Do What He Says
“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it.’”
John 2:1-5 (NKJV)
The wedding feast had run out of wine and it was not just a question of someone running down to the local off-licence for more. It was also a social faux pas: “To fail in providing adequately for the guests would involve social disgrace. In the closely knit communities of Jesus’ day such an error would never be forgotten, and would haunt the newly married couple all their lives.” (Tenney)
Mary just states the problem to Jesus. Jesus’ response sounds bit abrupt in English, but he’s not being demeaning. He refers to his mother with a term of respect, but he does not call her ‘mother,’ he calls her ‘woman’ which is a polite title he uses for others, including the tearful Mary Magdalene at the tomb. (Matthew 15:28, Luke 13:12, John 20:13,15).
In the Gospel of John, the mother of Jesus is never named; she is always denoted by her relationship to Jesus, and it was changing as Jesus turned away from the responsibilities of his human family to being about his Father’s business fulltime. For the first time we see him easing Mary away from him as his mother so that she could become a disciple and, along with all others, one day be ‘in Christ’. It was a gentle start to the readjustment that Mary was to have to make.
Mary ‘bookends’ his earthly life, from conception and birth, here at his first public miracle and then at his death. We are not privy to her internal struggles as she adjusted her life and her relationship to the One she bore. Not many of her words are recorded for us but what there are glorify Jesus, not herself. And whether the words John recorded for us come to us as mother or disciple, surely we should take note of what she said—Whatever he says to you, do it. It sums up in one sentence a considerable amount of all the sermons that have been given ever since.
Saviour, how often we fail to hear or heed your words. In your mercy may your Spirit patiently continue to bring them to mind and enable us to act on them.
Study by Hilary Buck
Grace Communion – Lewes
The Priory School
LEWES BN7 2XN
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