It is easy to lecture my children for use of language that is discouraging and demoralizing but what about the power of life in the tongue?
The verse 'Death and Life is in the power of the tongue' (Proverbs chapter 18, verse 21) does not distinguish between which words are the most important, yet I find it easy to neglect the life-giving power our tongues have, especially when backed by words of faith.
Jesus confronted with words of faith
Recently, as I was reading the story of Jesus' first recorded miracle, when He turned water into wine at a wedding feast, I grabbed hold of an answer to a question I've often asked: 'Why did Jesus respond to his mother's request to do something by saying it wasn't his time and then seemingly turn around and perform this miracle straight away?' Or to rephrase that, 'why would Jesus say it had nothing to do with Him and yet minutes later the guests were treated to the best tasting wine of the evening (and maybe ever) after He miraculously transformed water into wine?'
Going a step further than this usual question, I asked myself, 'did Jesus set Mary up to see what her response would be? Was Jesus waiting for something for His time of ministry to begin and was it Mary's response that ushered Him to perform this miracle?'
There is another example of this type of question and answer game when Jesus talks with the Canaanite woman about healing her daughter. The exchange between the two in this story is remarkably similar to that of Mary and Jesus' conversation at the wedding feast.
In both passages a woman asks Jesus to do something, but is met with an excuse (not a definite 'no') as to why Jesus shouldn't fulfil the request. The response from both ladies is a statement of faith, boldly declaring Jesus' ability to complete the task they requested. After these proclamations of faith, Jesus performs the miracles He was asked to conduct.
Mary knew who Jesus was
For Mary, her faith developed over a period of 30 years, as we are told that early in Jesus' life, Mary stored in her mind the comments and prophetic words spoken over Jesus.
It was at the wedding banquet, Mary by faith, told the servants to obey Jesus 'Whatever He says to you, do it' (John chapter 2, verse 5).
These words are powerful and faith-filled and leave no room for miscommunication. Mary calls on her Son to do something. Maybe Mary was hoping Jesus would buy some wine from the store, but if so, why ask the servants to do what He said and what about the reference to ministry Jesus used in his excuse just beforehand?
The story continues and water is turned into wine, a miracle saving the wedding feast and particularly the groom's family from extreme embarrassment. There are also many other analogies that can be discussed in relation to this event e.g. Moses turned water to blood in the first plague and Jesus turned water to wine in His first miracle; weddings and marriages are often used as illustrations by Jesus in His teachings and this miracle was performed at a wedding feast.
However, as I read through the passage this time I was struck by Mary's spiritual insight, her faith and her words. Seeing beyond the physical realm Mary knew who Jesus was and called Him to action, despite His first reluctant comment. John records in his telling of this story, it was after this miracle Jesus' disciples believed in Him.
You and I can be like Mary
This spiritual insight into who a person is and what their gifts and strengths are is life-giving power we need to impart to those around us. The ability to encourage and inspire those around us is referred to as exhortation in the New Testament and in Hebrews we are told to encourage one another daily.
How have you encouraged those closest to you today? What is it you see in someone that goes beyond the surface level and speaks of who they are and what they're good at and have you encouraged them with this?
Not sure how to do this? Ask God to give you the spiritual eyes (and ears) and faith of Mary to speak out who someone is, even if they don't see it yet. It could be as simple as writing a letter/email, messaging on Facebook, texting, calling someone or taking them out for coffee. I'm feeling challenged to give it a go, will you join me?
Tim Wilson is an Australian currently living in Canada with his wife (also a comment writer) and their three children. He is passionate about the Church living according to the Word of God and authors a blog to inspire and challenge men and women of faith.www.abrokenmanblog.com
Tim Wilson's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-wilson.html