Remember the wedding where Jesus turned water into wine? In that culture of honor and shame, running out of wine would have been a significant embarrassment for the father of the bride. So Jesus’ mom, Mary, goes to him, asking what seems to be a totally innocent observation, “They have no more wine.” But hers was no innocent remark.
Jesus could have said, “Oh wow…bummer.” Or he could have looked at her with snide look, “Mom…everyone knows that.” As if Mary’s comment had nothing to do with him. But he knew his mom. He knew exactly what she was getting at. Maybe it was her tone of voice, maybe it was a twinkle in her eye. Mary was communicating that she knew Jesus could do something about the wine running out.
Notice Jesus’ response, “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” He totally knows what Mary is doing here. He knows that she wants him to do something about the lack of wine. She wants him to solve the problem that the father of bride is facing. What Jesus says next is fascinating, “My time has not yet come.” Even after his ministry got started, we find him often saying things like “Please keep quiet about this, my time has not yet come.” Jesus was patient, managing the pace of his ministry so that it stayed in line with the mission of God.
Back at the wedding in Cana, I find it fascinating that Mary chooses to disregard Jesus’ comment. You gotta love Mary in this story. I wonder if she was a bit of a fireball. Jesus says to her, “My time is not yet come.” He wants to keep his ministry on a particular pace, not too fast, not too slow, but reaching the finish line at just the right time. In other words, he is patient. He’s concerned that if he does a miracle, like changing the water into wine, it could result in something like him becoming popular too fast.
Mary, though, doesn’t even acknowledge this. I don’t know if she rolled her eyes at him, shrugged him off, or said, “Talk to the hand.” More than likely she just smiled at Jesus, and with a twinkle in her eye, she basically dismisses him. She dismissed Jesus! The Messiah. Mary ignores him. Is she being rude or sinful? No, I don’t believe so. She’s his mom. She is the only person who gets to ignore Jesus.
Notice, he didn’t say “No, I will no do this.” He simply said, “Why do you involve me? My time has not yet come.” Jesus invites a discussion, asking a question. Mary interprets Jesus’ response as him leaving the door open, that he might possibly help. What is so amazing to me is that she doesn’t interact with him. She doesn’t attempt to reason with him. She doesn’t attempt to get him to say, “OK, mom, fine…I’ll do it.” In fact, she doesn’t even answer his question to her, “Why do you involve me?”
Instead, Mary turns to the servants and simply says, “Do what he tells you.” How does Jesus respond? With a “Woah…mom…I told you, my time has not yet come. Why are disrespecting me? I’m not telling these servants anything. Geez, mom, don’t you know I have to be about my father’s business? I’m not getting involved in some wedding party.”??? No. Jesus follows his mom’s lead, tells the servants to fill some large jars with water and take the water to the master, who discovered it was the best wine. We see in this Jesus is not only patient for his mission, but he is very patient with his mom.
God is our example of patience. And it’s a good thing, because we humans need it. Imagine if God wasn’t patient with us!
Thankfully Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy 1:16, “I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.”
Peter points this out in 2 Peter 3:9 and 15 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. … Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.”
Because God is patient, he calls us to be like him. What, then, does it mean for us to grow patience in our lives? In the next post, we’ll learn more!