20 Different Words, Not our own Understanding

John 2: 1-7:  1On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

Woman (1), why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

So often people read this and are shocked as to how Jesus addressed his mom.  What is needed is the original Greek to understand that this is not a derogatory term, meaning Jesus was not being disrespectful to his mother.  Besides all that actions speak louder than words.  In his actions, Jesus obeyed his mother.  He showed her honor.  From reading the Strong’s translation via the Blue Letter Bible website, Thank you Lord for someone who makes Strong’s easy!!!  We learn that the actual word used is not the disrespectful term that we have come to associate with this word.  Many languages have multiple words meaning the same thing in English.  The difference being the different words meaning the same English word all have different meanings.  I remember a sermon one time on the word LOVE. If you look at the Strong’s on the Blue Letter Bible it shows the Greeks and Hebrews had 20 different words that we translate into the word LOVE.

Is it any wonder that we have difficulty understanding the Bible?  There are that many words for Love. Out of curiosity I looked up the word Woman, the Hebrews had 17 words which translate into our one word Woman. The Greek has 4.  In English there are many words used for the word woman. Not all are nice and for whatever reason woman is one of my least favorites.  It is surpassed by derogatory terms meaning “lady of the evening”.  In the Hebrew I found three words that would be derogatory words meaning woman, while the other 14 are nice terms.  You are probably wondering where I am going with this. What I am saying is sometimes the Bible is hard to understand because we don’t have enough words to describe what is actually being said.  When Jesus said Woman, in modern language it might sound something like this: Really Mom, You want me to use my God-given talents to make wine?  Jesus knew that she would do this.  He knew that since he had to remain without sin, he had to obey his mother.  The Bible is very clear on this.  Obey your parents, honor you mother and father is a theme echoed throughout the Bible. Jesus was prepared to do what his mother had asked him to do.  He just used a very adult term for his MOM, after all his was around 30 when this conversation occurred. You don’t expect him to throw a tantrum and say Ah Come on mommy, do you? Sometimes when we are listening to people, because let’s face it, colloquialisms are an important part of our culture and can vary town to town. We have to not only listen to what they say, but watch what they do.  Jesus did what his mother asked. Men cannot disrespect their mothers based on verse 4.  Mom’s are not below children. Moms are supposed to have a place of honor.  I know that for some of you that may be very difficult.  Some of you may have been abandoned by your mom or hurt by her, either physically or emotionally. Those moms just like dads that fall into that category are hard to honor let alone love.  Unfortunately the Bible does not give us that option. We have to accept the fact that a parent that hurt us had their own problems.  They are human and not perfect. We have to let go of the pain and the hate for our own benefit not theirs.  Makes it a bit easier doesn’t it to forgive them for your own well-being.  When we let go of hate and anger we free ourselves. We remove tools the evil one uses against us. But we cannot use this verse as an excuse to not honor our moms that was not what Jesus was doing. When we interpret this scripture in this manner, we are interpreting by our understanding not God’s.

footnote: 1:

  1. Blue Letter Bible KJV Greek Translation: a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow, a wife, of a betrothed woman:   not a derogatory term
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