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ARTICLE VIII.

EXPOSITION OF JOHN II : 4.

Translated from the German of Dr. W. F. Besser, by Prof. WM. M. Reynolds, Gettysburg, Pa. CONSIDERABLE difficulty still attaches to those words of our Savior : Τί εμοί και σοι, γύναι και ούπω ήκει η ώρα μου, in which he refuses the request indirectly made by Mary in the remark, oivov ovx či povor. In the following hints we shall endeavor to show, that the granting of Mary's request by our Lord, in the miracle of changing the water into wine, is not contradictory of his previous refusal ; but that between the two moments of refusal and compliance, something intervenes which presents a sufficient motive for our Lord's change of conduct.

In the first place, it may be considered as decided, that Mary, when directing the Savior's attention to the want of wine, desired and expected a miraculous supply from him. Bengel remarks upon the words, olvov ovx š govor—“She says, I wish you to retire, that the rest of the company may do the same, before their poverty is exposed. Such being Mary's idea, the answer of Jesus is not only not harsh, but full of affection.” According to this, our Lord, in the words, očnw xel of äga pov, would merely say ; “the hour for doing what you suggest, i. e. retiring, is not yet come. But the hour for aiding was come.

This explanation does not accord with the phrase su uou which Bengel himself appears to have felt. It would be singular indeed, for our Lord to express the idea, “ I shall remain,” by the words, “ Mine hour is not yet come.” In John 7:6, to which an appeal may be made, the phrase, ο καιρός και έμός, results from the contrast with ο καιρός και υμέτερος, and even here, there is implied in the words, “My time is not yet come,” more than the mere refusal to go to Jerusalem ; they at the same time answer the appeal, “ Show thyself unto the world.” As his time to show himself unto the world was not yet come, so neither was his time to travel publicly to Jerusalem yet come. And further, it does not appear that our Lord's language would lose any of its harshness, by supposing this to be Mary's meaning. The expression, Te εμοι και σοι, γύναι και does not naturally harmonize with the construction which Bengel puts upon it. But, finally, and this would of itself decide the matter, the context is throughout opposed to this explanation. Mary directs the servants to obey the Savior's orders ; she therefore evidently expects some sort of relief from him. But that she was, as Bengel will have it, first brought by our Lord's answer to the idea, that as he would not retire he would perform a miracle, can scarcely be made to appear probable. In the same way does Mary's state of feeling, as made known by her words to the servants, stand opposed to Calvin's view, according to which her words, olvov ovx š xovor, merely exhibit her“ anxious sympathy," whilst she neither expected nor requested a miracle, but merely desired “ that he would address a pious exhortation to the guests, which would both prevent them becoming weary, and relieve the bridegroom from the shame that he might otherwise feel" [in consequence of the poverty of his entertainment]. Our Lord's answer would be altogether inapplicable, or, at least, very obscure, if this were Mary's meaning. This interpretation has evidently arisen from apprehension of contradicting the express declaration of v. 2: “ This beginning of miracles.” If Mary were supposed to expect a miracle from the Savior, whilst such an expectation could have been grounded only upon some miracle previously performed. Tholuck is of the opinion that the difficulty can only be met by the assumption," that Jesus had previously performed miracles in the circle of his family,” and that v. 11 refers to the commencement of publie miracles; and Olshausen presumes that the Lord must have given his mother some intimation that he was about to display his miraculous powers upon this occasion. How Olshausen arrived at this idea is incomprehensible to us; in fact it would be an extremely forced construction to assume that Jesus had, in anticipation of the approaching want of wine, given Mary to understand that he would supply it in a miraculous manner. It is certainly possible that the Savior had, during his abode at Nazareth, given some proofs of his miraculous powers; and supposing this to have been the case, v. 11 must be understood as Tholuck suggests. But not only do the canonical gospels give us no intimation of such “miracles in the circle of his family,” but the only information that they give us of this circle, is that Jesus was subject unto his parents,” and labored with his foster-father at his trade as a carpenter (Luke 2:51, Mark 6:3); and this miracle of the humiliation of the Son of God, who submitted to the law, seems rather to lead us to regard the miracle at Cana, as in the strictest sense inu doznu tõv onus iwv (the beginning of miracles). Notwithstanding this, we maintain that it is more difficult to believe that Mary would not expect miracles and signs from Jesus, than that she would. What? Mary, who had praised the Lord on account of this child, because, in spirit, she saw the deliverer of Israel making his appearance in him ; Mary, who kept the words of the shepherds and pondered them in her heart; who had heard Simeon's prophecy; who had treasured in her soul the first words of Jesus of which we are informed, although she did not fully comprehend them ; and now looked at the holy and quiet walk of her son in the light of all these prophecies and promises, and beheld him mighty in spirit, and full of wisdom ; Mary, who had just seen the Lord go forth from his paternal house, and present himself before the people as a divine teacher ; is it possible that this Mary should not have expected the manifestation of her son's glory, and not have believed him possessed of miraculous powers ? It might indeed be objected (and Olshausen has this objection in his mind), not in general to Mary's expectation, that Jesus would manifest his glory through miracles, but to her expectation of one in this particular case. This objection is connected with a view of the miracle of changing the water into wine in which we do not participate. It is intimated that the Lord did not regard this occasion as the most suitable for manifesting his glory ("less suitable, though not un

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suitable, says Tholuck), and employed it only out of complaisance towards Mary (" as an affectionate son"). The connexion which this view appears to have with our Lord's answer to Mary's request will be met hereafter. The

very doubtful distinction between less suitable and unsuitable is unworthy of him who always did what was best, as he did that which he saw his Father do. That the change of water into wine was a less suitable and becoming manifestation of the Lord's glory, than his other miracles, can be asserted only by those who misapprehend the true character of this miracle. Lücke says, “ The difficulty is that a very unimportant occasion, a passing emergency in social life, not to say in a revel, which might have been relieved in some other way, serves to the manifestation of his glory. The correspondence of a worthy occasion seems wanting here.” In order to remove this supposed singularity, it is not enough, nor is it necessary to refer with Lücke, to the miracle of the piece of money taken from the fish's mouth, nor to Savior walking upon

Is there not revealed, in the miracle before us, that condescending kindness which is so glorious in our Lord; that love which not only distributes bread to those who would otherwise faint in the wilderness, but goes so far as to grant relief where honor was in danger? Jesus might, to be sure, have said, “If they have no wine, let them drink water !—but this he would not do ; he would much rather encourage us to regard the fourth petition in his prayer, broad enough to comprehend Luther's long exposition; he would strengthen our confidence to do as the Apostle says, namely-in“ all things to make known our requests unto God with prayer and supplication” (Phil. 4:6).

4:6). Nor do we understand why Lücke so decidedly opposes Olshausen's symbolical explanation of the miracle. It is true we also regard it as rather bold to find in this a special contrast with the “ Baptist's earnest call to repentance;" but we have no hesitation in assuming, that our Savior in the very outset, wished his kindness and goodwill to men to be displayed by this wonder. And so if there was nothing objectionable in our Lord's performing the miracle, neither was there any impropriety in Mary's expecting it upon so common an occasion. It is another question, whether Mary made her request in a proper frame of mind.

Our Lord's answer : Tl {uol xai goi, yivar; compels us to assume that Mary did not make her request in a proper frame of mind. She would have been in such a frame if she had borne in mind, that the Lord's miraculous power, even when displayed in ministering and compassionate love, must still have the manifestation of its glory as its end and aim. For this manifestation it became her quietly to wait, undisturbed by carnal impatience. Now, whether it was, that she lost sight of the divine object of the Savior's miraculous power, lowering it to that which was merely human, and the occasion of her appeal to it; or whether she wished impatiently to hasten the manifestation of her son's glory, which she had long been expecting, she receives from the Lord, who undoubtedly knew her feelings, a decided reproof in the words: il èuoi xal gol, yóvai; The word yuvar, as has frequently been observed, has not indeed the harshness of our word“ woman,yet it is plain that uning would be entirely foreign to the passage before us, and even yuva.

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intimates the position which our Lord took towards his mother, whom he did not know after the flesh (2 Cor. 5:16). The form of refusal : ti èuol xai' gol—:75909-079 confines Mary to her proper sphere; for it was not between her and her son, but between God and his Son, that it was to be determined when and how the Lord would manifest his glory. The words contain a reproof similar to those to Peter : Οι φρονείς τα του θεού, αλλά τα των ανθρώπων (Μatt. 16 : 23). Thus are the following words closely connected : oing Yxet vi doc uov. This is clearly equivalent tom" The appointed time for manifesting my glory by a miracle (v. 11) is not yet come ; desist, therefore, from your request, for my Father has given me the power of working miracles only for the exhibition of my glory.” It is too far-fetched, to understand by $ åpa uov, the hour of the glorification of the Son by the Father, of entrance into his glory after the suffering of death, and to give Mary's request this meaning : “ It is now the time for thee to reveal thyself as the Lord and king of Israel.” But if the words of our Lord cannot be taken in any other sense than that which has been given, the question arises, how is it to be explained, that the Lord, as if in the same breath, rejects and fulfils Mary's request ? It is answered, that Jesus had expressed himself only in reference to that time ; when he turned to the servants with the words, “ Fill the water-pots with water,” then it is said, his hour was come; when Mary presented her request, it had 'not yet come. Admit this; yet without it is shown that something transpired between these two moments, whereby the hour came, the declaration cannot be freed from intolerable harshness, and will appear like an evasion. The passage in John 7: 3, etc., even if the reading in v. 8 should be očx rather than the explanatory óvno, admits of no comparison with that before us, for John removes the seeming contradiction of oux évaßalvo with evěßn by the additional statement (v. 10), ου φανερώς, αλλ' ώς εν κρυπτώ, which words refer to the φανέρωσον οf his brethren, with which the Lord had refused to comply (comp. Lücke in loco).

According to our view, the key for the solution of the difficulty is found in the conduct of Mary. The Lord had denied her request, with the distinct declaration that the appointed time for the manifestation of his glory was not yet come. What does Mary now do? to the servants, “ Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it !” In this conduct we first observe her humility. She willingly submits to the words of the Lord's reproof; she no longer proposes to interfere with her counsel or assistance in his work ; she will stand still and let him have his own way. But Mary's faith is also manifested in those words. She has found something in the Lord's answer to which her faith adheres; she believed that the hour which was not yet come, might, yea, would soon come-she is so confident in this belief that she prepares the servants for obedience to him. When the Lord saw her faith, then his hour was come. The faith of the humbled Mary is the connecting link between the rejection and the granting of her request. Her perverted, self-willed state of heart had hindered the manifestation of the Lord's glory ; her submission and her reliance upon his goodness carried along with them the manifestation of his glory. The his

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tory of the Canaanitish woman presents a striking parallel. Here, as there, we have the humbling, purifying refusal of the Lord; here, too, the same willing humiliation and faith, “that clearly hears a yea, where sounded simply nay,” and, as it were, takes the Lord in his own words (Lowth]; and here, also, we have the Lord's compliance, who suffers himself to be overcome by the violence of faith in his own people. In the history of the nobleman's son also (John 4 : 47, etc.), the Lord manifests this willingness to be overcome (sichüberwindenlassen). Without Mary's faith the Lord's time would not have come then; and it was this very faith, that does not know, but trusts—as LUTHER says —which the Lord would develope in her. It does not make against our explanation, that John (v. 11) says, his disciples believed upon him, whilst the point must rather be the strengthening of Mary's faith, if she is to be made so prominent. That Mary's faith was strengthened by the manifestation of the Savior's glory, is so clearly derived from the narrative, that an express statement to this effect would have been a superfluous appendage ; but that a salutary impression was made upon the disciples, is mentioned by John as a part of his own experience, and it would have been a defect if he had not mentioned this, especially upon the occasion of the first miracle that Jesus performed. This is an intimation of the influence exerted upon the disciples by the subsequent displays of Christ's power.

We do not, however, mean to assert that the miracle was performed exclusively or even principally for Mary, when we say that it was occasioned by her faith. The miracle from which flowed the salvation of the whole world, was also received through the medium of Mary's faith. In this way we think that the difficulty involved in the passage which we have been considering may be most simply solved. Instead of the unseemly assumption, that the Lord did anything as the son of Mary, wbich, as the Son of God, he did not consider proper to do, and instead of the indefinite assertion, that when the Lord performed the miracle, the appointed time for the manifestation of his glory was come, it results from our simple exposition, that the Lord granted to humble faith, what he denied to the fleshly mind.

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