Who’s in charge in your family?

Posted by Samantha on June 4, 2015 in Boundaries, Communication, Connection, Expectations, Respect, Trust |

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” John 2:1-5 (NASB)


One of us has to be in charge...while he is this age....it's me.

One of us has to be in charge…while he is this age….it’s me.

I am convinced that the story of the Wedding at Cana contains many great lessons for mothers and sons (and daughters) everywhere, in every time.  I am deeply grateful that St John recorded it for us.

For starters, Mary is quite indirect and yet her son understands what she means.  He doesn’t give her a lecture on saying what she means!  In this I hear validation of parents’ sometimes indirect way of requesting things.

Jesus disagrees with her that it would be appropriate for him to do anything and he says so – with a touch of irritation according to some translations. What are we to make of his “Woman”?  Newer translations try to soften it by saying “Dear woman”.

But I read “Woman!” as evidence of a slightly jokey, loving relationship between them – a little bit like when I address my own Mom as “Mother!” when I’m a tiny bit irritated but also amused.  In fact, I know my own brother sometimes says “Woman!” to my mother in exactly that kind of jokey, loving tone that yes, is slightly irked, but amused because of course she’s right! (He also has an equivalent “Wife!” thing going on with my sister-in-law that is very cute and amusing for all of us).

My first ever bible from junior school translates what Jesus says as “You must not tell me what to do”, which makes me laugh nowadays because it reminds me of how annoying my own daughter finds it when I tell her what to do!

Then – and this is vital – Jesus does what his mother asks.  Let me type that again: JESUS DOES WHAT HIS MOTHER ASKS.

Most bible commentators I’ve read emphasise Mary telling the servants to do whatever he tells them.  Her trust in him and submission to him is a lesson to us they say.

But I think they’re missing a crucial point: he did what she asked.  In other words, he submitted to her.

This is so very important, I’m even going to say it again: Jesus did what his mother wanted him to do even when it was not what he wanted to do.

The fact that she immediately turned to the servants and said do what he tells you, suggests to me that she was sure of his cooperation.  In other words, she was confident in her parental authority.

We can certainly learn from Mary’s ceding to Christ’s authority – and I believe this was a turning point in their relationship, when the authority swapped as Jesus stepped into the role which his mother had helped prepare him for.

But we should not overlook the fact that when his mother said in effect “You are ready, go”, he paused for a moment, and then trusted his mother.

Thought for the day

God, help me to find the quiet confidence of Mary.  Help me to trust my children to do the right thing, to listen to me, to show me respect and acknowledge my authority over them.  Help me also come to them with a spirit of quiet assurance and love.  I do not have to be forceful if I am sure of my right to be in charge.


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