by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller
His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” John 2:5 NASB
In John 2, Jesus and His disciples attended the now famous wedding at Cana. Mary approached Jesus about a horrible problem their hosts were having. In Jewish weddings, which lasted seven days, running out of food or wine was a shameful mark against the family. Mary told Jesus, “They have no wine.” Whether she believed her son would provide miraculously or just be resourceful enough to find more wine, we don’t know, but she trusted that Jesus could somehow help.
Jesus gave a somewhat surprising response: “Woman, what does this have to do with me?”
First, we need to understand why Jesus would call His mother Woman (John 2:4). In today’s world, this might be regarded as disrespectful and even mean-spirited. But we can be assured it was actually an endearment, from a second time Jesus addressed Mary from the cross: “Woman, behold, your son!” (John 19:26). In that moment, He was lovingly telling her that His apostle, John, would provide for her.
But then what does Jesus mean when He says, “What does this have to do with me?”
The meaning of this idiomatic phrase in other contexts in the Bible is, “We aren’t on common ground.” Or “Your perspective is entirely different than mine.” We can identify five reasons Jesus may have needed to point this out to His mother.
Motive. Mary desires to spare the couple embarrassment. Jesus has a bigger picture in mind: He desires his Father to be glorified.
Timing. Mary wants the wine problem to be solved immediately. Jesus was waiting on the Father to let Him know it was the right time to do His first public miracle.
Quality. Mary assumes he will merely replace the same kind of wine. Jesus provides something so superior the wedding coordinator is amazed.
Method. Mary tells the servants to do what he says. She trusted Him to do exactly the right thing. Her instruction to the servants was an expression of faith in the One who lived in consistent obedience to the Father. It was exactly what Jesus was waiting for.
Feelings. Based on her request, we must conclude she feels anxious. Is Jesus showing her a better way? The literal Greek of His response reads “What is that to me and to you?” He may have meant, “It’s not your responsibility, and it’s not mine.” Jesus was perfectly calm. He didn’t feel pressured by anyone, even His beloved mother. He would only do what His Father wanted. In that obedient relationship with Him, Jesus was filled with peace, confidence, and guidance.
We can learn a few things from Mary on this occasion:
- Like Mary, we can bring our concerns and cares before God. We can trust God will do the perfect thing.
- Like Mary, we can have faith Jesus can do anything. We don’t need to help Him, only follow His directions.
- Like Mary, we can direct our anxiety to God. He can bring us peace even in tense situations.
What God wants is for us to trust Him. He will respond to us with the same understanding that He did Mary, even as He calls us to deeper faith and godly living.
About the author: Kathy Collard Miller loves to assure God’s people of His understanding nature. She is a wife, mom, grandma, author, speaker, and lay counselor and lives in Southern California. Kathy has more than 55 published non-fiction books in genres like Bible studies, commentaries, Christian living and compiled books. She has spoken in more than 35 US States and 9 foreign countries. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com
Kathy’s most recent book is God’s Intriguing Questions: 60 New Testament Devotions Revealing Jesus’s Nature from which this devotion is excerpted. Kathy and her husband, Larry, of 50 years, co-wrote God’s Intriguing Questions.
Join the conversation: What principles or other stories from the Bible support your assurance that God is understanding?