The power of a mother’s confidence

Published 6:19 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2019

By Charles Qualls

“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘They have no more wine.’”

Thus begins a Scriptural instance where a mother had a dramatic affect not only on a moment, but on a lifetime of moments to follow. We often refer to this familiar story from John 2: 1-10 as The Wedding at Cana.

Depending on your perspective, your view of things can really differ. Talk with four witnesses about the traffic accident they just saw, and you’ll get four different stories. Try to move up through the customer service levels of a big corporation and you may get a variety of explanations as to why the outcome you most wanted couldn’t happen.

Mary. Mother of Jesus. We all have our favorite view of her. The frightened and pregnant teenager giving a hopeful “yes” to God’s plan. A resolved Mary, yielding her song of faith. A frail woman, great with child, turned away from the inn. The serene mother sitting by the manger, gazing in wonder upon God-come-to-live-among us. You may have noticed a broken-hearted Mary, tough enough to sit near the cross until almost everyone else had left Jesus and gone home.

These are but some of the ways in which we view the Mother of our Lord. This week, we see Mary from yet another angle. Our Scripture in John’s gospel later calls this the first of His many signs. But I wonder if this particular sign would’ve ever happened if it hadn’t been for the persistence of a mother who believed in her child!

Cana of Galilee was a village near Nazareth. Mary had something to do with the arrangements of the wedding feast. One extra-Biblical writing tells us that Mary was the sister of the bridegroom’s mother. What can sound like a discourteous exchange between Jesus and his mother may not have been so, if the language had translated as exactly to English as we might like.

Now, I have to observe that Mary did something perhaps only a mother could do. On the way to getting her son to do something she knew He could do, she ran right through a pretty clear stop sign.

Mary and Jesus are guests at a wedding. The wine has run out. Or I as I was brought up to believe, the Welch’s Grape Juice had run out! In any event, she came to Jesus, and not likely in privacy. She stated the problem in the form of an instruction to Jesus. He tried to plead with her that his time had not yet come. In His judgment, it was not yet time to become known as a miracle worker; something other than a plain carpenter’s son. He told Mary, “no.”

But, her belief in Him would not allow her to back down. That’s when it happened. She committed Jesus to perform the miracle by instructing the servants to “do whatever he tells you.” His life was never the same. Because of that, yours and mine hasn’t had to be the same either.

Well, the fascination with the miracle itself could take us away. What many believe was actually hand and foot-washing water in those jars suddenly became good wine. So, what do we make of this mother who would not take “no” from Jesus?

Let me acknowledge that not everyone had a positive experience with their mother. Images of a mother for them might conjure up more hurtful memories than good. Others have managed to find a mother figure in a friend or a co-worker. In a teacher or another person of authority. Hopefully as you think of mothers, you have at least a person in your life who has served as such.

Some people believe this story is told here in John’s gospel to signal a watershed moment in God’s kingdom. That is, if we only hear Mary on the surface she instructs the servants that day to “do whatever he says to do.” But, if this story is used not just to impress us with Jesus’ ability to do tricks, but to signal something new in God’s story with us, then that little phrase also holds deeper meaning.

“Do whatever he says to do” also is an injunctive for you and me. These words are placed there for us to find and to heed right along with the servants at the wedding in Cana.

THE REV. DR. CHARLES QUALLS is senior pastor at Franklin Baptist Church. Contact him at 562-5135.