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On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him. ~John 2:1-11 (NKJV)



Instead of addressing Mary as “mother” (meetros), Jesus used the word “woman” (gunai). To address one’s mother in such a manner was rude and inappropriate. Could it be a wrong choice of word during the recording of this incident or that the Lord really addressed His mother as “woman”?

From the Lord’s reply, “what does your concern have to do with Me?” we know that “woman” was the word used to refer to Mary. If the word “mother” had been used, it would not agree with the question – what does your concern have to do with Me? The Lord for some reason had decided to put aside the kinship with Mary as His mother. He was declaring to Mary, “I am not your son, nor are you My mother, you are a woman of no relationship to Me.” This was followed by the Lord explaining that His hour had not yet come. What did He mean by this? The manner and reason of the Lord’s calling Mary as woman will become clear when we fully understand the intention of their words to each other.

Before the birth of Jesus, Mary had been told by the angel Gabriel that she would conceive and give birth to a son through the Holy Spirit. She would name Him Jesus and He would be called the Son of God – the eternal King of Israel (Luke 1:31-35). When the Lord attended the wedding at Cana, He had just recently begun His preaching ministry. It was likely that when Mary saw the wine at the wedding feast depleted, she naturally thought of her son, Jesus – the omnipotent Son of God. In Mary’s heart, Jesus was the most filial son in the world that any mother could ever ask for. Perhaps, as the mother of Jesus, to request for a miracle to meet the present need would not be deemed unreasonable. Yet, the Lord’s reply was, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” The Lord had deliberately used such harsh words in order to correct a grave mistake made by Mary.