In John 2, Jesus performed his first miracle – turning water into wine at a wedding feast – and revealed himself to be far more than a carpenter’s son.
What’s intriguing about this story is the unspoken dialogue between Mary and Jesus, hidden between the lines of Scripture.
And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. – John 2:1-5
According to the story, Mary was already present at a wedding in Cana to which Jesus and his disciples were invited. We can imagine that she was in some way responsible for helping to coordinate the wedding feast; and when the hosts ran out of wine, she knew – better than anyone else – who could provide the needed wine.
Remember the angel’s words to Mary, some three decades prior to the wedding feast?
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. – Luke 1:30-33
Nine months later, along came Jesus, born in a manner certainly not suited to a Son of God. Yet, Mary is never recorded as questioning the purpose for which her son had been born.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. – Luke 2:19
She waited, and wondered, and pondered, as Jesus grew into a youth that blew the minds, so to speak, of scholars and priests at the temple.
And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. – Luke 2:48-51
For nearly two more decades she waited for her son to reveal himself as the Messiah. As the mother of God, she was in a position unlike any other mother in history. Her child was God! Mary must have felt awe, respect, and reverence for Jesus. Yet, like every other good mother throughout the ages, she loved her son deeply and wanted him to fulfill his potential.
I imagine that all of this was behind her careful choice of words as she spoke to Jesus at the wedding in Cana.
“They have no wine.”
Notice that she asked nothing of Jesus, but it’s clear from his response that he understood the implied question.
“Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.”
Commentators agree that Jesus intended no disrespect toward Mary when he called her “woman.” It was actually a title of respect. But commentators don’t agree upon the reasons for what happened next. Though Jesus seemed to be telling Mary that it was not yet time for him to reveal himself as God and begin his ministry in earnest, she did not respond to him accordingly.
Instead, she simply turned to the servants and requested that they do whatever he asked. She did not know what that would be, if anything, yet she trusted her son and her Savior implicitly.
And then, Jesus provided the needed wine after all.
Why? We can only conjecture, as his actions seemed contrary to his words. But to me, the lesson to be learned is in Mary’s simple words of strong faith, which should be a credo for all of us:
“Whatever he saith unto thee, do it.”
Just do it. Put Christ first, do what he commands, and trust that your faith will be rewarded in due time with a revelation of his power in your life.
What lesson do you see in this story? Have you ever wondered about the deeper meaning of this conversation between Mary and Jesus? I welcome your insights.