“My time has not yet come.” The response of Jesus to his mother’s request to get involved in the ‘wine dilemma’ at the wedding (Jn 2) has always seemed odd to me. Did he not want to help? Was he not ready to exercise his power? Did he perhaps resent his mother’s prompting?
Musing on this, it occurs to me that it was in fact none of these things. But it was a key moment of decision. For when Jesus spoke of “my time” he was speaking of the moment when he would be fully revealed, seen for who he truly was.
And, in the ultimate inversion of every human assumption, that glory was supremely displayed when he was crucified (Jn 13:31). And until ‘that time’ Jesus was cautious about attracting too much attention; too much popular acclaim; becoming too visible too soon. Because he knew what people were like (Jn 2:24) and he recognised the risks of allowing the fickle praise of the crowds to pre-empt his serious calling (Jn 6:15).
It seems likely that until this wedding, Jesus was at least somewhat ‘under the radar’; largely unknown beyond his immediate circle of disciples. But once this miraculous ‘sign’ was known, ‘the die was cast’. Fatally. He knew where this would lead. The confrontation with human powers then became unavoidable (Jn 2:13), and the way it would work out was determined (Jn 2:19). This occasion may have taken place near the beginning of his public ministry, but the endgame had now begun.
And Master, I sense the uncomfortable resonances for me. If I seriously want to see your live-enhancing power at work through me, I have to recognise the consequences. I will likely have to surrender my desire for a ‘quiet life’ and embrace the often-unwelcome interruptions of those around. I may have to face the dangerous enticements of being ‘known’, the constant temptation to focus on the loud applause of others rather than pursue your quiet approval.
And sooner or later it will likely lead to sacrifice, and God alone knows where that may end.
Master, I can well-understand how it would have been simpler, easier, less costly for you to leave the jars of water unfermented.
The lack of wine was not a test of your power; it was a test of your courage.
Spirit of Jesus, forgive my hesitancy; strengthen my heart and grow my courage.