Jesus’ First Sign: Water to Wine (Part 2)

2. The Faux Pas

So what did the bridegroom do the year between his engagement and the wedding feast? All year long he would work to prepare a place for his bride to live, often a room added onto his father’s home. He also saved to pay for the wedding. All of this to prove to his future father-in-law that he had what it takes to provide for his daughter once she became his wife! Do you get where this story is headed? The feast is in full swing and everyone is having a great time when the wine runs out. That presents a problem.

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John MacArthur writes, “Maybe he can’t plan! That’s what we fathers who marry off our daughters fear. Maybe he’s all smoke and mirrors and doesn’t know how to earn a living? I hope my little girl isn’t going to be forced to bring home the bacon!” They ran out of wine in the middle of the biggest celebration this couple would ever have—a huge embarrassment with a question mark hanging over the head of this young groom. Verse 3 says: “When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.’”

Why do you suppose she’d say that to Him? Many preachers say she was expecting Him to do a miracle. But why would she expect that? Had He ever done a miracle before? No! Verse 11 says this was “the first of the signs” Jesus did. So there’s no reason to expect Him to do something He’d never done. The simplest answer is the best. Whenever Mary had a problem, who did she always turn to? Jesus, of course! He became head of the household after Joseph died, and He never had a bad idea or made a wrong decision in His life! He always led her in the right direction and had the perfect solution to every problem. If anything ever went wrong, He knew why and how to fix it. He was the smartest, wisest, kindest, and most resourceful who ever lived! And He lived right there in her home. So who else would she turn to with this problem?

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But that isn’t how a son should talk to his mother, is it? Jesus says to her in verse 4, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” Why such harsh words for the mother He loved? First, they weren’t as harsh as they sound. For one thing, He said this to her in private, not publicly to embarrass her. Remember that the next time you have to correct someone you love. Wait until you’re alone with them to say it instead of out loud for the whole world to hear. That is what Jesus taught in Matthew 18:15. Go to them in private and try to resolve things between the two of you before you let anyone else know about it. Tone of voice also makes a difference, and I’m sure He said this as gently as He could. And He was polite! “Women” is the same word He uses at the cross to entrust His widowed mother into John’s care. Pointing to John, He said, “Woman, behold your son!” We have no equivalent in English but what He was gently saying was, “Dear Lady, what does your concern have to do with Me?”

Why didn’t He call her “Mother?” To remind her that their relationship has forever changed! For 30 years Jesus has been about His mother’s business, submitting to her authority in His life. But now, with the cross looming before Him, He has just 3 years to be about His Father’s business. His disciples, including His mother, didn’t understand that until after His resurrection. But He had to let her know that from this point on, His only concern was the mission on which His Father God sent Him and nothing, not even familial relationships—could stand in His way. He gave her an earlier warning of this in Luke chapter 2, you’ll remember, when He was 12 years old and they left Him in the Temple. She scolded Him for worrying her. But He reminded her, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

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Later He reminded her again when she and his brothers stood outside a home where He was teaching, wanting to talk with Him. He replied, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” Pointing to His disciples, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in Heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” Isn’t that good news? We who love Jesus and do the will of His Father in Heaven are His brothers and sisters and mother. So He wasn’t being unkind, but it had to be said. “I am the Son of God on a mission, and I can’t let anything (not even love of My mother) get in the way.” And thank God He didn’t, for if He had, He wouldn’t have gone to the cross and we wouldn’t be saved!

Nor was Mary offended. She may not have understood the point Jesus was making, but  she knew her Son is and she trusted Him. For what did she immediately tell the servants? Verse 5: “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Good advise, isn’t it? Whatever Jesus tells you to do, do it! You know how much grief we would be spared if we took that advice? So what does Jesus tell them to do? That’s part 3 of this drama. We’ve been to the feast. We’ve witnessed the faux pas. Next we’ll see Him perform His first miraculous feat.

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