John 2

My Hour is Not Yet Come (John 2.3-4)

And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. (John 2:3-4)

John’s gospel is full of timing issues, as Jesus approaches the “hour” of his crucifixion (John 4.21-23, 5.25-28, 7.30, 8.20, 12.23, 27, 13.1, 17.1). John’s gospel is carefully structured, and the author is careful to show the crucifixion as part of a divine program, against those claims that Jesus’ crucifixion was a mark of failure, proof that he was not indeed the Christ. But John shows Jesus inexorably plodding towards the cross, aware from the first moments of his ministry that his ministry has an appointed end. The entire wedding incident does hint at an unusual chronology, when the party coordinator marvels at the fantastic drink Jesus has created:

And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. (John 2:10)

This is again part of John’s careful, thought-out approach to depicting the cross as a necessary and fruitful end, rather than as an accident or misfortune. The best part of the wedding comes at the end of the feast; the best part of the gospel comes at the end of Christ’s ministry. The feast theme that runs through John’s gospel is shown in miniature at this particular celebration, as the events of the feast parallel the larger events of the gospel.

Jesus and his disciples are called to the feast, corresponding with the appearance of Jesus the Lamb and his followers in the first chapter of John. The brief mention of Mary at the wedding foreshadows the incident with the Samaritan woman. Mary testifies to the servants that they should do whatever Jesus tells them, corresponding with the Samaritan woman at the well who testifies to the multitude that Jesus “told me all things whatsoever I did (comp. John 2.5 with 4.28-29);” Jesus tells both women that the hour is coming for significant change (John 2.4, John 4.21-23); Jesus reveals the “water of life” at Jacob’s well, corresponding to the massive quantity of wine he creates at the wedding (John 2.6-7, John 4.6-7).

And, as mentioned earlier, the stunned feast-master and his declaration corresponds with the crucifixion; the bread and water of life are emblems which are central to the whole of the gospel, and the blood of Christ, which is the wine of communion, is also the water of life. These symbols overlap heavily throughout the various discourses and events of John, and this is a central scene—the fantastic wine at the end of the feast foreshadows the water of life, the blood of Christ, which pours out at the appointed hour:

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

And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. (John 2:10)

When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. (John 19:26-27)

But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. (John 19:34)

John, being liturgical, and developing complex theology for a young church, carefully connects the ritual emblem of wine to the blood of Christ, and wine to the water of life, creating a multiplicity of ways to understand and consider the ritual in which Christians participated frequently. Through John’s gospel, the church could be made to see that not only did consuming the blood of Christ mark sacred time until his return (1 Corinthians 11.25-26)—it also extended his presence upon the earth during his absence, placing the divine presence of the Christ in heaven within every member of his Body, water that is wine that is blood, granting life eternal:

He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:56-57)




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