The mother of our Lord attended a wedding feast at Cana to which Jesus and His disciples were also invited. When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother informed her Son that there was no more wine. He gave a strange answer, “Woman, what has this to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” And then, Mary told the servants to do what Jesus bid them. (See John 2: 1 ff ESV)
Jesus instructed the servants to fill six stone jars with water and then to draw some out. The water had turned to wine. They took the wine to the master of the feast who approached the bridegroom to say, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people had drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” (John 2: 9-10 ESV) The narrator then comments, “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” (John 2: 11 ESV)
What is going on here? What is Jesus telling us? His hour is the hour of His death; His glory is the glory of the Father. “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls in to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies it bears much fruit.” (John 12: 23-24 ESV) The hour is the time when Jesus is glorified on the cross. Before His death Jesus addresses the Father: “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you.” (John 17: 1b ESV)
While the signs (miracles) that Jesus’ performs reveal His glory, His death on the cross is the supreme manifestation of the glory that the Son has had from all eternity. At the beginning of the Gospel the Christian community witnesses to this glory, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”(John 1: 14 ESV)
Mary, the mother of Jesus, along with the beloved disciple and others stand at the foot of the cross at the time of His death. He announces from the cross, “It is finished,” that is, all that He came to do is accomplished. At the wedding of Cana near the beginning of His ministry, Jesus points to the hour of glory when He accomplishes what He set out to do in obedience to the Father. Sent into the world by the Father, Jesus sends the disciples into the world. “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” (John 17: 18 ESV)
As we focus on the cross of Christ and His glory, we are to remember both His mission in the world to save His people and our mission in the world so that others may be saved. As apologists and witnesses our identity is firmly anchored in the cross of Christ where redemption is found. No defense of the faith goes without the intention to share the life-saving mission of Jesus Christ, the Word, the Lamb of God, the Son of Man.
We do not find glory in ourselves but only in the Transcendent One, God, God in Jesus Christ our Lord. We do not find glory in the powerful but in the cross on which our Savior died. It is He that we represent to the world for its salvation. Apologetics is not only a defense of the truth, but also a witness to others of what is true so that they may believe.
Michael G. Tavella
February 4, 2020