Sometimes we lose perspective when we read texts which have been translated into different languages over time. It’s not because the translations fail, but because they cannot convey the unique …
Sometimes we lose perspective when we read texts which have been translated into different languages over time. It’s not because the translations fail, but because they cannot convey the unique differences which get misunderstood because we don’t talk like that at all anymore — if our culture ever did.
For background to our miracle story, we need to look ahead at one of the most emotional moments in Jesus’ life. It’s recorded in John 19. While Jesus had the weight of the world on His shoulders, He paused for a moment to express love to His mother. It’s a powerful snapshot into the heart of the Savior of the world
While suffering and nearly dead, hanging on the cross, Jesus said, “Woman, behold your son.” Then, He looked to John and said, “Behold your mother.” We are told from that moment on John took Mary into his home and cared for her.
Anyone who reads this passage can clearly see this is a very endearing moment. You can’t help but feel the raw emotion. Jesus definitely loved His mother. No one who reads this passage would even suggest He was being disrespectful to His mother. In no way was He at all.
Keep that in mind as we look at what happened in Cana of Galilee at the scene of Jesus’ first miracle, recorded in John 2.
Imagine Jesus, sitting and enjoying His disciples, socializing at the wedding. Suddenly, his mother comes up to Him, and says quietly, “They have no wine.” This is exactly what happened when Mary learned the wedding party ran out of wine.
Jesus looked at His mother and said, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come (verse 4).”
Immediately, many of us feel this is a disrespectful way to talk to people. It’s not the way we talk, nicely. Crossing language translations, cultures, and years, we struggle to see how this could be OK. It’s so foreign to us.
Think about it: If a man addresses any woman this way today, it will be taken as an insult. It’s not OK to talk this way in the 21st century.
Some might argue this was never OK to talk to people, that it was a chauvinistic way men used to handle women. The problem with this theory is that it forces a preconceived notion into reality. It assumes through time, languages, and cultures, this was always a rude and disrespectful way to address women. We imagine it’s just always been so wrong to address any woman with the word “woman.”
Remember that John 19 passage? Remember how all of us admired Jesus for how He showed so much love for His mother while He was suffering and dying on the cross? Don’t forget, His endearing words to her were exactly, “Woman, behold your son.” No one considers that rude and disrespectful. No, we accept it as the way of the culture at the time and we see it for what it is, an endearing statement of love.
So, when Jesus responds to His mother at the wedding with, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come,” we know it is not disrespectful, but rather cultural.
What was Mary’s response to Him? Scripture indicates she didn’t respond to Him at all, but instead told the servants to just do whatever He said. It was as if she was very aware it was time for Jesus to do something miraculous.
I would not go as far as to say that Jesus was wrong. No, it seems more accurate to say He simply was unaware at that moment. But why would God inspire John to document this history? Why do we need to see the human side of Jesus like this right in the middle of a story which illustrates His deity?
As the story goes, the servants follow Jesus’ direction and a large quantity of wine is miraculously produced from water. And it wasn’t just ordinary wine, but exceptional wine. Jesus delivered in a big way and the embarrassment of running out of wine was avoided.
Why did Jesus even care? It wasn’t His problem. He’s just a guest at the wedding. Somebody didn’t plan well and they ran out of wine. Not his issue and really not that big of a deal. So, why care?
Know this: Jesus cares. Even if it seems insignificant or trivial, He cares. Even if it is your own problem you caused yourself, He cares.
To me a glaring truth jumps out in the text. Even Jesus had to be nudged to do the Father’s will. At first when Mary nudged Him by telling him about the problem, Jesus resisted. But the resistance was short-lived.
One of two things happened that day. Either Jesus changed His mind and decided it would be His hour, or He realized He was unaware, but it really was His hour. Either way, it seems clear, even He needed to be nudged by someone else.
If Jesus needed nudged by someone else to do our Father’s will, might we need nudged sometimes as well? Since Jesus initially resisted this nudge, might we also resist when God tries to nudge us through others?
My experience has been that God nudges me through unexpected people. Sometimes it’s through the mouth of a child. Oftentimes it’s through a spouse. Sometimes it’s in a book, through another preacher, or in a song or movie. There have even been times He’s nudged me through others who aren’t even believers.
My question to you is this: Is the Father trying to nudge you right now? If so, are you resisting?
Consider letting God nudge you through others to do His will. Go ahead and do what He wants. You just might see big things happen as a result.
Jesus cares. He cares about the seemingly insignificant or trivial things in your life. Even if you’ve caused yourself your own problems, His nature is to step in and do big things to help you look, feel and be better.
Running out of wine at a wedding at which He was just a guest was not His problem. Yet, when it was brought to His attention, He fixed it. He stepped in, and kept the poor planners from looking bad. He covered their errors, and blessed them, avoiding a seemingly minor problem.
He cares and He can help you through whatever you’re going through, even if you caused yourself your own problems. He’s capable and willing to help. Take your issues to Him and let Him take care of you.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28 (ESV)
Pastor Jeff Adams is a longtime community leader, victim advocate, counselor and chaplain. He ministers internationally, nationally and locally. His column appears online weekly and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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