Reading for Second Sunday after Epiphany: John 2:1-11
Peace be with you!
Time measures our moments, our achievements, our failures, and everything in-between. Time indicates where we should be and what we should be doing by organizing our days, weeks, months, and decades into intervals. As children, we attend school and learn about meeting deadlines, making goals, and meeting the expectations of others. Upon graduating from high school, we enter college and/or the workforce. By our mid-20s and early 30s, most individuals settle down into a career, get married, and/or start families. Into our 50s and 60s, we begin caring for our elderly parents and maybe become grandparents. Of course, this timeline is ideal and presents the ordinary progression of life, which does not account for extraordinary life circumstances. I find myself about a decade ahead of my generation since I already help care for my stepdad and have settled into my own home. Time is different for each individual based on his or her own life circumstances, though there is also a natural progression of what should happen next.
In the Gospel of John, we jump right into Jesus’s ministry. In the first chapter, Jesus is baptized and calls his disciples. In the reading for today, Mary and Jesus are attending a wedding in the town of Cana in Galilee when the hosts run out of wine. Mary goes to Jesus and tells him to do something about it (John 2:3). She knows Jesus is meant to do wondrous things for the world, and surely he can spare the host the embarrassment of running out of wine. We are led to assume Mary is helping in the kitchen and has authority over the servants, especially when she instructs them to do whatever Jesus says (John 2:5).
However, Jesus’s responses to Mary’s plead for help, “Women, what concern is that to you and to me?” (John 2:4a NRSV). To the reader, it seems like a harsh response for a son to say to his mother. Yet Jesus is creating distance between his mother and himself, because yes, he is human, but he is also divine—meaning only God the Father has ultimate authority over his actions. It does not mean Jesus is not affectionate to his mother for later he asks his beloved disciple to watch over her when he dies on the cross. In this instance, we see Jesus creating a boundary between his humanity and his divinity.[i]
Everyone experiences moments in their lives when they have to distance themselves from an individual who does not act according to their faith or moral codes. It does not mean we do not care about the individual anymore, but we simply have to create healthy boundaries between ourselves and those individuals and/or things that try to separate us from God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I find myself easily influenced by people around me. I will pick up behaviors and talk like others. Over the past year, I have learned to “check” myself and be more true to my faith and to myself. When I find myself acting like someone else, I find myself stopping myself and saying, “No, this is not me. I need to act like myself.” Sometimes it takes a talk with my mom to see my fault, but yet it feels good to come back into my own skin and be true to I am as an individual and child of God—not that I am perfect by any means but I have to live according to my faith and my calling. Here we hear Jesus proclaiming his true identity and calling—only God the Father has authority over him.
Jesus goes on say, “My hour has not yet come” (Luke 2:4b NRSV). Jesus is commenting on the fact that his time has not come to reveal God’s full glory to the world. In the Gospel of John, Jesus’s time (hōra in Greek) refers to his crucifixion, death, and resurrection. At this time, Jesus will be lifted up and be manifested in God. The current moment does not allow Jesus to bring about God’s glory and would be self-serving to do so publically.[ii] Jesus is conscious about his role in the world and what it means to be the Son of God.
Yet Jesus works behind the scenes by instructing the servants what to do. Jesus tells them to fill six large, empty jars to the brim with water (John 2:6-7), and then he says to draw some out and give it to the chief steward (John 2:8). When the servants take the wine to the chief steward to taste, he raves at how the bridegroom saved the best wine for last (John 2:9-10). Although he does what his mother asks, Jesus does it on his own terms: in secret, without a big show-and-tell. This first sign is for his disciples to come to believe Jesus has authority from God and reveals God’s glory through his humanity.
There are times when we reveal God’s glory through our actions toward others. When we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick and disabled, and truly love our neighbor, we sharing God’s love with the world. Through Jesus Christ, God gives us a glimpse of what the Kingdom of God will be like—no one will be hungry, naked, sick, disabled, or excluded. We will all experience the love of God, if we believe.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for revealing your glory through Jesus’s humanity. Help us to be true to our identity as your children. Call upon us to express your love for and in the world. Be with us as we go out into the world to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick and disabled, and truly love our neighbors. Thank you for loving us as your children. Amen.
[i] Andreas J. Köstenberger, John, vol. 4 of Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 94-95.
[ii] Ibid., 95.