17-3-3 Mary At Cana
c. At Cana
The incident at Cana shows her lack of perception of the true nature
of her son’s work at that time. The mother of Jesus is said to
be there, and not to be called, as Jesus and his disciples
were (Jn. 2:1,2), which suggests that she was following Him around, fascinated
and prayerfully concerned as He began His ministry. He hadn't done any
miracles before, so was she asking Him to begin His ministry with a miracle?
She knew He had the power to do them- she had perceived that much. When
the Lord speaks about His hour not having yet come, He is clearly alluding
to His death. For this is how “the hour” is always understood in John’s
Gospel (Jn. 4:21, 23; 5:25, 28, 29; 7:30; 8:20; 12:23, 27; 13:1; 16:25;
17:1). So Jesus replies to Mary’s nudge ‘make them some wine!’ by saying
that the time for His death has not yet come. He assumes that by ‘wine’
she means His blood. He assumes she is on a higher level of spiritual
symbolism than she actually was. He wouldn’t have done this unless He
had previously communed with her on this level. But apparently she was
no longer up to it. She was correct in expecting Him to do a miracle [for
Cana was His beginning of miracles]; and she was right in thinking that
the need for wine was somehow significant. But she didn’t see the link
to His death. Her perception was now muddled. Yet even at this time, she
is not totally without spiritual perception. When she tells the servants
to do whatever Jesus says (Jn. 2:5), she is quoting from the LXX of Gen.
41:55, where Joseph’s word has to be obeyed in order to provide food for
the needy Egyptians. The world had ground her earlier spirituality away,
but not totally. For it would in due time revive, to the extent that she
would risk her life in standing by the Lord’s cross, and then later join
the early ecclesia (Acts 1:14).
" Whatsoever he saith unto you, do" (Jn. 2:5) uses three Greek
words which recur in Mt. 7:24,26: " Whosoever heareth these sayings
of mine, and doeth them" . Mary had heard these words but applies
them in a more material way rather than the spiritual, moral way which
Jesus intended. Is this another indication she had slipped from
her teenage intensity and spirituality by the time His ministry began?
Perhaps when Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and
to me? My hour has not yet come” (Jn. 2:4 RSV), He was trying to get her
back to spiritual mindedness and is frustrated with her low level of spiritual
perception. He tries to lead her back to a higher level by linking the
giving of wine with His hour which was to come, i.e. the cross. In Lk.
1 her song shows how spiritually perceptive she was- now she seems to
have lost that. She is concerned with the immediate and the material rather
than the spiritual. " Woman" was a polite form of public address,
but apparently it was unusual for a man to use it to his mother. The Lord
felt and stressed that separation between her and Him right now at the
start of His ministry, coming to a climax at His death where He told her
that He was no longer her son but John was. She must have been so
cut by this, if indeed as I have suggested it was the first time He had
said this to her.