Can you imagine Jesus ever acting contrary to God’s will? No! Never!
Marriage At Cana
John, chapter two, contains the story of the first recorded miracle of Jesus.
Jesus, His mother, and His friends were in Cana for a wedding. At some point, all the wine was consumed. The party was still going on, so Jesus’ mother told Him that the wine had run out.
“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”John 2:4 (NIV)
It seems Jesus does not want to be pulled into service here.
As a boy, Jesus had told His mother that He must be about His Father’s business (Luke 2:49). This business, that of saving humankind, was of greatest import.
Nothing could be allowed to distract Jesus from the plan of salvation.
The Contemporary English version renders it this way:
Jesus replied, “Mother, my time hasn’t yet come! You must not tell me what to do.”John 2:4 (CEV)
Jesus is telling His mother that God’s plan does not include Him revealing His power at this moment in time.
My hour has not yet come.
You must not tell me what to do.
Jesus is reminding her that there is a divine, heavenly plan, a plan that has been in place since time began. This well-thought-out, meticulously plotted plan includes specific steps and events in time that will culminate in the salvation of humankind.
Whenever this plan has been threatened in the past, God intervened with emergency measures to make sure the plan continued. The Old Testament is full of stories where God had to intervene in the affairs of man to make sure the avenue for Messiah was open and clear.
At one point, God flooded the entire world to make sure just one loyal man survived.
It is the prominent plan of God that will save not only humankind, but draw all to Him (John 12:32).
The Father’s plan to save humankind does not include my helping with this wine situation.
The controversy for Jesus is to obey His heavenly Father’s will or His earthly mother’s will.
A Glimpse of Honor
Jesus has informed His mother that the current struggle is not His concern, and that His Father’s plan does not call for Jesus to reveal His divine nature at this time. We, of course, have no idea of how God was going to reveal Jesus’ divine connection to the world.
Was a healing to be the first miraculous act of Jesus? Would a resurrection be more effective?
Whatever it was to be, Jesus informs His mother that providing a refreshing beverage for a wedding feast was not it.
Here is how Jesus’ mother responds:
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”John 2:5 (NIV)
She completely ignores what He says and turns to speak to nearby servants.
“Jesus,” she seems to be saying, “I am your mother. You will do what I say.”
I have always heard about the tenacity of Jewish mothers. I’m not sure if the stereotype is true, but here I see a bold mother asking something of her Son, despite the plans of God.
Jesus’ mother knows who Jesus is in the whole scheme of things. She has been raising this child since birth to love the Lord with all His heart, soul, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). She knows He is the Messiah promised to save humankind. She knows the Father has a plan for her Son. Yet, she needed something here that she would not let go.
There is nothing sinful in the request. There is nothing sinful about the requested act. It is simply not on God’s schedule for Jesus.
Despite having the full power and confidence of the Father’s plan guiding Him, Jesus obeys His mother.
The God Of Plan B
At the insistence of Jesus’ mother, God integrates her request into His plan.
This is a precious view of God’s love and respect and honor for mothers. Jesus honors His mother’s request, according to the commandment (Exodus 20:12), and alters His Father’s divine plan.
There is nothing unusual about God making accommodation for earthly circumstances. Many times in the Old Testament, God changed His plans at the request of one of His friends.
God is, you could say, the God of Plan B. He has a Plan A. It is the perfect plan. It is the plan that gets everything done most efficiently with the least amount of suffering and the greatest number saved.
But He knows that He is working with free will creatures. We have our own thoughts and ideas. God does not coerce. He does not force. If He were to enact His plans without regard to anyone else, He would be a dictator.
So, God asks us to “come and reason” with Him (Isaiah 1:18). He invites our input. The whole point of our salvation is to make us into the kinds of people who could be trusted to choose love every time. We are not puppets. Robots, puppets, and slaves cannot choose love.
We are free-will creatures. God desires us to obtain a loving character just like His so we can be trusted with autonomy.
So long as our request does not violate God’s law of love, God can accommodate us. And sometimes He does.
The God of Love and Reason
I absolutely adore this story about Jesus and His mom. I imagine Jesus smiling in amazement at His mother’s boldness before the throne.
You and I can move God’s hand just as well. But we need to have a relationship with God. We need to receive His glory–His character of love–into ourselves so that our thoughts and motivation and behavior is always from a place of love.