We were supposed to study Adam and Eve in Sunday School. As the teacher, I had been boning up on Genesis and the whole getting thrown out of the garden thing for weeks. I knew the story. I knew about when God came back into the Garden of Eden after the fall, and Adam and Eve hid in the bushes. I knew about God banishing them from the garden. I’d also just read the actual wording of the banishment.
What struck me is that they are not referred to as Adam and Eve in the story. It is only after they are cast out of the garden that “the man” names “the woman” Eve.
Therefore, prior to that God referred to her only as “Woman.” When He asked her “Why did you do such a thing?” Eve, known only at that point as “Woman” answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”
Let’s see, how do we put this mildly?
That was a very bad answer.
She took no responsibility for her actions, nor did she ask for forgiveness. She did what we’re all guilty of, she looked around and found someone else to blame. So God said to the woman, “I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing; in pain shall you bring forth children. Yet your urge shall be for your husband, and he shall be your master.”
Duly noted. Then I went to church, and the Holy Spirit decided to show me just how much I don’t yet know about the finer points of His plan. The readings were about Jesus at the Wedding at Cana. It is in this story that one of those, “Huh?” moments happens. You know, one of those moments that I’m like, “Why did He say it like that? What does that mean? It sounds wrong.”
In the story Jesus and His disciples attend a wedding. Midway through the ceremonies, His mother comes up. Now I would rightly assume that Jesus of all sons would have a great deal of respect and love for His mother. Yet when she comes up and says, “They have run out of wine,” He turns to her and says, “Woman, how does your concern affect Me? My hour has not yet come.” I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound very respectful especially to your mother.
I dare you. Next time you see your mom, call her “Woman” and see if I’m wrong.
So the question becomes why. Why did Jesus call Mary, “Woman”?
It is only when you put this passage with the Genesis passage that the pieces suddenly make more sense than they do apart. God’s curse was on the woman. He referred to her as “Woman.” And His curse followed her poorly thought-out answer to, “Why did you do such a thing?”
The Wedding at Cana is a clear answer to this very moment. Mary doesn’t hem and haw, make excuses or cow-tow. She doesn’t look around and find someone to blame. What she does is say what Eve should’ve said, “Do whatever He says.”
The answer when we are faced with temptation and doing things our own way, in our own strength, with our own resources is to repeat, “Do whatever He says.” Not what I say, not what Satan says, not what the world says. Do whatever He says.
By answering what Eve should have, Mary set right our relationship with God once again. She showed the way to lifting the curse from the garden… “Do whatever He says.”
I taught on this principle that very same day in Sunday School. Sometimes the Holy Spirit is so smart that way.
Copyright Staci Stallings 2007