“How does this concern of yours affect me?” (John 2:4)
Yes, this question is asked in the context of the first miracle Jesus is recorded as performing, which, at first glance, seemed to be for the purpose of keeping the party going. But that’s not the point.
He had a greater purpose: he realized that the arc of his earthly life was leading toward the “time” ordained by God for his sacrifice and glorification. And that he, in everything he pursued, was to not only reflect by to be the presence of the King among his people.
Of course, he is asking this question of his mother… so one thing that’s clear is that he is telling her that “his time” being in submission as a young son to a mother has come to a close; that the choices and actions he was going to be pursuing did not spring from obedience to his parents’ authority, but drew their bearings from the new life-pattern that set its time according to the purposes of God, his Father.
When Jesus was a child, such a question would have made no sense… any legitimate concern of the mothers clearly touches the child – if not least according to the axiom: “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” But here Jesus gently reminds Mary that the key question now is – “(How) does this concern touch the purposes of God who sent me?”
Of course, we know that Jesus ended up responding positively to her request to keep the wine flowing. So this was not him verbally jousting with his mom before finally acquiescing (“O, all RIGHT, Ma, I’ll take care of it….”) He wanted her to consider what connection even this mundane matter of someone not having stocked up enough vino for the wedding had to the greater mission. How do the demands of THIS time relate to HIS time?
There is a sense where many of us have responded to God out of a sense of our own need – and have found that he has met those needs, often miraculously and abundantly. But – even though I believe God rejoices when we bring our concerns before him – we need to be ready to be asked “What does this thing you’re praying about have to do with the reason I’m even IN your life? Do you appreciate what that is? I did not come here with some sort of magic wand to make everything great all the time. I came here because I’m on a mission: on the small scale, you could see it as a mission to buy you back from your chains… on a larger scale, I have come to bring blessing to the nations (Gen. 12:3; Gal. 3:8) and you have a place in that by being a member of the global organic unity that I call my Body. On the largest scale, I am reconciling in myself all things to God. Can you get to that? Now… what is it you’re asking about and how do you see that lining up with my purposes?”
With this question, Jesus is taking a significant present need and putting it into a broader context, one which is governed by His mission. As we pursue the things that are important in our lives, it is key to remember what it is we’re looking for. In the place I work, we consistently ask ourselves whether we are maintaining a “line of sight” to our key values. Jesus is doing something similar here. We come to God asking him to intervene, to involve himself in our affairs, both personally, communally, internationally and globally. God doesn’t entertain these requests begrudgingly – But you can expect (and should be listening for) a rejoinder:
You’re praying about this thing that bothers you about your job, you’re asking for your family because things seem a little off, you’re asking that I intervene in this areas of society where things are going on that disturb you. Thank you for coming to me with these concerns. But have you considered that perhaps I am the one who’s disturbing things… even disturbing you? Think about that… and tell once again how this concern you have touches the purposes that have set me on the way of the cross.