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His Hour, His Glory
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His Hour, His Glory

Albert Chen—Garden Grove, California, USA

Do you remember the story of Jesus changing water into wine? It is one that has repeatedly puzzled me.

            On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him. (Jn 2:1-11)

Jesus responded to Mary’s statement about a lack of wine by saying, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come” (Jn 2:4). Why did Jesus perform a miracle He seemed to disagree with? Why didn’t Jesus just avoid the situation or perform one of His famous “slipaways”?1 Why did Jesus even go to the wedding in the first place?


            “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me?” (Jn 2:4)

These were Jesus’ first words as He replied to Mary’s request. Consequently, I initially thought this passage was about Jesus yielding to His mother, though He had His reservations, in order to set an example for one to respect one’s parents.

However, Jesus reveals that it wasn’t about respect or parents when He called His mother “woman” (Jn 2:4). It was uncommon then for people to call their mothers “woman.” If the story were about obeying one’s mother, Jesus would have used “mother” to address Mary. However, His use of “woman” suggests an absence of maternal authority.

In fact, Jesus’ explicit disagreement to act upon Mary’s request was to draw a line between acting upon the command of man and acting in His time.

The concluding verse clearly states the primary purpose of the miracle: “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him” (Jn 2:11). Jesus attended the wedding and fulfilled the need for wine, but in His time and in order to show His glory, so His disciples would put their faith in Him.


            “My hour has not yet come.” (Jn 2:4)

With this reply to Mary, Jesus showed there was a difference between God’s time and man’s time.

When referring to the activities of men in the Gospel of John, the Greek term for “hour” was used to point to a time in the day.2 Jesus, however, used the same term to talk about the future,3 like in reference to the descent of the Holy Spirit.4

There is a clear distinction between how men think in hours and how Jesus thinks in hours. Furthermore, Jesus once said to His brothers, “[Y]our time is always ready” (Jn 7:6). Yet, for Jesus, He has His own time, and there is a “right” time.5

In the Gospel of John, “My hour” and “His hour” usually signified Jesus’ crucifixion and subsequent glorification by God.6 “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son” (Jn 17:1).

Similarly, Jesus’ reply to Mary meant that the hour for Him to perform the miracle was not at Mary’s command. She had to wait and trust in Him, for only at His appointed time could His glory be revealed through the miracle.

As for us, we often worry when we encounter critical needs. When our car’s battery runs out of power in the middle of the road, we ask Jesus to fix our car instantly. When we apply for a job, we ask Jesus to help us get that high-paying, near-home job straight away.

However, who knows if it might be God’s will for us to preach to the nice couple that helps jumpstart our car? Who knows if the job with lower pay will allow us more time for holy work, so we can edify ourselves and edify others living in that area?

When our needs persist and the clock ticks, we grow anxious. When problems aren’t immediately resolved after we pray, we grow impatient.

It was the same when Mary eagerly presented the wine shortage to Jesus. After Jesus told her, “My hour has not yet come” (Jn 2:4), she understood that she needed to yield to Jesus’ timing, and she handed the issue over to Jesus.

Jesus will fulfill our needs, but we must “trust in the Lord with all [our] heart and lean not on [our] own understanding” (Prov 3:5). When all hope and possibility have “run out” like the wine, we must understand that our perspective is limited. Instead, there is always a way through God.

Jesus reassures us, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things” (Mt 6:34). Jesus is tomorrow—His hours are of the future. He knows what we need and will need.

Though the clouds seem dark, we need only to trust in Him and wait patiently. He will provide in His time, so that in all that we receive His name may be glorified.


            “Whatever He says to you, do it.” (Jn 2:5)

At these words, the servants submissively obeyed Jesus. Keep in mind that the stone waterpots Jesus used were receptacles for holding water for ceremonial purification,7 the traditional washing of hands before and after meals.

Imagine if you were one of the servants Jesus commanded. You were taking, to the master of the wedding, water you had just poured from jars that a bunch of people used to wash their hands, telling him to drink it. How embarrassing and shameful would it be if the water never transformed? The servants, however, fully obeyed without questioning Jesus.

Instead of us telling Jesus to do things our way, we should be ready and willing to do whatever Jesus tells us to do. Even though we may be like the servants carrying hand-washing water, not knowing Jesus’ plans, we must still obey whatever command Jesus gives us. Even though we cannot see the benefit our work will bring, we must still trust that our work will give Him glory in His time.

There once was a True Jesus Church member named Simon (not his real name) who owned a small restaurant. The businesses in his area, including his restaurant, consistently generated the most revenue on Saturdays. Simon used to work on Saturdays along with other church members but then realized that keeping the Sabbath was most important.

Miraculously, when Simon stopped working on Sabbaths, there was hardly any business in that area on Saturdays. Yet, his weekly revenue was higher than before and began to exceed that of the neighboring businesses. Because of the dramatic change, even non-believers decided to follow Simon to church on Sabbaths, eventually believing.

We often think that obeying God might be detrimental to our livelihood. Though we might not see how obeying God can give Him glory in our time, we must still submissively obey. In His time, His glory will be revealed.

Not only must we obey, we must fade from the scene after we diligently finish our work. It is just like the servants: after they obediently finished their duty, they disappeared, and the narration returned to how Jesus manifested His glory.

After we have done our duty for the Lord, we must recede from the scene so that the work God has performed through us may be credited to Him. All glory belongs to Jesus Christ.

After we lead a service, prayer, or Bible study, do we linger, waiting for people to compliment us? Or do we retreat after we finish our holy work? After we guide the congregation in hymns, interpret, or play the piano, do we accept their praises of how well we served? Or do we give Jesus all the glory?

We must decrease so that the glory for Jesus may increase.8 We are only preparing the path and leading others to Jesus. After we have finished our job, we must fall down before God, take off our crown, and lay it before Him like the elders in Revelation.9

The crown on our head belongs to God, so we must give it back to Him. All glory comes from God. All glory belongs to God.


            He manifested His glory. (Jn 2:11)

Plain water and stone jars destined for dirty hands. Servants whose names were not even recorded.

It is just as the Bible said:

            God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen…that no flesh should glory in His presence…“He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Cor 1:27-31)

Jesus chose the lowliest—the water, the stone jars, and the obedient servants—to perform a miracle of great magnitude: tap water changed into the best wine.

The impossible becomes possible, and Jesus is glorified when we submit to His timing. His hour, His glory.

1.        Jn 5:13, 8:59

2.        Jn 1:39, 4:6, 4:52, 4:53, 19:14, 19:27

3.        Jn 5:25, 5:28, 16:2, 16:12, 16:25

4.        Jn 4:21, 4:23, 16:4

5.        Jn 7:6

6.        Jn 7:30, 8:20, 12:23, 12:27, 13:1, 17:1

7.        Jn 2:6

8.        Jn 3:30

9.        Rev 4:10

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Author: Albert Chen