One thing anyone who reads the Gospel of John notices is that Jesus' responses don't always seem to correlate with the comments or questions characters say or ask in the story. The Jewish leaders in the Temple, for instance, ask Jesus for a sign, and He starts talking about destroying the Temple and raising it in three days (Jn. 2:14-20). Huh? Nicodemus comes talking about how good Jesus is, and Jesus responds with you must be born again (Jn. 3:3). Huh? The Samaritan woman is all concerned about natural well water, and Jesus talks about living spiritual water and how many husbands she has had (Jn. 4:9-14). Huh? The nobleman asks for his son to be healed, and Jesus responds by crying out: Unless ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe (Jn. 4:47-48). Huh, Huh?
Sometimes we have to just scratch our heads and wonder about what is really going on, and that's ok. That is exactly what the text is trying to get us to do. Rather than getting frustrated, we need to get inquisitive. To help with this problem, John gave us the master pattern that explains how Jesus interacts with others in John 1 where Jesus interacted with Peter and especially Nathaniel. Jesus didn't just “see” outward appearances. He “saw” the inner being of the person. He “saw” into Simon and knew who he was and who he would become and renamed him Cephas, Peter (Jn. 1:42). Jesus' encounter with Nathaniel begins with Nathaniel asking a rather ordinary everyday question: Can anything good come out of Nazareth (Jn. 1:46)? But Jesus sweeps that aside and ignores it, and instead “sees” into the core of Nathaniel's being, identifying him as an Israelite indeed a member of true Israel, the Believing Remnant of Israel (Jn. 1:47). But that is not all. He also “saw” what Nathaniel was doing in the past under the Fig Tree (Jn. 1:48) and what he would be doing in his future ministry (Jn. 1:50-51).
So, here we have a pattern, that will help us better understand Jesus' responses when He encounters people. Jesus “sees” not only the person's past and future but also into the very core of their being. Therefore, Jesus won't be forced to respond directly to the external ordinary everyday concerns of people. Rather, He will respond to their deepest, most longed for needs and desires of their hearts and souls and spirits—concerns, desires, needs that they themselves may not even know they have.
Take Jesus' interaction with Mary, His Mother, at a wedding feast in Cana. Here we are at an ordinary everyday wedding feast in Israel (Jn. 2:1-11). Mary makes the rather mundane comment that the wine has run out. Seems plain, simple and ordinary enough. Then Jesus responds pointedly with: Woman, what have I to do with thee? And then rather mysteriously: My hour has not yet come (Jn. 2:4). This is a great first example because unlike other characters in the Gospel of John, WE ACTUALLY KNOW what is in Mary's mind, soul, spirit and heart!
We know from Luke 1:26-35 that Mary's MIND was concerned with the words of the angel Gabriel, who explained to her about the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus. Her Son would be named Jesus, Jehovah Our (Israel's) Salvation, the fulfiller of all God's promises to Israel. He is the Son of the Highest, the Son of God. He is the One to whom God has given the everlasting throne of David to reign in Israel and through Israel the world in the everlasting earthly Kingdom of peace, prosperity and joy. Mary, we are told, thought diligently about these things in her MIND!
And we know from Luke 2:46-55 what was in Mary's SOUL and SPIRIT. Her soul magnified the Lord and her Spirit rejoiced in God her Savior because God had blessed her. Through her son Jesus, God would deliver Israel, destroying all enemies and delivering them into the long-prophesied Kingdom to receive His everlasting mercy in fulfillment of the Davidic and Abrahamic Covenants. Mary, we are told, filled her SOUL and SPIRIT with these things!
Finally, we know from Luke 2:8-19 and 2:46-51 what Mary held most deeply and dearly in her HEART. Mary's son would be the Davidic Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah/Christ Deliverer, the LORD God of Israel, who will work on her behalf to establish the earthly Kingdom of righteousness, peace and prosperity, which would become good news and great joy to the whole world. Mary, we are told, kept thinking about these things and pondered them deeply in her HEART!
With all this in mind we can return to John 2 with some fresh insight. With this information, we can “see” into Mary the way Jesus “saw” into Mary. Like Jesus, we actually know what she cherished in her MIND, SOUL, SPIRIT and HEART! And with this insight, we recognize that while it appeared that Jesus was refusing Mary's comment, He was, in fact, just responding to it on a whole different level, a higher plane. Rather than limiting His response to her outer, ordinary, everyday concern—they ran out of wine--He plunged down to the inner, deepest and dearest concerns of her HEART and SOUL!. He didn't just address her ordinary concern about wedding wine. He displayed the glory of God and gave her a foretaste of the overflowing, super-abundant joy of Kingdom blessings that will come to her and Israel at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb in the everlasting Kingdom of God on earth!
Now, as we come to additional encounters in John, we have a “leg up on the horse” in understanding them. Even if we don't know other characters deepest and most longed for and dearly held thoughts, concerns, needs and desires, we know that Jesus does.