Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Man

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.  John 2:4

            Many who comment on these words of our Lord have sought to soften their apparent sharp effect, as though we must take it upon ourselves to depict Him in the best possible light. I hardly think that to be necessary, however. In the first place, we know Jesus never said anything out of malice, for there was no malice in Him; nor was He—the very Word of God—lacking in vocabulary skills. It’s only because such words in our own mouths would spring from a sinful heart that we cringe when we hear them spoken by the Lord. Our Savior, even in rebuke, always spoke in love.

             Jesus, along with His disciples and His mother, Mary, were attending a wedding in Cana of Galilee. After awhile, it became apparent that the wine had run out before the guests had. They were facing a social emergency of sorts that threatened to bring the festivities to a halt. We learn that Jesus had not yet performed any miracles (v.11), yet His mother immediately turned to Him, suggesting that He should come to their aid. If nothing else, this seems somewhat presumptuous. I can’t presume to know what was in her mind, but I do know what it’s like to be a mother. And I know how tempting it is to seek to display your children’s abilities or talents, no matter their age—or yours. J

            It is now that Jesus calls His mother, “Woman,” for the first time, not to put her down, I think, but rather to simply hold her at bay. When it came to His ministry on earth, He could not, nor would He ever, answer to her, or anyone. It may be that his statement, “My hour is not yet come” is a reference to His Crucifixion, where He would, once again, deal with her as a mother. Having said all this, I must confess that I have to smile when I read on in the chapter that after He made sure she knew her request carried no official weight, Jesus did do what His mother asked of Him.

We read in Matthew 12:46-50 of another occasion when Jesus reminded Mary (as well as His half-brothers) that He did not come into the world to establish earthly relationships but so that sinners such as you and I could enjoy a Heavenly relationship with Him. As He said, “[W]hosover shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

            The Son of God spoke one more time in recorded Scripture to His mother. Before the birth of her Baby, she had praised God, her Savior; and on this dark, fearful day, her own Son became her Savior. I cannot begin to understand what she must have felt as she watched Him die on the Cross, for I know that when my own children are wounded, I bleed—or so it seems.

The Apostle John relates that it was at this time, when the sins of the world lay upon Him, and the agonies of hell engulfed Him, Jesus remembered the woman who had borne Him (Jno.19:25-27). He relinquished her to the care of John Himself, showing that, though she no longer held any claim on Him, He still claimed her. God the Father had said of Him, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17). He was a good Son to His Heavenly Father; and He was a good Son to his earthly mother.

            Mary had other sons who could have taken care of her after the death of Jesus. Why did our Lord entrust her to the keeping of John, who took her home with him that day? We always assume it was for Mary’s sake, but might it not have been for John’s, he who was called a “son of thunder”? Might he not profit from her ability to temper fire with the everyday life? Jesus gave to the disciple “whom he loved,” the mother that He loved.

            To catch one last glimpse of Mary, we will need to travel to Jerusalem, and a house with an upper chamber. There, in that upper room, you will see her praying with the disciples and others (Acts 1:14). She is never singled out again in Scripture for any special recognition. That would not have been seemly or Scriptural; nor would she have wanted it. The God-Man they had all known when He walked this earth, was now their Savior and King, Who would one day come again in power and glory. As Paul said, they would never know Him again “after the flesh” (2 Cor. 5:16). All earthly relationships were now fused into the brotherhood of the saints.

            Mary’s relationship with her Son has given me new insight to my own with my sons. There is a delicate balance to be maintained if the boy you nurtured is to become a man and a leader in his realm of responsibility. Still, there must have been a reason why God did not remove Mary from Jesus’ life after she had fulfilled her purpose in His birth. The Bible seems to indicate that she outlived Joseph, and we know she was there till Jesus returned to Heaven. I’m glad she was, for His sake, and for mine. I do not worship her, but along with Elizabeth, I do praise her—Mary, the mother of my Lord.

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