When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
One of the things that is so easy to forget about people is that they have mothers. Mothers play a crucial role in shaping the life, virtues, image, and habits of their children. Jesus had a mother who brought him up in the grace and truth of God’s word. I hope you had a mother like that. I thank God that I do, and that my kids do. But if you did not, there are some godly women here that would happily serve as a spiritual mother for you.
Now, even when Jesus was a thirty year old man, he and his mother still had a good and healthy relationship. But in this story we see mother and son working out the kinks of their relationship. When Mary sees that there is no more wine, she tells Jesus about it. And every son knows what she meant. “You need to do something about it.”
Now, Jesus is no longer a boy; he is a man. Furthermore, he is the God-man on mission to save the world. He has bigger concerns on his mind than wine, and he lets her know that in the way only a son can. “Woman, what does this have to do with me?”
Mary sees this as a chance for him to show who he is and what he can do. But Jesus gently pushes back and says, “This is not on my time table.”
Like a good mother, she totally ignores him and responds, “Whatever.”
Actually, she tells the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Mothers, if you don’t remember anything else, remember this. There is no better advice, counsel, instruction under heaven that you can give your sons and daughters than this. “Do whatever Jesus tells you.”
And, children, you should obey your mother (and father) in the Lord so that things will go well with you.
Now, lots of ink has been spilled on why Jesus called his mother woman. Most commentators agree that it sounds rude to our ears, but apparently it did not sound rude to Mary’s ears. She took it all in stride.
So why woman instead of mother? Brace yourselves. Are you ready for this?
Dr Michael Reeves (President of Union School of Theology and Professor of Systematic Theology) points out that in John’s Gospel, “when Jesus calls his mother “woman,” he might be hinting that he is the seed of the woman who has come to crush the serpent.” (Source: via facebook, on March 4, 2016)
In other words, he might be echoing God’s promise from Genesis 3:15 — thus hinting that he is the dragon-slayer.
Need more convincing proof?
Later on in John’s Gospel, when Jesus was hanging on the cross, he saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, and he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” (19:26)
Now, why would he say that?
She knew what he had come into the world to do. She knew that someday his hour would come. She’s been nudging him along. She’s his number one fan. She’s the best cheerleader. She’s the one wanting him to accomplish all these things. And in the moment when it looks like he’s not accomplished any of those things, Jesus says, “Woman, behold your son.”
Woman, look at your seed! The promise is fulfilled. Now, watch me crush the serpent!
From the Garden of Eden to the Garden tomb, every man and woman watched and waited and wept for the seed of woman to come. They were seeking the savior of the world even with tears. So, after his resurrection from the dead, Jesus said to his friend Mary, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” (20:15)
The search is over. The seed of the woman has come and slain the dragon. So there is no more need to watch, wait, or weep.
Jesus had a clearer perspective on these things than we realize.
At one point Jesus explains, “When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a man has been born into the world.” (John 16:21 cf Genesis 3:15; 4:1)
That’s true in a general biological sense, and it’s true in a special theological sense.
Now that the woman’s hour has come, now that the God-man has been born into the world, the woman may forget her anguish and pain.
Why? For she will be delivered by the dragon-slayer whom she delivered.
No woman understood this better than the woman who gave birth to the Word made flesh, the God-man whom she washed with water and nursed with milk when he was a baby.
So, when Jesus asks his mother, “Woman, what does this have to do with me?” She could have easily answered, “Everything son. Everything.”
Updated: Post-Script added 3/29
Today, I stumbled upon this insightful post by Catholic author and blogger Ginny Kubitz Moyer:
Many scholars have pointed out that this is not the only time that Jesus calls Mary “woman. “ When he is dying on the cross, he indicates the beloved disciple and says to Mary, “Woman, behold your Son.” (John 19:26). The fact that the same form of address is used both at the beginning and end of Jesus’ public ministry has a symbolic significance and helps link two important events in Jesus’ life. As the National Conference of Catholic Bishops explain in their pastoral letter Behold Your Mother: Woman of Faith:
“In the Gospel of St. John, the Mother of Jesus appears at Cana and Calvary, the beginning and the end of her Son’s public life. Both times Jesus addresses her as ‘woman.’ Each scene turns on a special ‘hour.’ At Cana, the hour refers to the beginning of the messianic ministry that ‘has not yet come’ (John 2:4), yet which commences in this ‘first of his signs’ that Jesus worked at Mary’s request. At Calvary, we have the arrival of the great Johannine hour when Jesus ‘will be lifted up and draw all men’ to himself (John12:32). It is moreover ‘on the third day’ that the wedding feast takes place, and ‘the third day’ is the fulfillment of the sacred time of the Paschal Mystery. What began at Cana achieved its consummation on Calvary.”
Source: Busted Halo