My Hour is not yet come, but yours is always ready!
© 2022 C. O. Bishop
John 7:1-9; John 7:25-30; John 8:20
Sometimes we wonder why things happen, and how they fit into God’s “Wonderful plan” for our lives. I used to use the “Four Spiritual Laws” tracts, written by Bill Bright, but I eventually quit using them for several reasons:
Problems with Tracts
For one thing, the central premise, (“God Loves You and Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life) is technically true, but, from most people’s perspective, it is seriously flawed: Yes, God loves you and Yes, He has a wonderful plan for your life, but it may or may not feel or look very wonderful to you. And you may not always be conscious of His loving care in your life.
For example: every single one of His apostles (with the possible exception of John) were eventually executed. How wonderful was that? Millions of His followers, since that time, have been persecuted, had their children taken from them, their belongings confiscated, and have suffered imprisonment or other forms of persecution for their faith in Him. Millions have died horrible deaths, rather than disown Him. How wonderful does that sound? So, that was one problem: I was uncomfortable with the core message.
The real issue though, which caused me to quit using that tract entirely, was that it left out the core issues of the Gospel, and its message centered on “how much better things would be if you knew Jesus,” and it finally concluded, “Pray this prayer and receive Christ.”
What is the Gospel?
That is not what the Gospel says! The Gospel says, “Place your faith in His blood sacrifice for your sins and be saved.” There is no mention of “praying a prayer:” the issue is faith: place your faith in the death and the burial and the ressurection of Jesus Christ!
The result of the Gospel is also described: “It has been given unto you in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” (Philippians 1:29)
You see, that sort of thing doesn’t find its way into very many tracts. It is not attractive-sounding! The fact is, as a newborn believer, you have already “chosen a side” in a spiritual war that, previously, you didn’t even know existed, and now life is getting worse, (maybe) not better, in certain areas. Hopefully, you have grown in your faith at least a little, and are able to enjoy your relationship with the Savior, regardless of circumstances. That, alone, is the key to Christian Joy.
But, if you were thinking that your circumstances were supposed to improve, and that “nothing bad would ever happen to you again;” then, you were in for a very rude shock! Probably, you got through the early disappointments as part of the “learning curve,” but maybe other people have been pestering you with questions, like: “How could a Loving God allow these things to Happen?” Perhaps you have asked that question yourself.
Let’s read what Jesus said about some of these things.
My Time is not yet Come
1After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. 2 Now the Jew’s feast of tabernacles was at hand. 3 His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. 4 For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.
5 For neither did his brethren believe in him. 6 Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. 7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. 8 Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast: for my time is not yet full come. 9 When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee
One of the first things we see in that passage is that the Jews were seeking to kill Jesus. Jesus knew that, and (as we see later) it was common knowledge in at least some circles, though it was denied by the ones who actually conspired against him.
Jesus’s physical half-brothers (they were the offspring of Joseph, by Mary…listed by name in Mark 6:3) were urging Jesus to go up to Jerusalem and show Himself to the general population at the Feast of Tabernacles.
In a way, this made good sense, from a human perspective: IF Jesus wanted (and He did not) to make himself “known openly” (i.e. “get famous”) then there could be no better time: All the serious Jews in the world would be at that feast. If you wanted to get noticed by the Jews, that was the time and the place to do it!
But fame was not Jesus’s primary motive. He had a job to do, and it involved walking a very narrow path (think “tightrope”) to the Cross…not to fame and fortune. He hinted at this, earlier, in John 4:34, saying that His primary passion was to do His Father’s Will. He confirmed this later at Gethsemane, saying “Not My will but Thine be done.”
The other thing as we already saw, was that Jesus already knew the Jews wanted to kill him. It seems that his brothers were not yet fully aware of this. And, as John points out, in verse 5, they also did not yet believe in Him, themselves. He was just their “eldest brother, “and He was not behaving as they thought an “eldest brother” should behave. (Evidence in scripture suggests that Joseph had died, and that Jesus was now the head of the household.) They thought He should be “leading the charge,” and making their family more successful.
His reply to them was that they could head on up, but that He would not be leaving yet. He explained, “My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. 7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. 8 Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast: for my time is not yet full come.”
This isn’t the only place He made such comments. You may remember, He told Mary nearly the same thing, in John 2:4. “…mine hour is not yet come.” And there were other times, later on, when the comment was made that, “his hour was not yet come.” (John 7:30; 8:20)
What was Jesus telling them?
Let’s break it down a little. He said four things:
- My time is not yet come
- Your time is always ready
- The World cannot hate you
- The World does hate me; because I testify of it that its works are evil
Why did He say, His time had not yet Come, but theirs was always ready?
Jesus is perhaps the only person in History whose every step was choreographed. It was impossible for Him to do other than the directive will of God, because He, Himself, was God in the Flesh! Every step he took, and every word He spoke was exactly what He was directed to do by God the Father, because He was God the Son! And the two were in perfect agreement.
When we say we want to do God’s Will, we often simultaneously express the regret that we don’t always know what He wants us to do. All I can do is fall back on the Written Word, to see the general assignment for the church-age believers, and then trust Him to lead me as I seek to follow Him. Jesus didn’t have that problem: He knew His Father’s will!
Jesus Knew The Will of God
So, Jesus knew the Jews wanted to kill him, and that they were watching for him at Jerusalem. The brothers didn’t believe, yet, that He was the Messiah. Possibly they would have been in danger, there, just by being with Him in Jerusalem. Also, He knew it was not yet time for him to be glorified in death, so his entrance was going to be quiet, this time.
But, in contrast to His “choreographed” life, our lives can be shut down at any time. We are not on a tightrope, as He was. God gives us a great deal of latitude, in decision making. He also gives us a whole Bible full of directions as to how to make good decisions and how to gain wisdom so as to correctly apply knowledge. He also warns us that bad decisions can be fatal. James warns us, too, saying that our lives are like a vapor, and they can disappear in an instant, even if we are making the best decisions we can. We have no promise of tomorrow.
But Jesus knew exactly how long He was going to live, and He knew exactly what to do at all times. None of us can say that about ourselves.
Why would He say, “The World Cannot Hate you?”
He told His natural brothers, “The world cannot hate you,” but later, through John (1st John 3:13) He said, “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.”
Is that a contradiction? No, it isn’t! Jesus’s physical, biological half-brothers had not yet believed in Him, so they still “belonged to the World.”
In John 15:18, 19, speaking to the Eleven, Jesus said, “18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
So, as long as we were unbelievers, we were accepted by the World (to one degree or another) as being one of their own: but now that we have placed our trust in Jesus, we no longer belong to the World. Now, they see us as enemies! We smell like Jesus, now, and they don’t like that!
Jesus’s brothers still fit in just fine, but Jesus’s disciples didn’t fit in at all! (And we don’t!)
Why does the World Hate Jesus?
Back in John 1:4, we saw that Jesus was the only source of light and life to the Human Race. The next verse says, “and the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not.” (in this context, the word translated “comprehend” is better understood as “overpower.” Yes, it is true that the darkness does not “understand the light,” but the connotation is that “the darkness has never been able to extinguish the light.”)
We are given to understand that this light is more than just physical light: photons, light waves, etc. It is the Moral light of God’s Presence. 1st John 1:5 says, “God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all.”
The World Hates Light!
So, in John 3:19, when Jesus said, “This is the Condemnation, that light is come into the World, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil,” we have no trouble understanding that Jesus was not referring to “people whose eyes are hurt by bright lights,” but rather, the pattern of evil in the world, that hates to be exposed.
Jesus is the Light of the World: (He says so in John 8:12!) So, as physical light dispels darkness because it is in its character to do so, Jesus has exposed the evil of the World from the beginning. And the World hates Him for that, alone. They don’t hate him for healing people: they hate Him for exposing them as sinners. They don’t hate Him for doing Good: they hate him for exposing the fact that they are doing evil!
But He was on a time-table—a schedule! Notice what happened when He went up to Jerusalem, later:
25Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? 26 But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? 27 Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.
28 Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. 29 But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me. 30 Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.
- The people recognized Jesus as the one whom the authorities were seeking to kill.
- They marveled that Jesus taught openly, and the authorities did nothing.
- The people speculated that possibly the authorities knew that He really was the Messiah.
- They did not know the Word very well: they thought no one would know the Messiah’s origin: But the scriptures are very clear as to “Where He would come from.”
- Jesus told them, “Yes, you do know me…but you don’t know the One who sent Me!”
- Then they all tried to take Him, but they failed: “because His hour was not yet come!”
It is an interesting little story, isn’t it? He knew when His “hour” was, and they did not, but they still could not take Him, “because His hour had not yet come.” (It almost looks as though God was in control, doesn’t it?) And, the same thing happened in the next chapter, when Jesus taught about His own testimony and that of His Father.
John 8:20 says,
20 These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.
It seems we are not in control of what happens around us! All His enemies wanted to arrest Him and wanted Him dead, but they couldn’t do it! In John 7:32-46, we see that officers were sent to arrest him, but they hung back, and listened to him. They eventually went back empty-handed, and the chief priests asked, “Why have ye not brought Him?” But the officers could only reply “Never man spake like this Man!” The authority of God was shining through Jesus in such a way that humans (even the officers His enemies had sent to arrest Him) were awed by Him!
So, “Who is in control, here?”
This passage should begin to teach us of the authority of God over all things, including our own lives, and it should help us to submit to that authority, rather than constantly protesting against it, saying that “it is not what we wanted.” (We argue with God a lot!)
If we can accept that this is the honest Word of God, and if we can see that nothing could be done against God’s Messiah, except as it completely fit His timetable, then it should give us a sense of confidence about our own future.
As Romans 8:31 says, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” And, in that case, Romans 8:28 also becomes a reality. We love to quote the first half of that verse, saying, “And we know all things work together for good….” But we seldom quote the last half: “…to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”
We can rest easy in God’s Will, if the latter half of that verse is true about us, but without it, the first half is very questionable. Jesus said, “…your time is always ready.” We don’t know how much time we have left to serve the Lord. We can keep wasting time, and thinking we will “catch up tomorrow.” But we are not promised tomorrow. I am directing this at myself as much as anyone else. We need to use our time wisely.
Lord Jesus, draw us along to number our days, and to recognize how short our lives are in light of eternity. Help us not to waste the opportunity You have given us to work beside you in your field, and to serve as Your ambassadors in this life.