I keep my nose out of it.

In today’s reading John describes an event in the town of Cana in Galilee. It was the day Jesus and His family were invited to a wedding celebration in the town of Cana. Apparently the guests at this wedding were either more numerous, or just thirstier than the hosts had anticipated and the supply of wine was exhausted. This problem would be a cause for serious embarrassment for the host family in that culture, just as it might in our own. The text informs us that Jesus mother makes a point of telling Jesus of the issue. Jesus response is remarkably similar to the phrase “Not my circus – not my monkeys”.

And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” (v. 4)

What is perhaps even more remarkable is His mother’s response to this statement. She simple tells the servants, “Do whatever he tell you.” (v. 5) Presumably a short time later, Jesus tells the servants to fill six stone water jars with water which when they bring a cup of it to the master of the feast as He instructed them, they discover that it has been turned into high grade wine.

The party could now continue unabated, and no one was the wiser except perhaps the servants who know where it came from. John makes a point of identifying this as the first miracle that Jesus performed. Interestingly it is also the only time that it is recorded that Jesus miraculously turned water into wine. I have often puzzled over why God would have chosen this to be the way Jesus inaugurates His three years of ministry. I highly suspect that there is more to it than just His interest in the wedding celebration not being interrupted.

Not surprisingly this event is often used in attempts to validate the use of alcoholic beverages for those who follow Jesus. In the context that that culture wine was mixed with water to purify the water so that it was safe to drink. While there were those in that culture who would drink to get drunk, it was very different from the culture in which we live where drinking alcohol is closely associated with a host of activities which scripture clearly discourages. I believe it is unwise to attempt to make an absolute case either for or against the use of alcoholic beverages from scripture. What scripture is very clear on is the abuse of alcohol. For many people the choice to abstain is a good one, and they are wise to hold to it. For others it is not an issue and there is no reason to admonish them for it unless they abuse it. What is unfortunate is when brothers and sisters who love and follow Jesus disqualify each other from fellowship over it.


About Dented-Knight

Peter Enns (aka - The Dented Knight) is a native of rural southern Manitoba, Canada. He is an ordained minister, the proprietor of LNE Web Services, father of four, grandfather of two, and life long husband of one. 
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