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Sep 19 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

September 16, 2012 – John 2:1-11

Why Did Jesus Say That?

When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.” John 2:3-4

INTRO: Last week we began looking at statements Jesus made in John’s Gospel and asking,“Why did Jesus say that?”

This week brings us to a small village not far from Nazareth
– it is not on any major road
• it sits on a hilltop, where the homes are clustered close together
• descending from the village, the hillside is terraced, like steps, where they planted olive orchards and vineyards
– the valley below Cana, is one of most fertile in Galilee

We arrive here on a good day – a wedding feast is being celebrated
– elderly people are sitting under shade trees, children are chasing each other, and of course the bride and groom are being paraded around and given lots of hugs and mazal tov
– there are also several widows in attendance – not sad-looking, “poor me” women, but take-charge types
• one of them plays an important role in the story, though she is not named
• she is simple referred to as “the mother of Jesus”
– Jesus also was invited, along with five or six of his first disciples

I find it fascinating, John does not use Mary’s name

From the cross, Jesus committed Mary into John’s care
– according to tradition, John took Mary with him to Ephesus after Jesus’ resurrection
– Ephesus was home to temple of Artemis – a very popular goddess in Greek culture
• in Acts 19 we learn that Artemis posed a significant challenge to Christianity in that area
– when disagreement broke out among early theologians regarding the title of Mary’s role in the birth of Jesus, it was resolved at the Council of Ephesus in the year 431 A.C.E.
• the orthodox title given to her was Theotokos – God bearer

It’s impossible to think that John did not know Mary very well or that he was not close to her
– yet he prefers to identify her as “the mother of Jesus” rather than by name
– I wonder if John and Mary agreed to hide themselves, to use refer to themselves only in their relationship to Jesus and to keep the emphasis on Jesus rathe
• therefore Mary’s name is not used in John, but she is “the mother of Jesus,” and John does not mention his own name, but refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (e.g., 13:23)

But returning to Cana . . .

The feast is suddenly tottering on the edge of social disaster
– perhaps because the widows took over organizing the reception, they were the first to know
• Mary hurried over to her Son and said, “They have no wine”
○ it sounds like she’s simply informing him, but he gets the point
• for some reason, moms always assume their son and his friends can fix problems

Jesus responded to her with two idioms
1. “What to Me and you” (literal)
2. “My hour has not yet come”

Before we go there, I want to know why he didn’t say “Mom”
– soon, we’ll find Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman, whom he will also address as “Woman”
• later on, a woman will be dragged before Jesus in the temple, and he will  address her as “Woman”
– as for Mary, after the wedding she follows Jesus to Capernaum, but then disappears from the story until the cross
• there, again, he will address her as “Woman” and tell her “behold, your son!” — not referring to himself, but to John
• then, after the resurrection, Jesus finds Mary Magdalene near his empty tomb and he addresses her as “Woman”

What we don’t have when reading these episodes is the tone of Jesus’ voice
– he did not say woman without affection or tenderness
• nevertheless, it does have the effect of depersonalizing his relationship with each of them
with the other women, the informal “woman” it defuses any potential romantic or sexual tension
• he keeps the relation strictly professional
• this is especially important with the woman at well
○ first because of the Old Testament type-scene, where men met their wives at a well
○ secondly, because she had so many men, Jesus’ intentions could have been misconstrued
with his mother, the informal “woman” breaks down her attachment to him
• that is, the normal role a son would play in relationship to his mother
• he sets aside any claims she might have on him – any expectations she might feel entitled to impose

One more aspect to this that I find interesting
– only once in John’s Gospel does Jesus allow himself to address a woman by her name
• when he found Mary Magdalene near his grave, he asked her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
• she explained about the body of her Lord being missing, asks where it is, and volunteers to take it away and tend to it
• then Jesus said just one word to her – he spoke her name, “Mary”
○ she cried, “Teacher!” and the next moment she was clinging to him
– that’s as far as I’ll go with that moment between them, because it is too sacred and intimate for speculation

Why did Jesus say, “What to Me and you?”

As I said, this phrase is a Hebrew idiom
– that is, a figure of speech where words aren’t defined by their literal meaning
• examples: “Kick the bucket,” “Piece of cake,” “Under the weather”
– it’s rhetorical – a statement, not a real question

Several examples:
1. Ge. 23:15, Abraham haggling for a grave, when the price comes up, Ephron asks, “What is that between me and you” — an insincere gesture of generosity
• on the surface, it sounds like he is saying, “Don’t worry about it”
2. 2 Sam. 16:10, David, “What have I to do with you sons of Zeruiah?” (referring to the brothers Joab and Abishai)
• he is saying, what is there between us?
• he wanted to dissociate himself from their violence
3. Mt. 8:29, a demon screamed at Jesus, “What business do we have with each other?”
• what do we have in common?
4. Jn. 22:21, Jesus asks a question that has a  similar meaning, “What is that to you?”
• i.e., It’s none of your business

Jesus is saying one of two things to his mother (or both):
– what is there between us, that gives you the right to control Me?
– it’s not our concern that their wine ran out

I’m glad Jesus didn’t stop here – the next line helps explain what he meant

Why did Jesus say, “My hour has not yet come”?

Jesus mentions his hour several times – it was always on his mind
– as an idiom or figure of speech, it stands for what is done in an hour
– not only a specific moment, but an event that is specific to that moment

In his coming hour, Jesus would be glorified and God would glorified in him
– it was the hour of his death and resurrection

This wedding was not that hour and providing wine was not the event

Did Mary even hear him?

Did she ignore him? Or did she discern in his response an open door
– I think she heard him – but I also think she knew, this would be last time she’d have any influence over him
(even still, I think what she did was sort of manipulative)

John tells us why the stone water pots were there
– Jewish practice of ritual purification
– Jesus gives servants two simple instructions
• dip ladle into water pot, pour into cup, and take it to the headwaiter
• the headwaiter takes cup as it is handed to him without missing a beat in the conversation he is having with one of the guests
○ he takes a sip, pauses, gets a quizzical expression on his face
○ then he takes another sip to confirm what his palate is telling him
And then excuses himself and rushes over to the groom and raves about how good the wine that they have just uncorked tastes

This is certainly an odd miracle – unlike any other
– that Jesus performed it, reveals there are things he cares about besides sin, paralysis, blind eyes, deaf ears, and exorcizing demons
– Jesus was not simply there at the wedding — he was never simply anywhere
• he was always Savior, Healer, Teacher, and Lord
– Jesus made a lot of wine, and he made a very good wine

But still, it was not his hour, so the miracle was kept secret
– not even the headwaiter knew where the servants got the wine

CONC: Is the point of the story, Jesus saved a party?

That’s not what the disciples got from it
– this is Jesus’ “first” miracle – John is counting the miracles and he is building his story on them
• the miracle involved a transmutation of elements, and in making it happen, his glory shines through
• it is a re-creation, so to speak – which takes us back to first chapter of John
Jn. 1:1, “In the beginning” – this is an intentional link with Genesis and the creation story
– in the next chapter, Jesus will say that “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God”
• a person must be re-created to see what Jesus has brought into the world

Jesus wants to do with us what he did with the water
– what only he can do – to work a transformation
– there are probably some people who are saints from birth, always God-centered, always devout
• but not us – we aren’t saints by nature, we’re only water — we need the miracle of re-creation

In fact, because we have not been saints from birth, we need to keep going back to the beginning
• that’s because we keep taking over, and every time we do, we mess up
– so how do we apply for the miracle? How is the water of our soul going to be transformed into wine? What do we do?

Mary gives us the answer when she “said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it.’

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