Second Sunday after the Epiphany January 17, 2016
A wedding in Cana
In today’s assigned Gospel lesson we have the story of the wedding at Cana. This first recorded miracle of Jesus can be found only in John’s Gospel.
Jesus is told by his mother that they have run out of wine. We may not see this as a big problem, but in that culture it would have been a huge embarrassment. For them wine symbolized joy, and to run out of wine meant losing some of the joyfulness of a wedding. Even though Jesus is the Son of God, he still listens to his mother when she points something out to him.
In response to what his mother has just said, Jesus says, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4). If I were to refer to my mother as “woman,” I would be in a world of hurt. To me it seems to be very impersonal and disrespectful. However, in that culture, to refer to her as woman was something that showed tremendous respect. Jesus addresses his mother as “woman” another time (John 19:26), an example of the greatest tenderness and strong affection.
Once we get past the word “woman,” we realize that Jesus says to her, “My hour has not yet come.” What is particularly peculiar about this is that, after Jesus says this, he does what his mother is wanting him to do. We could wonder again if Jesus is being disrespectful by asking, “What concern is that to you and me?” Or could it be that Jesus just does not yet want to perform miracles in front of people? Could this be an example of the messianic secret? Whatever the reasoning, Jesus does what his mother is suggesting, and the water is turned into wine.
What could have been a huge embarrassment for the wedding family is averted. Joy remains. Jesus continues today to bring joy to our lives in many and various ways.
Bruce Nelson, pastor, Lake Mills Moravian Church, Lake Mills, Wisconsin