In chapter 2 of his gospel, John continues the record of the early days of Jesus’ earthly ministry, an account that began in chapter 1 where John the Baptist introduced Jesus and baptized Him, and where Jesus called his first disciples.
At the beginning of John chapter 2, Jesus has called at least five of the twelve disciples, but He has not begun to teach just yet. He has not begun instructing them in the ways of the gospel. They’ve only been with Jesus for about 48 hours by the time we get to the wedding feast at Cana.
Jesus has not yet performed any miracles at this point, at least none that we know of. This would be the first. It should be noted that John never uses the word ‘miracle’. He calls them signs. According to most commentators, John was being careful not to cast a spotlight on the actual miracles – or signs – themselves. Instead, John’s intent was to direct our focus toward their divine purpose.
Before Jesus turned the water to wine, He and His mother Mary had an interesting exchange.When the wine ran out, Mary said to Him, “They have no wine.” And He responded in verse 4, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
It seems that Mary was more than just another guest. This may have been a family member who was getting married. It may have been a close friend who asked her to take care of all the arrangements for this feast. So the request she made of Jesus was not an unreasonable request.There are two schools of thought here. This could have been an instance of a mother asking her oldest son to quietly step out and go procure more wine. It’s also possible (and probable) that she knew Jesus’ abilities and was asking for a miraculous solution to this problem.
The response from Jesus indicates that she probably was asking for some sort of supernatural intervention. The host of this feast was in real trouble. In the Jewish culture of that day, running out of wine during a wedding feast was a very serious social blunder. The host could actually be sued by the guests for not properly providing for them.
So she called on her son for help, but He gave what seems like a very strange response. He actually reprimanded her, ever so gently mind you, for calling His attention to this problem.
On the surface, it seems disrespectful for Him to have called his own mother “woman”. But I think it’s safe to say that He did so with the utmost respect, and with a kindness and gentleness that was evident in his voice. When we hear someone address a female as “woman” today, it’s often spoken in a very disrespectful and undignified tone. I don’t believe Jesus was being disrespectful toward his mother at all because that was forbidden under the Mosaic law. And Jesus never sinned, He never broke one single law. Nonetheless, Jesus was asserting His authority. As man, Jesus was the Son David. He was the SON of Mary. But as God, He is Lord over David and Lord over Mary as well. So He gave her a very gentle reprimand which was intended to remind her of His authority. And the reason he gave was, “My hour has not yet come.”
Everything Jesus did, and everything that was done to Him had a fixed time. He was born at a predetermined time. He began His ministry at a predetermined time. He was crucified at a predetermined time. He rose from the grave at a predetermined time. He ascended into Heaven at a predetermined time. He’s coming back at a predetermined time.
In this instance, the time had not yet come for Jesus to begin performing miracles and signs……openly and publicly. That’s what He meant when He said, “My hour has not yet come.”
Mary took the reprimand submissively and did not respond directly to what Jesus said to her. Instead, she turned to the servants and instructed them to do whatever He told them to do.
It might seem that she ignored what Jesus had just said to her but in reality, she did not. She was in fact, placing her full trust in Jesus because she had no idea what He planned to do, or if He planned to do anything. He very well could have said, “Let everyone drink water for the rest of the evening.”
But He instructed the servants to fill the water jars to the brim. And without a word being said, without waving his arms or any physical gesture, He changed the water to wine.
This is from a website called the “Biblical Jesus”:
John’s gospel clues us in to the divine purpose for Jesus’ miracles. After narrating the miracle of the wine at the wedding feast, the apostle adds, “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him” (John 2:11). This verse gives us three purposes for the miracles Jesus did: 1) that they are signs; 2) that they “manifested His glory”; and 3) they helped His disciples to believe in Him. They did attract attention to Him, but ultimately, God had deeper, spiritual purposes for them.
The Pharisees often asked Jesus for a sign that would prove to them that He was the Messiah. He never gave them a sign except when He told them, “The only sign this wicked and adulterous generation will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah.” During His trial the night before He was crucified, Jesus was sent to Herod who, according to the scripture, wanted to see Him perform some sort of miracle. But never once did Jesus perform miracles for entertainment purposes. His miracles were not meant to be parlor tricks. His signs and miracles were intended for one purpose: To help people believe in order to advance the gospel and bring glory to God.
Only a handful of people knew what Jesus had done. Though His hour for performing miracles openly and publicly had not yet come, He foresaw how this one very discreet miracle would affirm his identity in the eyes of those who had just begun following Him a couple of days earlier. They may have been second guessing their decision to leave everything and everyone behind at the spur of the moment to follow a man they scarcely knew. That would be a perfectly normal human reaction. But this miracle, this sign that Jesus performed at the wedding feast at Cana accomplished the same purpose his highly visible and more public miracles would accomplish later: It affirmed that Jesus was no ordinary man. It confirmed that He was indeed…..God who came to us in human flesh.