by Pastor Reid Matthias
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You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival because my time has not fully come (John 7:8).
Read John 7:1–13
I wish, I wish, I wish I had perfect timing.
Whether the punchline for a joke, how to keep a steady beat while playing music or, most importantly, the moment to reveal to my wife that I forgot to get the steaks out of the freezer for dinner, I wish I had that timing.
I suppose perfect timing is not only being aware of what the actual time is, but it’s also paying attention to what’s going on around me. And sometimes, that perfect timing is not a perfect time for me.
So it seems with Jesus, after his discussion with his disciples regarding the Communion pathway to forgiveness of sins and eternal life in him.
I wonder how tempting it would have been for Jesus, after ‘many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him’ (John 6:66), to call them back and say, ‘But watch this! Remember how I turned water into wine? Remember when I walked on water?’ Surely, then, those abandoning disciples would have said, ‘Okay, then. It’s a lot easier to follow you when you’re performing miracles for me’.
That wasn’t the right time for Jesus, just because the people believed Jesus should capitalise on his celebrity. And when he didn’t, when he ‘missed his opportunity,’ they left. Following Jesus as a servant, as a ‘mere’ itinerant teacher and preacher, was too hard. In that, there was embarrassment. What if Jesus was ‘merely’ that? We want a Saviour, and he claims to be a servant.
‘My time has not fully come,’ Jesus asserts.
It wasn’t until the cross and its cruel torture, the tomb and its ultimate pain, and the resurrection and its eternal hope that Jesus’ time had fully come. To follow him to the cross seems like folly – too hard – yet to die with him in his death, dying to self, is the only way to salvation.
That’s the perfect time.
How hard is it for you to hear, understand and follow Jesus? Are there times when his words make you cringe? Are there times when you just want Jesus to perform a miracle so you can really believe?
Yeah, me too.
That’s the perfect time for me to rest assured that despite my struggle to hear, understand and follow him, despite my cringing at some of the things I think, Jesus brushes them aside and says, ‘I have come that they may have life and have it to the full’ (John 10:10b).
That’s Jesus’ perfect time.
Dearest Jesus, thank you, that despite my fears and faithful misgivings, you claim me as your own to be with you forever. Amen.
Reid Matthias is the school pastor at St Andrews Lutheran College in Tallebudgera, Queensland. Reid is married to Christine, who is part of the Grow Ministries team. Together, they have raised three incredible daughters, Elsa, Josephine and Greta. Dedicated to the written word, Reid has recently published his fourth novel, Blank Spaces, maintains the blog ireid.blogspot.com and regularly contributes to The Lutheran magazine.