It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this speech act talks about the situations wherein the speaker directs the listener in some way. “Vote for me in the coming elections;” “Please pass on the butter;” “Take out the trash” – all these would fall under this. The interesting thing about directives is that it could be somewhere between a command and a request. Challenges, dares, and invitations would also be categorized under directives. The best way we could direct someone is to make that person do what we expect to be done without any qualms or complications, but at the same time not making it as if we are demanding something of him.

There are plenty of directives scattered throughout the Bible, the Ten Commandments a prime example. Let’s take a look at the first public miracle of Jesus and see how he used directives to perform it:

On the third day there was a wedding. It took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there. 2 Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

4 “Dear woman, why are you telling me about this?” Jesus replied. “The time for me to show who I really am isn’t here yet.”

5 His mother said to the servants, “Do what he tells you.”

6 Six stone water jars stood nearby. The Jews used water from that kind of jar for special washings. They did that to make themselves pure and “clean.” Each jar could hold 20 to 30 gallons.

7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the top.

8 Then he told them, “Now dip some out. Take it to the person in charge of the dinner.”

They did what he said. 9 The person in charge tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He didn’t realize where it had come from. But the servants who had brought the water knew. Then the person in charge called the groom to one side. 10 He said to him, “Everyone brings out the best wine first. They bring out the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink. But you have saved the best until now.” (John 2:1-10)

From Mary’s instruction to the servants, “do what he tells you,” to Jesus instructing said servants to fill the jars with water and take some to the person in charge, are very apparent



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