Murray Harris (Navigating Tough Texts, p75f) points out that Jesus speaks directly to Mary, his mother, on just three recorded occasions:
Lk 2:48f – ‘His mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.” 2:49 But he replied [to them], “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”’
Jn 2:3f – ‘When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no wine left.” 2:4 Jesus replied, “Woman, why are you saying this to me? My time has not yet come.”’
Jn 19:25-27 – ‘Now standing beside Jesus’ cross were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 19:26 So when Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, look, here is your son!” 19:27 He then said to his disciple, “Look, here is your mother!” From that very time the disciple took her into his own home.’
It is of interest, Murray suggests, that on none of these occasions does Jesus speak to Mary by the expected form of address, ‘Mother’. On the two occasions when he does use a form of address, it is ‘Woman’ – not a negative form, indeed (as it sometimes is in our culture), but nevertheless a somewhat distant, formal address.
‘If we examine the four episodes in the Gospels that involve Mary (Luke 2:41–52; John 2:1–10; Matt 12:46–50 and parallels; John 19:26–27), we can observe Jesus’ readjustment of family and maternal ties at various junctures in his life and ministry. Mary was being gently led, like Mary Magdalene after Jesus’ resurrection (John 20:11–18), from a temporary earthly relationship with Jesus toward a permanent spiritual relationship with him. This loosening of Jesus’ links with his mother resulted from his establishment of a new family and of new relationships that supersede all others (Matt 12:46–50).’