It was Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus, who gave the sound advice to the servants at the wedding feast, “Whatsoever He saith unto you do it.” How comprehensive were these words: “Whatsoever,” admitting of no reserves or exceptions: “Whatsoever He saith” was to be done unquestioningly, no matter what the command might be, no matter how seemingly strange or unusual. The servants acted on this and, lo, and behold, the water had become wine! It is ever so. When the “water of the word” is simply obeyed it will surely be followed by the “wine of joy.” Joy is the sure result of obedience.
What did He say? “Fill the water-pots with water.” But it was wine that was lacking, obviously water was plentiful for they filled them to the brim. He said “fill the waterpots” and “they filled them.” Then He said, “Draw out now and bear unto the governor of the feast.” Dare they? Would it not be offensive, to say the least, to offer water to the governor of the feast? But Mary’s rule obtained and, responding to His word to “bear,” “they bare it.” They did exactly as they were told, and the result? The best wine had been kept to the last.
This is like a seam running throughout the precious mine of John’s Gospel. It is found everywhere. The courtier’s son was sick and he applied to the Lord Jesus for help. The Lord bade him, “Go thy way, thy son liveth.” He did not demur; he did not demand His presence beside the bed of his son; he did not demand a demonstrative cure. He simply obeyed the word and acted on Mary’s injunction (though he had never heard it for himself), and “he went his way.” On arrival home, he found that just what the Lord had said was true; the mending took place at the hour of his speaking.
A large hungry multitude confronts the Lord and His disciples. The available visible supplies of food were totally inadequate for such a crowd, as Andrew well knew. Philip apprehended the need. Andrew understood the total insufficiency of what was obtainable. But the Lord said, “Make the men sit down,” and without doubting “the men sat down” and the result is well known. It is a golden rule that whatsoever He saith unto us, we should do.
Here is an impotent man, who had been lying at the pool of Bethesda for thirty and eight years. Jesus passes by and, getting a confession from the man of his need, his desire, and his inability; He tells him to “Rise, take up thy bed and walk,” and “he took up his bed and walked.” Note how John constantly shows the implementation of Mary’s injunction by stating exactly what the Lord bade, and then showing in the same terms what the person did. In all such cases the wine of blessing followed; the boy was healed, the multitude was fed, and the impotent man made whole.
It was so with the blind man whose healing is recorded in chapter 9. To him the Lord spake, “Go and wash,” and “he went and washed,” and his tale was repeatedly told, “Once I was blind but now I can see.” He did not demur at the strange action and command. There was no refusal to obey on his part, fearing lest he might prove to have been made a laughing-stock in the sight of others. In all these instances there was immediate compliance with the command, although in each case it seemed to be such that, if the desired blessing did not follow, it would have held them all up to ridicule. In simple faith they did as they were told: it was, indeed, the obedience of faith.
Standing before the grave wherein the body of Lazarus lay, He said, “Take ye away the stone.” Martha truly did demur, explaining that decomposition would have rendered the body a putrid mass, but after the Lord had graciously met such an apparently reasonable objection, “they took away the stone,” and soon the whole three of that family were reunited and round the table, their Lord present as well.
It was so after His resurrection. He said, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship,” and “they cast” it. The result was an unmanageable draught of fishes.
How plain were Mary’s words, and how simply were they obeyed, and with what grand results!! Have we learned the lesson? It must have seemed an absurd command to Ezekiel to speak to the very many and very dry bones in the valley, but he did, and the army stood on their feet. It must have seemed a strange message, indeed, the world regards it as “foolishness,” which Paul was commanded to proclaim, but he proclaimed it, and behold the churches that were formed.
How does He speak today? What should be the motive of my obedience? I cannot hear Him audibly or see Him with my eyes today, but His word is left on written record and therein I hear His voice. In it He gives to my soul that inward conviction that it is His special command to me to do His bidding. I am not left to my mental fancies or fostered desires, but in His words I find that which is capable of almost unlimited adaptation to endless circumstances and conditions, and, when in contact with Him, I cannot fail to learn His bidding. Then, however odd it may seem, however unusual, however apparently against commonsense, I am duty bound to “do it.” The results may confidently be left with Him who gave the word of command.
Not that we should obey because of the results; there should be another spring altogether prompting such compliance with His word, and that is love. “If ye love Me ye will keep My commandments.” We should obey not because we want the benefit but because we love the Benefactor. It is true that Scripture abounds in warnings against disobedience, not only in plain utterance but in historical examples. Through it Adam lost Eden, Moses the land, Saul his throne, the man of God from Judah his life, and David his domestic peace. Many another has followed the sad train.
For us we cannot do better or act more safely than to follow Mary’s advice: “Whatsoever He saith unto you do it.”