Summary: Jesus turns the water into wine demonstrating His glory to His disciples!
The story of Jesus turning the water into wine has always been a little bit strange to me. The dialogue between Jesus and Mary is difficult, it seems odd that Jesus would turn water into wine, and this just isn’t that impressive as far as His miracles go. Why would this be His first one recorded in John, why does John even bother to tell us about it at all, and why are there so many details?
I’ve had some time to look it over this week, and while I don’t have every answer, I do think it makes more sense. It’s important to remember that John writes to prove that Jesus is the anointed One of God. He is God’s Son and the Word at the same time. It’s also important to remember that “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not” (1:11) and even when He was standing with them they didn’t know Him (1:26). He did, however, convince a few chosen followers to come after Him, and it’s at this point that our story begins:
And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
This is part of that confusing dialogue. Why is she worried about the wine? Why does she think Jesus can solve the problem? Why does He give her such a strange answer? The answer, I think, lies in keeping this within view of the main context. Mary knew who He was (Lk. 1:31-32; 2:14-19); she was like the other Jews who waited for the Messiah to come and take over David’s throne. And now she’s done with the waiting and she wants Him to act.
But look at His response to her: “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” It does come across a little condescending in English, but let’s not forget John’s main goal: who is this man? He’s not the Son of Mary; He’s the Son of God. When the woman tries to impose her will upon God, God reminds her that she is only a woman. She may be blessed among other women, but she is still just a woman.
“What have I to do with thee?” Literally He says, Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί (Ti emoi kai soi) or “What to me and to you?” There’s a similar statement used in Matthew 8:29 when Jesus confronts the demons. They ask Him “What have we to do with thee”; Τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί or (Ti emin kai soi) “What to us and to you?” They may as well be saying, “What business do we have?” Or, as I think Jesus means with Mary, “What do we have in common?”
Mary is ready now to reveal His purpose and glory, but Jesus refuses telling her “My hour is not yet come.” That hour will come when Jesus prays “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee” in John 17:1, but it’s not here yet. Don’t get confused because He goes ahead with the miracle; apparently she’s ready for Him to show the world He’s the King of Israel, but right now He’s focused on showing His disciples His glory (:11).