On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and His disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to Him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”
— John 2:1-5
What was the last request you made to God? Was it for something big? Something small? Have you ever caught yourself apologizing to God for your requests?
“I know you might not care about this…”
“I know this doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things…”
“I know this seems like such a silly request…”
Why do we do this? Why are we so hesitant to pray for the “small things” in life? Perhaps it has to do with how we view God. We see Him as holy and distant. Someone far off and far above everything happening on earth. We don’t view Him as near and present, involved in our everyday lives, or moving through the world in an intimate way.
John opens his Gospel with the statement,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. — John 1:1
John tells us the Word is Jesus, “the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,” and that He “became flesh and made His dwelling among us” (John 1:14). Jesus was God-in-the-flesh. Once Jesus ascended into Heaven, He left us with His Spirit (see 2 Corinthians 5:5) — a Guide who, like the air around you, is everywhere, and like the breath in your lungs, is inside you.
So, if God is as near as your own breath, surely He is aware of what is happening in your life, in your mind, in your heart, and in your body. Furthermore, He is concerned about the details of your life — in your mind, heart, and body. He is with you in the highest of highs and deepest of lows. He is with you just as much during a trip to the supermarket as He is when you’re heading to the hospital for a checkup. He is in the ordinary moments of life.
In this opening session, we will look at Jesus’ first miracle recorded in John. It happened as a result of an ordinary problem in an ordinary setting and involved ordinary materials. Jesus didn’t heal anyone, or miraculously feed thousands, or even offer any parables or other teaching. Yet John recorded the story just as he did all the others — which means this story can tell us something important about who Jesus was and what that means for our lives today.
So today, find comfort in this Jesus who was divine yet altogether ordinary. This man who woke up each day, worked, fished, drank water and, occasionally, turned it into wine.
If you or any of your group members don’t know each other, take a few minutes to introduce yourselves. Then, to get things started, discuss one of the following questions.
- Do you ever wonder if your prayer requests are too small for God? If so, why do you think that is the case?
— or —
- What is your prayer style? Do you pray to God spontaneously, read prayers written by others, or some other method? Who taught you to pray this way?
Invite someone to read the following verses aloud. Listen for fresh insights as you hear the verses being read, and then discuss the questions that follow.
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. — Luke 12:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. — Philippians 4:6
Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. — 1 Peter 5:7 NLT
What is one key insight that stands out to you from these passages?
According to these verses, what does God care about when it comes to your life?
Play the video segment for session one. As you watch, use the following outline to record any thoughts or concepts that stand out to you.
John wrote down the miracles that he presents in his Gospel not to impress us but to urge us to believe in the presence of Christ.
When we believe in Jesus, we have life… abundant, robust, and resilient life. We find strength beyond our strength. We accomplish tasks beyond our capacity. We see solutions beyond our wisdom. And we realize we are never, ever, alone.
As far as miracles go, bone-dry wine vats at a wedding don’t even tip the scale. But perhaps this is actually the point: the ordinariness of it all. God wants us to come to Him with our requests in everything — not just the big things of life.
Mary didn’t worry that the size of her request was too small. She simply connected the problem with the provider. The result was miraculous provision and restoration of what had been lost.
Mary’s demonstration of faith caught Jesus’ attention. Not only that, but it changed His agenda.
A precise prayer gives Jesus the opportunity to remove all doubt about His love. Your problem becomes His pathway. The challenge you face becomes a canvas on which He can demonstrate His finest work.
Take a few minutes with your group members to discuss what you just watched and explore these concepts in Scripture.
- John writes toward the end of his Gospel, “These [stories] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31). What does this tell you about John’s purpose in recording Jesus’ miracles? What does it mean to “have life in His name”?
- John starts things off in his Gospel with a sign from Christ that seems… ordinary. What situation prompted this miracle? What was the “crisis” at hand?
- What request did Mary make of Jesus? Why do you think Jesus was hesitant at first to answer her request?
- How did Mary respond to Jesus when He said, “My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4)? Why do you think she responded this way? What happened as a result?
- Have you ever prayed for something specific and did not receive it? If so, how did you respond? Why do you think God withheld what you wanted?
- John writes, “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and His disciples believed in him” (verse 11). Who believed in Jesus after this miracle? Why is this significant?
- What caused you to believe in Jesus? How did that moment, event, or person convince you? Or, if you don’t believe in Christ, what would make you believe?
- What is something new or interesting you learned from Jesus’ miracle of turning water to wine? How could this apply to your everyday life and your everyday faith?
Spend a few moments in silence contemplating Philippians 4:6, which you read at the beginning of this session: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Write down two or three requests you want to make known to God right now.
Spend some time sharing prayer requests with one another. You can share a request you wrote above or a different one. Remember, no request is too small for God! Have one person write down requests as you are sharing. End your time together by praying briefly for each request. You can either take turns praying or one person can lead the group in prayer.
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Let us know your thoughts about You Are Never Alone in the blog comments. We’d love to hear from you!
Join the You Are Never Alone Online Bible Study!
For 6 weeks, starting on October 19th, Max Lucado will walk us through the miracles of Jesus as told by the Apostle John. He will reveal to us the message at the heart of each miracle… that we are never, ever alone.
When you sign up, you’ll receive access to Max’s 6 teaching videos, A downloadable prayer guide for your alone time, beautiful scripture art, and more! Save your spot today!