Hunkered Down Devotion

John 2:1-12 (Voice)
2 Three days later, they all went to celebrate a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was invited 2 together with Him and His disciples. 3 While they were celebrating, the wine ran out; and Jesus’ mother hurried over to her son.
Mary: The host stands on the brink of embarrassment; there are many guests, and there is no more wine.
Jesus: 4 Dear woman, is it our problem they miscalculated when buying wine and inviting guests? My time has not arrived.
5 But she turned to the servants.
Mary: Do whatever my son tells you.
6 In that area were six massive stone water pots that could each hold 20 to 30 gallons.[a] They were typically used for Jewish purification rites. 7 Jesus’ instructions were clear:
Jesus: Fill each water pot with water until it’s ready to spill over the top; 8 then fill a cup, and deliver it to the headwaiter.
They did exactly as they were instructed. 9 After tasting the water that had become wine, the headwaiter couldn’t figure out where such wine came from (even though the servants knew), and he called over the bridegroom in amazement.
Headwaiter: 10 This wine is delectable. Why would you save the most exquisite fruit of the vine? A host would generally serve the good wine first and, when his inebriated guests don’t notice or care, he would serve the inferior wine. You have held back the best for last.
11 Jesus performed this miracle, the first of His signs, in Cana of Galilee. They did not know how this happened; but when the disciples and the servants witnessed this miracle, their faith blossomed.
12 Jesus then gathered His clan—His family members and disciples—for a journey to Capernaum where they lingered several days.

What a great story this is.  Really, I just love it.  All in one, relatively, brief episode we see both Jesus’ humanity and his divinity, and we get a glimpse of the things that matter to him.
First, we see Jesus divinity in the miracle – the first that is recorded in scripture – and what is regarded as the start of his public ministry.  The miracle not only demonstrates Jesus’ power, but it also points to the kinds of things that matter to God.  

This isn’t a miracle that saved a life, rather it saved the embarrassment of the host and the reputation of the new couple.  This miracle didn’t feed the hungry, instead it kept wine glasses full.   While it may seem strange that Jesus’ first miracle was not some grand, important gesture, I think it speaks volumes.  This is a message to all of us that God is interested, God cares about our daily lives, fellowship, friendship, and community matter to Jesus.  What a wonderful message for Jesus to send with this first miracle.

All of that is wonderful, truly, but what is most interesting to me in this passage is the personal, human interaction between Jesus and his mother, Mary.  The first thing to note, is that Jesus sometimes gets accused of disrespect in this interaction – the common translation of verse 4, where he addresses her as ‘woman’ doesn’t help – but that isn’t accurate.  The actual word he uses would be something closer to, ‘Ma’am’.  

I can’t help smiling as I read the interaction between Jesus and his mother because it is so human, so normal.  Jesus, with the appropriate respect, shows a bit of exasperation with his mother’s request – as children are wont to do, when their parents ask something of them.  And then Mary, doesn’t seem to bat an eye at Jesus’ response and is completely undeterred… and verse 5 is the most sublime piece of ‘mothering’ possibly in the entirety of scripture, as her response to Jesus’ seeming refusal is to turn to the servants and tell them to ‘do whatever he tells you’.  

In a way this is the first confession of faith in Jesus.  The faith of a mother, that her son will do the right thing.  Jesus, as always, is the perfect example for us as children of God – a loving child, faithfully following the call of heavenly parent.
Sharing God’s Love,

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for the human example you set for us of what it means to be a good and faithful child.  Help us follow your lead.  Amen.

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