Was Jesus disrespectful when He called His mother “woman”?

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Jesus was not disrespectful when He called His mother “woman.” Up until 30 years old, Jesus remained a faithful son to His parents and did all His duties as a son to support them. And He set a good example of taking care of His parents, particularly on the cross when He made sure John would count Mary as his mother (John 19:26).

At an early age, He pointed out to them that His Father was God (Luke 2:49). And as He entered into His ministry, a transition needed to be made between Him and Mary His mother for no one really understood Christ’s ministry as the Messiah.

Jesus officially entered His ministry on earth after His baptism, and one of the first public events He attended with His disciples shortly afterwards was a wedding in Cana (John 2:1-10). At this incident Mary was helping out in the preparations for the wedding. she has heard about Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist, His disappearance for 40 days in the wilderness, and His reappearance. As a mother who reared her son believing Him to be the Messiah, she approached Jesus with a request that was partly intended for Him to manifest Himself as the Messiah. She told Him that the wedding hosts ran out of wine. She knew that He had no money, and in this way she suggested that He would do something supernatural to reveal Himself to the world.

Christ’s responded to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4). He told her that this was not the way He intended to manifest Himself as the Messiah. His choice of word in calling her woman instead of mother was also intended to instill in her mind that He is not under her authority as the Messiah, He is under God’s authority. 

Although she apparently did not fully understand Christ’s ministry, she did have implicit faith in Him in that she authorized the servants to do whatever He tells them (John 2:5). Jesus quietly honored her faith but then left the wedding party before people would realize that He was the One who performed the miracle. In so doing, He showed her that He isn’t going to draw attention to Himself in the manner she was expecting just yet.

Later during His ministry, Mary and Christ’s brothers wanted to talk to Him but they could not get to Him because of the crowds. So, they sent for Him to come to them yet Christ did not respond to their call, and therefore showed again that He is not under Mary’s authority. And He said, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it” (Luke 8:19-21). 

While Jesus was on earth, He gave no indication that Mary was above Him. She was not the mother of God, she was simply the tool in which Jesus entered into the world. Mary was to look at Christ as the Messiah, her Savior from sin (Luke 1:47).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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