Notes on John (Pt. 11): A Mother’s Concern Versus The Father’s Business

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

Notes on John (Pt. 11): Mother’s Concerns Versus the Father’s Business

Regarding the Lord Jesus’ words to His mother on the day of His first miracle, there is no shortage of interpretations. Are His words contemptuous? Are they filled with disdain for His mother? Some propose that they were in order to put a stain on His character and thereby negate His right over their lives as Sovereign and Judge. However, does the text allow for such a reading

Not at all.

In the Lord’s response to His mother, rather than seeing contempt or disdain, we see the beginning of a pattern: Those who would petition the Lord to perform a miracle of some kind are met with a response that causes them either to submit to His Lordship, or turn away in dissapointment or anger. What did Mary’s concern have to do with the Lord Jesus? If we consider the symbolic significance of the miracle He performed, then we have to conclude that it had very much to do with Him.

Then why did He ask the question?

Perhaps to test her, to cause her to question her petition but also her intentions. Why was she approaching the Lord? If He did not perform the miracle, would she continue to believe and follow Him? Or would she be offended and leave as the multitudes would later do?[1] Would she submit to Christ as Lord irrespective of  what He sovereignly would choose to do? Or would she demand a sign? Mor pointedly, we can ask: Was Christ there to do the will of His mother, or the will of His Father?

The importance of this passage is found in Mary’s response to her Son:

“Whatever He says to you, do it”[2]

Rather than proposing the unorthodox and heretical idea that this passage shows us that Mary prays to the Son of God on behalf of believers, we see that this passage shows us Mary’s absolute submission to her Son as Almighty God and Lord of all – including Mary. Christ shows His mother no disrespect, He simply asks her what He asks all others:

“Who do you say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

This has led me to see my petitions in light of the Lord’s words: “What does your concern have to do with Me?” That is to say: Why am I eagerly seeking what I am seeking in prayer? And what will happen if the Lord does not grant my request? Will I bow to His Sovereignty and Lordship as Mary here does? Or will I turn away, in anger or disdain? In a word, the question: How much do I believe that the Lord truly is sovereign?

I’m praying that my heart would express the same submissiveness to the Lord Jesus that Mary’s did, that I would always see the Sovereignty of Christ first in all that I ask of Him.


[Notes on John (Pt. 12)]

[1] Cf. John 6:60-66

[2] 2:5


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