Thursday, October 31, 2013

John 2:1-11 Part I, Obedient Son -- of the Father

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.”
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
11 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.

(Here's fair warning....this is a lengthy study post!)
Remember when we began our study of John? We found out that the reason for John's writing his gospel was so others (like us) would believe that Jesus was the Christ, our Savior. All of the things that John would write down would lead us there; he would show us the majesty, the glory, the Sonship of Jesus, in the hope that all would believe.

Verse 11 in this passage reminds us -- that is John's purpose. He would reveal Christ, as He revealed His glory, and many will believe.

Let's dig in!
And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”  (verse 4)
I have to admit, when I was younger and a preacher would read this passage, I would have some confused thoughts about these verses. Jesus' response to Mary just didn't hit me right. When I became a mom, even though I'd studied it and thought I understood, it still didn't "sit right." As I've grown older and studied even more, I think I know what was happening here. I pray the Spirit will help me explain -- y'all might already know all about this, but maybe someone will be helped!

I hope I'm not thinking too highly of myself to say this, but I think Jesus knew that it would be a surprising response. And I think that John knew, as he wrote it into his gospel, that it would shock some people. Let's backtrack a minute to the words that were spoken . . . in that era, "woman" as used here, would be like calling someone "ma'am" -- a little bit abrupt, but not disrespectful. So I don't think that Jesus was being brusque, or disrespectful of his earthly parent. However, it truly must have sounded abrupt! And then, the phrase that follows....."ti emoi kai soi"  Did you know that every other time (five times) that we see that phrase in the New Testament, it is spoken by a demon when addressing Christ? Wow!
Each time that Jesus intrudes into a demon's domain, and starts to exert His power where they had been in total control, they say to Him, "What have you to do with us?" (For an example, see Matthew 8:29)  They seem to be telling Him, "I don't want you messing around here. You shouldn't be coming to me in this way...."
So Jesus, being a little abrupt with His mother, says to her, "This is not your place to be calling out my power." It does seem that she told Him about the situation because she expected Him to do something, right? We aren't told in the Scripture exactly what she expected, but we are told that Jesus did not approve.
I think as we dig further, it will seem less like a stiff arm delivered by a football player..... (Grin)

I think a really important clue is that Jesus goes right ahead and takes care of the problem. He works a miracle for the situation. Now, He could have said gently to Mary, "Yes, mother, I know, and I'm going to take care of it."  Well, that's what He did, but not what He said. So we are still left wondering why He spoke in this way. (If we're going to do what mom has in mind, shouldn't we just agree with her and do it? That's the earthly perspective!)
I think the significance of His response is this: Jesus felt a burden to make clear (not just to his mom and brothers, but to all of us) that because of who He was, physical relationships here on earth would not control Him, nor oblige Him. His mortal family would have no special advantage to guide His ministry, nor to receive His salvation.
Jesus was absolutely bound to His Father's will in heaven -- not to anyone on earth. There could be no competition for control in His life and His ministry. Let's look at two verses that speak to this concept:
So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. (John 8:28)
In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. (John 5:17-19)
So, His power, and His miracles, are not at his mother's disposal - nor anyone else's. He and the Father are one, and They have one will.
We can see here that Jesus had to work against the assumption of His day. In that era, it was supposed that one's physical family came first, so the people would have the idea that his mom and brothers had an inside track to His influence and blessing.
Since the people of the time would think there would be a special spiritual advantage in being the mother of Jesus, or of being His brother, Jesus cut short that assumption, and focused attention not on physical relatives, but spiritual relatives.
Another time that people called to Him when He was speaking in a house, "Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you." And He answered them, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" and indicated that the disciples seated around Him were His family.  (Mark 3:32-34)
He was making His point -- followers, not family, have a saving relationship with Christ.
I believe this is what we are seeing in John's second chapter. "Woman, what does this have to do with me?"  .....Your relationship with me as my mother carries no special weight here. You are a woman, like every other woman, and the Father in heaven determines what miracles I perform....and (the greatest news for all of us) the pathway to my blessings is faith, not family.......
This is huge news for us! It doesn't matter what family we come from. Our heritage may be filled with ungodly people. But that will not keep us from the love and favor of Jesus. We know that faith, not family, makes us His children.
So the first part of our study of this passage brings us comfort and joy -- Jesus' glory is shown by His seemingly radical freedom from family, and His determined allegiance to His Father in heaven.
Show us more of your glory as we study, Lord!


Belinda said...

Wow! I never understood it like that.
I have to agree that I have trouble not being a little disturbed by the way he answered her. But you can tell it didn't seem to bother her much. She did what most mothers do and just carried on, telling the others to do what He said.

It is wonderful to know that we can become the family of God, just by accepting Christ as our Savior!!

Cathy said...

One thing we aren't given in this passage is the tone of voice He used when He said it. It sounds brusque, but it could have been said in a gentle manner with a shake of the head and a smile, and maybe that's why she was confident in that He would so something. We all know, especially in this day in age when emails and texts form a lot of our conversations, that what is written can't always convey the feelings or tone of voice or facial expressions that accompany what is written.

Carrie P. said...

I just read part 1 and 2. thanks for sharing your thoughts. This passage has also had me curious and now I see it more clearly.