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John 2:4
"Woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied. "My hour has not yet come."

Case A
I understand "My hour" as "My time to perform a first sign".

But I think this contradicts the next verse :

John 2:11
What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

So, assuming my Case A is correct:

Case B
It looks like Jesus contradicts Himself. He said that "His time to perform a first sign" had not yet come, but He does it anyway.

But Case B does not seem right, so perhaps my Case A is not correct.

Hence the question, "What does 'My hour' in John 2:4 mean?".

Thank you.

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John 12:23-28 (DRB)

But Jesus answered them, saying: The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24 Amen, amen I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, 25 Itself remaineth alone. But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world, keepeth it unto life eternal. 26 If any man minister to me, let him follow me; and where I am, there also shall my minister be. If any man minister to me, him will my Father honour. 27 Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour. But for this cause I came unto this hour. 28 Father, glorify thy name. A voice therefore came from heaven: I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.

We here see His "hour" being connected with "[glorification]" (cf. 2:11), and the occasion for or means to that glory: here His Passion and death (cf. Revelation 3:10).

So here in John 2:4, Jesus isn't contradicting Himself, but is simply saying that all acts which will bring Him glory ought to be left to His 'hour' to which glorification is proper—'its not yet time for the Son of Man to be glorified, yet you are asking for something which will bring me glory.' He works this miracle for her sake (He clearly shows some kind of reluctance, yet goes on to do this great miracle), and so it is not a contradiction. His words can't be taken to have been a rebuke, or reluctance to the point of a refusal, since Mary goes on to act as if He implicitly said 'yes:'

John 2:4-5

And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine. 4 And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye.

And it would be ridiculous to claim that Mary disobeys Jesus so she can tell others to obey Jesus directly after—Jesus only showed reluctance, not an outright refusal, as evidenced by His doing the miracle, and before this, Mary's reaction to His words.

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  • Thank you for the answer, Sola Gratia. If I'm correct to understand your answer.... is like this : "I will do something which show My glory, mother. But this is not the time that I should be glorified. The time that I should be glorified is later (approx 3 years in the future) which is when I'm about to be killed". Please CMIIW, Sola Gratia. – karma Dec 21 '17 at 3:22
  • Yes, that's it spot on. Both His and His mother's reaction strongly imply this is the case, when taken with the hour = time for glory understanding. – Sola Gratia Dec 21 '17 at 14:53
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I think if we interpret My hour to mean not simply the time for Jesus to do miracles, but rather the time for Him to reveal His power, there is not so great a contradiction.

There is nothing in the passage that shows the wedding guests actually realized that a miracle took place. The ruler of the feast complements the bridegroom on the quality of the wine (v.9-10), but no one comes to Jesus. The disciples realized what happened and believed in Him (v.11), but there didn't seem to be much commotion. Theophylact comments here:

At this time He had not yet revealed His power and still lived in obscurity. He had not yet chosen all His disciples, and the people at the wedding had no comprehension who He was; for if they did, they certainly would have come to Him for help.

The miracle did not take place in front of a multitude, and very few even noticed what had happened. But later, everyone heard of the wonder, and to this day it is celebrated and not forgotten.1

His agreeing to His mother's request is sometimes seen as providing an example of honoring one's parents (Exodus 20:12). John Chrysostom comments here:

Why, after he had said, “My hour has not yet come,” and denied his mother’s initial request, did he do what his mother told him to do? The main reason was so that those who opposed him and thought that he was under subjection to the “hour” might have sufficient proof that he was subject to no hour. For if he was, how could he have done this miracle before the hour appointed for it? He also wished to show honor to his mother and let it eventually become evident, in the company of so many, that he had not contradicted the woman who had bore him.2


1. Explanation of the Holy Gospel According to St. John (tr. from the Greek; Chrysostom Press, 2007), p.39,43
2. Homily XX on John

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  • Verse 9 tell the story that the servants knew that the wine drank by the manager of the party came from the water. The author of John also knew it although most likely he knew it later. So, I think although the "guests commotion" story is not mentioned in this event - I think the servants talk about it soon after the wedding. Thank you user33515 – karma Dec 29 '17 at 14:07
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John 2:4

"Woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied. "My hour has not yet come."

Jesus doing his Father's will

Jesus simply was telling his mother that she had no say how he conducted his ministry. His main objective was to do the will of his Father, (John 6:38) and was not going to allow others to interfere with the divine will, he was fully aware of the hour and the moment he was to commence his ministry, that his Father directed.

Jesus words were idiomatic of the time and did not show disrespect to his mother.

Jesus by performing his first miracle, turning water into wine, aknowledged his mother concern and at the same showing fine judgement in doing his Father,s will.

Case A is correct and there is no contradiction.

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This is not an easy question to answer. Usually in the Gospel of John this refers to the time of Jesus' crucifixion. However, that doesn't seem to apply here, and it doesn't seem to apply in John 7:6, although 7:6 has ὁ ἐμὸς καιρὸς instead of ἡ ὥρα μου. John 7:6 seems to indicate the time to go to the feast. What does fit John 2:4 is the time for Jesus to openly perform miracles. Note that Jesus kept the miracle of turning the water to wine relatively hidden in a need to know basis.

However, Jesus' statements in John's Gospel often have a double meaning. My hour may have also referred to Jesus' time of crucifixion, and as with communion/Lord's Supper the wine symbolized his blood. An interesting parallel is the first plague in Egypt during the Exodus was turning the water into blood.

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A time came when Jesus would break bread and take wine with His disciples during the last supper just before His crucifixion; Bread and wine symbolizing His broken body and shed blood respectively for our redemption (Matt26:26-28). In this wedding that time had not yet come, nevertheless, He went a head to do the miracle so that people would put their faith in Him (John 2:11) which is necessary for salvation (Eph 2:8).

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