Carson: None of us has an “inside track” to Jesus

January 15, 2016


As I preach through John’s gospel this year, I can already tell that D.A. Carson’s Pillar New Testament Commentary on John will be a great resource. Regarding Jesus’ words to Mary in John 2:4, he writes:

We must not avoid the conclusion that Jesus by rebuking his mother, however courteously, declares, at the beginning of his ministry, his utter freedom from any kind of human advice, agenda or manipulation. He has embarked on his ministry, the purpose of his coming; his only lodestar is his heavenly Father’s will (5:30; 8:29) This must have been extremely difficult for Mary. She had borne him, nursed him, taught his baby fingers elementary skills, watched him fall over as he learned to walk; apparently she had also come to rely on him as the family provider. But now that he had entered into the purpose of his coming, everything, even family ties, had to be subordinated to his divine mission. She could no longer view him as other mothers viewed their sons; she must no loner be allowed the prerogatives of motherhood. It is a remarkable fact that everywhere Mary appears during the course of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus is at pains to establish distance between them (e.g. Mt. 12:46-50). This is not callousness on Jesus’ part: on the cross he makes provision of her future (19:25-27). But she, like every other person, must come to him as to the promised Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Neither she nor anyone else dare presume to approach him on an ‘inside track’—a lesson even Peter had to learn (Mk. 8:31-33). For no-one could this lesson have been more difficult than for Jesus’ mother; perhaps that was part of the sword that would pierce her soul (Lk. 2:35). For this we should honour her the more.[1]

1. D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 171.

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