There’s a few explanations for this wierdness that look like they might explain things. But these potential explanations don’t really work.
Which leads to the question: What is going on in the conversation between Jesus and Mary? Why does Jesus first say, “My time has not come?” Why does Mary respond to this by telling the wedding servants to do whatever Jesus tells them? Why does Jesus go on to do it anyway?
I think that Jesus and Mary are talking about two different things, when they talk about wine.
It’s not really a miscommunication. I think that both of them really knew what the other one was talking about it, but neither really shifted gears.
Mary tells Jesus that the wedding party is out of wine. And she means it quite literally.
Jesus responds that his time has not yet come. If he was talking about literal wine, this response doesn’t make a ton of sense. Because if he means that he’s not supposed to do any miracles yet, then we’re left with a question: why does he go on to do the miracle anyway then? If Jesus was supposed to lay low, why does he blow his cover moments later? And furthermore, scripture records that there were positive reactions from Jesus followers after this miracle. How could Jesus have been so mistaken by what would result?
On the other hand, if Jesus takes this as a moment to teach everyone, if he’s speaking about metaphorical wine, this all begins to make a little more sense. Jesus is saying, “My mission has not yet started. I see that there are people here who need help… But that help isn’t here just yet.”
I wonder if by his time he meant the beginning of his ministry or the end of it. I wonder if he meant his earthly teachings, his atoning death, or the words that would come after his reseruction. Probably all three. But this is niether here nor there; the important thing is that I don’t think Jesus is saying, “I’m not doing any miracles yet.” I think he’s saying “I haven’t really started turning the water of peoples lives into wine.”
I don’t think there’s any way around the idea that there must have passed something unamed between Jesus and Mary. Perhaps no one else there really sensed it or could express it. Perhaps it was just one of those mom-things. Somehow, after Jesus said his piece (or his peace?) Mary just looked at him, and she new.
Instead of a contradiction of his earlier words, Jesus literal turning of the water into wine was a foretaste, an object lesson. It was a representation of what he would soon begin. The thing that sits well with me about this understanding is that it’s much more consistent with the way Jesus uses his words and actions elsewhere. There’s very few examples of Jesus words conflicting with his actions. But numerous examples of his words and actions playing off each other, in subtle and profound ways, enhancing and changing the meaning of the other.