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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.

8 Answers 8

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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, 2017 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. Dec 21, 2017 at 14:53
  • This is a super helpful answer, thank you @SolaGratia. I'm curious how this thinking applies to all the other miracles Jesus did afterwards (and publicly), like healing, multiplying the loaves of bread, etc., since those things did bring Him glory? Was He doing those miracles despite the fact that His ultimate "time" had not yet come, or were those different cases since they were clearly part of His larger ministry of preaching the Kingdom of God? Apr 1, 2021 at 18:53
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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, 2017 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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Perhaps the gospel leaves out some part of the interaction of Jesus with Mary. Between the time of her request and telling the servants what to do, Jesus may have turned to God in a brief prayer. The Father may have given his approval, at which point he turns to Mary and quietly nods his assent. Of course all of this is my imaginings and could be totally in error. But for me it gives a bridge between Jesus saying it is not my time and Mary then telling the servants to do as he says. It’s not scripture but it is certainly plausible.

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  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Dec 4, 2021 at 22:29
  • Welcome to the site, Richard. The answers that are looked for on this site require more than personal opinions. Something may be plausible to one person, but unless substantiated with evidence, be unacceptable to another person. So, as said above, if you can give citations or documentation to back up this idea, your answer could remain, but as it stands, it's not giving the kind of answer looked for.
    – Anne
    Dec 6, 2021 at 15:07
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I'm glad I found this discussion. I am prepping a sermon on this passage, and commentaries have a fair amount of disagreement over what to do with this incident. "Woman" is a respectful title, but the phrase that follows in Jesus' response is “a phrase that emphasizes distance and often hostility between the speaker and the one addressed” (NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible). Ways commentators translated this ranged from "What is there between us?" to "What do we have in common in this matter?”

A couple commentaries connected his response with his role at the wedding: i.e., this was Jesus’ way of saying, "It's not my responsibility. I am not the master of ceremonies for the wedding feast. That time has not yet come."

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  • This is interesting. So in a plain sentence : "the time for me as the master of the ceremony has not come yet". Yet, to me it seems odd because that sentence made Jesus seems thought that Mary ask him to be as a master ceremony while I think Mary is just asking Him to help which helping in someone else's party/ceremony I think won't make the helper become as if he is the host, the master of ceremony. Anyway, thank you for the answer, Anthony 🙏
    – karma
    Jun 6, 2022 at 3:08
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    (+1) Thanks Anthony, welcome to the Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange! This is a good first answer, though it took a few reads to figure out which part of this was trying to answer the question, and it was flagged by another user as a potential non-answer. Feel free to Edit the answer to make it a bit clearer, and otherwise check out the Site Tour to find out more about BH.SE and how everything works here.
    – Steve can help
    Jun 6, 2022 at 12:55
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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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The conversation between Mary and Jesus sets the context for the miracle -- which is not a miracle, mainly, but a sign. The meaning is not just in the miraculous nature of what happens, but the sort of thing that Jesus uses his power to make happen. He does not use that power to bring glory to himself -- no one except the servants know he's done it. Nor does he use that power just to do the host a favor; rather, as it was the bridegroom's duty to supply the wine, Jesus takes over as the host. He is turning the situation into a living metaphor for the coming of the Kingdom of God, declaring himself to be the bridegroom. (And the disciples get this sign, and believe in him as The One.) Moreover, what is important here is also how he does the miracle. He doesn't just go "abracadabra" and produce it out of think air. He turns transformse water used for ritual purification into effervescent wine -- better than the wine the host initially provided. He comes to transform transactional,, "exoskeletal religion" focused on outward behavior and keeping our noses clean into "endoskeletal spirituality"-- from water used to wash the outside ritually, to bubbly that transforms from the inside out.

1
  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Jan 15, 2022 at 15:15

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