I recently was given the pleasure, as well as the honor, of officiating my niece’s wedding in Austin, Texas in the beginning of May 2015. What a beautiful place! In the message portion of the wedding ceremony, I expanded on the story of the wedding at Cana where Jesus turned water into wine. It is one of those well-known and oft-recited miracles in the Bible, but it took on a completely new meaning for me recently. One that rocked my world. Two things struck me like a flash of light . . . The first miracle ever performed by Jesus was for family. Not only for family was it done, but it was done at the request of a family member, for a family member. Let us not overlook that Jesus initially said no, and then relented (this will be important later). Secondly, I saw the interaction Jesus [as a man] had with a woman. The gender implications were huge, amazing, curious, interesting, and quite humorous the deeper I examined and imagined how the scene might play out.
Can you imagine Jesus at your family gathering? How would He act? What would He say? Would He keep to himself or draw people to interaction and relationship?
At the Wedding in Cana, we get a glimpse of Jesus (who we know is still God) being a human mortal man, interacting with the mortal woman Mary. We see Jesus as a good, mortal human man in an everyday setting. When he showed up, He was not acting as Messiah or in any divine capacity. It was not yet His time. Yet we see Him as this perfect example of a human man when responding to gender differences.
We can also see a poignant, intimate moment as Jesus behaves as a mortal man in a family interaction. Once His ministry is in full swing, we rarely see Jesus as anything but the Son of God. What a rarity in the gospel that we get to see this moment. Before revealing His divinity, He was perfect as a mortal man. At the wedding in Cana He is the Son of God but also the son of Mary. This family moment gives us a rare glimpse into Jesus as a man, a son, and as a God who loves. We can glean so very much from this small interaction.
Let’s read the story as if we were there. This event is an enduring one in the lives of humans. Weddings have been happening since long before Jesus came and will continue through the end of time—with the biggest wedding feast of all! This wedding in Cana is about the most human event He could participate in, and it is about as human as we will see Jesus. He and His friends (disciples) were simply attending a wedding as guests. Nothing more. He does not reveal His divinity until the end of the story.
John 2:1-11 states that when the party ran out of wine, Jesus’s mother (unnamed in John’s Gospel) told Jesus, “They have no wine,” and Jesus replied, “O Woman, what has this to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother then said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:3-5). Jesus ordered the servants to fill containers with water and to draw out some and take it to the chief steward. After tasting it, without knowing where it came from, the steward remarked to the bridegroom that he had departed from the custom of serving the best wine first by serving it last (John 2:6-10). John adds that “Jesus did this, the first of His signs, in Cana of Galilee and it revealed His glory and His disciples believed in Him (John 2:11).”
Let’s look at different translations to get a deeper, broader, and more intimate look at this interaction. I like to look at several translations, particularly for this one, as a way to hear the tone, the implicit emotions, and tenor of this particularly special, and very “telling,” moment in time.
In the Voice, Jesus says, “Dear woman, is it our problem they miscalculated when buying wine and inviting guests? My time has not arrived.” In the Message, He says, “Is that any of our business, Mother—yours or mine? This isn’t my time. Don’t push me.” The Living Bible: “I can’t help you now. It isn’t yet my time for miracles.” The Good News Translation: “You must not tell me what to do,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” New International Version: “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” New King James Version: “Woman, what does your concern have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”
The first revelation about this story? It was all about family.
We see in this reading that the first miracle God performed on earth was for a family situation, in a family, and for a family. God loves families, and we are His family. What we see in the story of Cana is that Mary had a need, and to her it was significant! She needed a miracle; if Jesus didn’t do something, it wouldn’t get done. Families are extremely important to God, and we are His family. He is willing and wanting to perform miracles in our families and our lives.
Yet Jesus did not initially want to do anything about the problem. Jesus said, “What concern is this of mine?” Maybe it wasn’t a concern of his, maybe he was looking at the bigger picture, and the need for wine was insignificant in the bigger picture, but is was very important, very significant to Mary, and so she went to the one person who could make it happen.
The directive here for us is this: We need to go to the one person that can make what “we think” is significant happen, and to believe that it is significant to Him. Go to the one person that has the ability to make happen what we need to have happen.
Why? Because we are his family, and He loves family.
Another revelation? Jesus modeled the perfect role of human man.
This interaction was a unique glimpse into Jesus as a man. His statement, “This is no concern of mine,” reveals that He was not worried about the wine running out. He didn’t see the need and wasn’t pulled by the concern, but He did fulfill the need.
This was Him being the perfect man, because He was hardwired as a human man. Men, in their hardwiring, do not pick up globally on concerns the way women do. Their brains are constantly scanning for danger rather than relational or inter-personal problems. Woman are community-minded. Men are not. When Mary came to Him with her concern, He opened that box and made her concern His because she cared about it. Jesus was showing a gender difference, yet He showed it perfectly.
Mary trusted Him to take care of it or to let it go. She wasn’t going to fight it or contend, but she just wanted to let him know. She was willing to let it NOT happen as well. It was Jesus’s choice. He was not bullied, nagged, or provoked into action. He had Mary’s trust. No bargaining involved. No manipulation.
Jesus understood that the wine problem was of great concern to her, it mattered to her, so He made it His concern! Not only did He make it His concern, but He did more for her than she asked. He didn’t talk her out of the need, or belittle the need, or do it begrudgingly, but He gave her more wine than she needed and created wine that was of the highest quality.
This is Jesus role modeling for men; it is a lesson for men. There are many things that are of no concern to men, but are of GREAT concern to the women in your life. Jesus is considered the groom, and we are the bride. Men, if it concerns her, it needs to concern you. If she comes to you with a concern, and it doesn’t concern you, you need to make it your concern and help her.
Jesus helped Mary. He entered into her life and made her life important to Him; He helped her in what she was trying to achieve. Jesus was acting in the capacity of a good mortal man as He led and protected and provided for Mary. Men, for the women in your lives—you are the leader, the protector, the provider, the covering—all in varying degrees. . . follow the lead of your Savior and help her. You can be a good mortal man.
In the same way, we as women need to go the men in our lives and not expect them to always know what concerns us, or is important to us, or to even understand why it’s important to us. Furthermore, we shouldn’t be so easily offended or judgmental when they don’t understand or notice the things that we deem important. We must not attribute a negative character quality to a man simply because they don’t understand the importance of what we saw.
Mary didn’t get offended when Jesus said to her, “What concern is this of mine?” She simply stated her concern, and said to the head servant, “Do whatever Jesus tells you to do.” She trusted who He was, and He didn’t let her down! We can follow the example of Mary and be good mortal women and not complicate things unnecessarily.
Many times, we as women ask for help and then help the men in our lives help us! In the same way, how many times do we ask for God’s help and then “help” Him, and tell Him what to do for us? We are all guilty of this at one time or another.
However, Mary didn’t say, “It’s just not working; fix it,” or “I need beverages,” and then expect Jesus to know what type of beverage. He may have initially objected because it was not yet His time, but He did what she asked. And what is even more remarkable is that He went above and beyond what she what she requested, making it better and more impressive than she could have imagined! He did MORE than what she asked, immeasurably more (Ephesians 3:20).
This is love.
She made her request known, specifically known, and then believed in both His willingness and ability to do it. It was odd that she would go to Jesus for this concern, but she went to Him because she knew He was able to do it. Then He told the servants what to do.
When we go to Him first, He directs His servants in what to do.
Another revelation? We need to go to the One who can truly understand and address our concerns.
This is so, so important for us to understand. When we have a need or concern or problem, we must go to the one person that will make what we think is significant, significant to Him. Go to the one person that has the ability to make what we need to have happen, happen.
Jesus’s miracle—that came about before His time—met and even exceeded Mary’s need. He made her look good in front of everyone she cared about in her community, even though that was not her intention. She simply saw a need. Imagine how proud she was of her son as He stepped in and took on her concern. The abundant overflow of Jesus being a good man was how really good Mary must have looked when she was able to deliver the best wine at the end of the wedding celebration. His first miracle was one of excellence and abundance, which truly reveals the heart of God!
God wants to do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine. You simply need to let your concerns be known and trust Him with the rest.
“Do whatever He tells you.” Make your concerns known to God, then believe that He will direct His servants to address your concerns, just as He did at Cana.
Ask for the miracle, and trust that He knows what you really need.
Family is important to God, and you are His family!