“The Wedding at Cana (2:1-11) John 2:1-11 is the opening event in Jesus’ ministry. In 1:35-51, Jesus gathers his first disciples, and in 2:1-11 he attends a wedding with them (2:2). Jesus’ mother is also in attendance (2:1). This is the first mention of Jesus’ mother in John.
John 2:2 indicates that Jesus “was invited” to the wedding. He is not the host of the wedding feast but a guest like everyone else. Jesus’ ministry thus opens with Jesus as the recipient of a gesture of hospitality. The beginning of his ministry is played out in an intimate, personal, familial setting.
Jesus’ mother is the catalyst for the miracle in this story. When the wine at the wedding feast runs out, Jesus’ mother informs him of this lack.
The conversation between Jesus and his mother is important. When Jesus’ mother speaks to him in 2:3, she asks nothing explicit of him, but Jesus’ response in v. 4 makes clear that her words contain an implied request. She assumes that her son can remove the scarcity.
Jesus’ words to his mother in 2:4 seem harsh to the modern ear: “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His words are not an act of rudeness to his mother, however, but are an important assertion of Jesus’ freedom from all human control. Verse 4 insists that Jesus’ actions will not be dictated by anyone else’s time or will. Not even Jesus’ mother can control what he does or who he will be.
That one should not read 2:4 as rudeness is confirmed by Jesus’ mother’s response in v. 5. Despite Jesus’ seeming rebuff of her, his mother tells the servants with utter confidence that Jesus will do something. His mother is thus a model disciple: she trusts that Jesus will act and allows him to act in freedom.
The miracle that Jesus performs is appropriate to the personal setting of the wedding. Turning water into wine is an act of turning scarcity into abundance, of repaying the initial hospitality offered him. Jesus’ first miracle in John takes place in the presence of friends and family, not in the presence of powers and authorities.
This opening to Jesus’ ministry shows that the miraculous life-giving power of God is at work even (and perhaps, especially) in the intimate daily places of human lives.”
(Women’s Bible Commentary, Carol Newsom & Sharon Ringe eds., John Knox Press, 1992, p.383)