Not only journalists but perhaps most people like to be the first to know the news. For example, when someone is engaged, or when a couple discovers they are pregnant, or when there is some intriguing situation, some of us like to have the inside information before it is made public. I don’t know all the motivations behind such a curious quest, but perhaps at the least it may give us a certain sense of self-importance that we are “in the know.” And though this can be sinful, there is a wonderful sense in which being “in the know” can be quite right; in fact, it can even be an immense blessing. I stumbled upon an example of this the other day in my daily Bible reading.
In the familiar account in John 2 of Jesus turning water into wine, something struck me that I had not previously noticed.
In v. 9 we read these words: “When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom.” According to this verse, the master of ceremonies was unaware of the source of the wine, yet he was very impressed with what he tasted. He said, “You have kept the good wine until now!” (v. 10). He was amazed that the best was saved for last, and this reflected well on the bridegroom. In fact, it highlighted his generosity. But what the servants knew, and the master of the wedding did not know, was that something far more generous had actually taken place.
The servants were “in the know” that the true Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ, had performed a miracle. And obviously He did so before witnesses. This is why we read, “the servants who had drawn the water knew.” And you can bet that they told the news!
A couple of things come to mind as I contemplate this wine tasting scene.
First, those who serve alongside the Lord are often the ones with “inside information.” They find themselves “in the know” about things that others merely assume. Earlier in the account, Mary, having secured Jesus’ assurance that He would help with the lack of wine problem, said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it” (v. 5). Obviously they did. Jesus told them to fill the large vats with water (each could hold 20–30 gallons, but hey, whose counting when it’s a miracle!). They did so. You have to wonder, what were they thinking? After all, the wedding required wine, not water. Even a Baptist could tell the difference! But they obeyed.
What we don’t know is how much these servants initially knew about what was taking place. That is, we don’t know at what point they knew that the Lord had transformed the water into chardonnay. Was it beforehand, or was it when they served the Master? Quite possibly it was the latter. If so, can you imagine their trepidation as they dipped the ladle into the large vat? Would they be embarrassed—or worse? But as the master of the feast tasted the contents, his face brightened as he proclaimed this wonderful commendation to the bridegroom.
At this point, no doubt, the servants lost all interest in the wedding feast, for they were now “in the know” about the glorious Bridegroom in their midst, the Lord Jesus Christ. While others were enjoying the gracious benefits of the Lord Jesus, these servants, who were probably ignored by most of the party, had a glimpse of the glory of the Saviour. They were “in the know” simply because they obeyed.
Jesus taught us that, if we want to be “in the know,” we need to obey what we know (John 7:17). This truth is revealed elsewhere in Scripture: “If walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship” with God (1 John 1:7). Again, in John 14:21, “He who has My commandments and keeps [obeys] them … I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” That is, if we obey our Lord then we will be “in the know” about Him in a way that we would not otherwise be. Proverbs 4:18 informs us that “the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” In other words, when we obey God’s righteous Word, then more light is revealed. We are increasingly “in the know.” The principle revealed time and again in Scripture is that obedience is rewarded with more light. Perhaps better, obedience is rewarded with deeper relationship. As the song says,
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His word
What a glory He sheds on our way.
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
These servants did what they were commanded and you can be sure that it made a profound difference in their lives. In fact, the text tells us that it was at this marriage feast where Jesus first manifested His glory (v. 11). And these servants, along with the disciples of Jesus, experienced this. They were “in the know” because they did what they were commanded.
The Bible is filled with examples of believers who simply did what God commanded and who, in turn, received a deeper experiential knowledge of Him. Abraham, for example, obeyed the voice of the Lord and experienced a profound relationship with the Lord—time and again. Moses picked up His rod and the Lord manifested His glory. Joshua obeyed the Word of the Lord and the walls of Jericho fell down. Ruth submitted to Yahweh and He wonderfully provided for her in such a way that she could only attribute it to God’s gracious concern. David honoured the name of the Lord and Goliath came tumbling down. Paul served the Lord and, in spite of (because of?) much suffering, he had experiences with the Lord that, to this day, drive us to seek a deeper knowledge of Christ.
The point is simply that if we want to experience the Lord then we need to take a page from this account of the servants: “Whatever He says to you, do it.” And when you do, though others may not know—or even care—what the Lord is up to, yet by God’s grace you will be “in the know.”
Second, we can learn from this account that, even in the realm of what we call the “natural” and “normal,” there is a lot more taking place than meets the eye. These servants, at least at some point, were privy to this. They were “in the know” that not all was what it appeared to be. God was at work even though most at the party were oblivious.
The other day I listened to a breathless anthropologist on 702 pontificating about some recent discoveries highlighting how humans evolved from non-humans. At first, I was miffed; and then I was saddened. This poor man thrills at the complexity of a human being (rightly so), and yet he is clueless as to why—his multiple Ph.Ds. notwithstanding. I, on the other hand, who have no letters behind my name, am “in the know.” By God’s sovereign grace, I know where I (along with every human being) come from: Adam and Eve, who were formed by the hand of God. This knowledge does not make me a better person than the good doctor; however, it does enable me to see a glory in a person that an evolutionist will never see.
C. S. Lewis wrote something to the effect that Jesus turning water into wine was in some ways not a unique event, for in fact God has been doing so ever since Noah planted a vineyard. Yet in this event, Jesus drastically speeded up the process. His point was that we should open our eyes and see the glorious works of God as He providentially cares for this world.
Yes, God is at work in our world. Think about that wherever you are and whatever you see and experience. Christian, utilise your God-given privilege to live as one who is “in the know.”