I remember growing up and hearing about the “Baptist” prohibition against drinking, dancing, and cards. It must not have only been the Baptists: the Presbyterian church that I attended hosted Square Dances for the kids. I always thought that was a way to sneak in dancing without really dancing.
Frankly, I’ve engaged in all three, to great delight.
It therefore stands out to me that Jesus’ first recorded miracle was turning water into wine!
Does that mean that Jesus was not a Baptist? Well, we read in the other gospels that John the Baptist didn’t drink and Jesus did… yuck yuck
Anyway, every time I read John 2:1-11, these few questions arise again in my mind:
- Mary told Jesus there was no more wine. What did she have in mind for him to do about it? Go out and buy a jug or two?
- Why did Jesus seem to address his mother with distance (i.e., “woman” or possibly “dear woman”), and
- Why did Jesus go ahead and turn the water into wine after saying “my hour has not yet come?”
As to question 1, who knows? My guess is that Mary respected Jesus enough to bring a problem to his attention, perhaps expecting a miracle (did he heal baby birds as a child?) or perhaps simply believing He would apply His great wisdom to address the problem at hand. I don’t recall reading any other explanation in the past (I taught through John twice) and my handy dandy Study Bibles shed no additional light.
I’ve resolved my issues with question 2. Jesus addressed Mary as he would any other woman in the culture – the term”woman” showed no disrespect. At the same time, he does not call her “mother.” Perhaps Jesus is distancing himself from Mary as family because He is moving into the new family of faith (as He points out in the other gospels).
Regarding question 3, I always get a kick out of this: Jesus says, “Why do you involve me?” to his mother, followed by the cryptic “My hour has not yet come.” And then Mary seems to ignore Jesus and tells the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Despite what seems a refusal to help on Jesus’ part, perhaps Mary apparently knows that’s not what he means. Maybe she’s gotten used to his non-sequiter sayings. Some commentaries say that Jesus is rebuffing Mary’s attempt to push him out of the Messianic closet – to move His career along – but that doesn’t feel right to me.
There’s more. Throughout John’s gospel, Jesus talks about “my hour” as the hour of His death on Calvary. We talked about this at dinner tonight, and to my shock, my 13 year old suggested there’s a link between the Cana wedding wine and the wine served at the Last Supper. You go, girl!
It sure isn’t the hour for that wine, yet, but perhaps it’s time for a hint in that direction. Maybe Jesus is saying “no” to Last Supper wine right now. Maybe this miracle is instead a sign pointing to the Cross and perhaps beyond to the celebration of our marriage to the Lamb. And of course it brings to mind the idea of new wine in new wine-skins and all that – the new Covenant.
And I did learn something new from the ESV Study Bible (which rocks – as I have written before). John follows this miracle saying that “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” (vs. 11).
This miracle was a sign – a sign that revealed who Jesus was, so much so that his disciples believed in Him. The Study Bible pointed out that John lists 5 or 6 more signs in his gospel (depending on how you count) that hint at Jesus’ Messiaship. (Sadly, the commentary also points out that this the first sign, which means Jesus probably did not heal any baby birds).
So this wine miracle wasn’t a full blown “The Messiah Has Arrived” coming out party – and it sure wasn’t the wine served at the Last Supper – but it was one of the signs that pointed the way to Jesus’ identity and eventually His death.
Sometimes I just like to think about these things.
Not particularly moving, but I guess I needed a change of pace after yesterday’s post…!
Today’s Readings: 1 Samuel 26:1-27:12, Psalm 60:6-12, Proverbs 16:4-5, John 2:1-25. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).