The Miracle at the Wedding

“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee.  Jesus mother was there and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.  When the wine was gone, Jesus mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”  “Woman, why do you involve me?”  Jesus replied, “My time has not yet come.”  His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”  Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.  Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.  Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the maser of the banquet.”  They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.  He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew.  Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

John 2:1-10

Why would Jesus call his mother “Woman”?  Why not call her “Mum” or “Mother”?  and why, if he said “My time has not yet come”, would he go ahead and perform a miracle?

Use of the term “woman” has to do with the translation. English has too few words sometimes. The word translated as “woman” was not a term of disrespect in Aramaic. It would be better translated “My dear lady”, or “Dear Madame”. In my own use of English, children are taught to say “Yes Ma’am” as a term of respect to their mothers, grandmothers, and all adult women. What is translated “Woman” is likely similar. Jesus used the same term when addressing other women for whom he performed miracles, and again for his mother when He addressed her from the cross.

What Jesus meant by “my time is not yet come”, is puzzling to many commentators. It probably does not mean he changed God the Father’s timing to suit the human needs of the situation. It may mean (1) He was reminding his mother that God’s timing is not our timing, and he would always move in God’s timing, or (2) the wine was almost gone, and he desired to wait awhile until the wine was completely gone, so there could be no doubt about his miraculous provision. In any case, he cared very much about the deep social embarrassment the family would suffer if the wine ran out. While some might think Jesus was only concerned about more serious things, he also cared about the hunger of crowds in the wilderness when he provided bread and fish for them.   A third possibility was God the Father indicated to him it was indeed time to begin his public ministry of miracles, showing us that the Father cares about our earthly needs, however seemingly small in the great scheme of things.

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