“My Hour Has Not Yet Come”
A date on the calendar. Something coming and yet still off in the distance. For some, that distant marker is a glorious occasion. One that is greatly anticipated holding great joy and excitement.
For a little child, Christmas holds this anticipation. This date stamped on the calendar with games that count down each day. 25 pieces of chocolate. 25 little cardboard windows opened until the window that gives view to Jesus. In our home, it is a a quilted calendar with a Christmas tree and small velcro pieces waiting in dated pockets. Each day, one velcro piece comes out of its little pocket and is eagerly placed on the quilted Christmas tree marking one day closer. One day closer….
And yet, there are those far off dates that are wrapped not with what looks like beauty and excitement, but a sense of dread and fearful unknown. I’ve had some of those days, maybe you have too. The date of my son’s scheduled c-section. August 14, 2002. The date when my fragile little boy diagnosed in utero with a fatal genetic condition that doctors said would take his life would enter this world. A date that should hold joy, but held the fragrance of death. A calendar that I didn’t want to mark off. Wishing time would stand still. And the date when my cancer would take my womanly parts. July 15, 2010. A double mastectomy, reconstruction and the start of the fight of my life against a disease waging war inside of me. As much as I wanted it all behind me, I didn’t want to face the pain of what those hours would hold. I wanted to be insulated from the pain. I wanted to escape it. Slip through the back door.
Each date on the calendar, whether one holding great joy or one holding great sorrow, is purposeful to God. It is an opportunity. An opportunity for God to work. An opportunity to point others to Jesus.
Jesus knew what it felt like to have a date on the calendar. He stepped into time fully God, wrapped in human flesh and the days on the calendar began to be peeled away as His hour approached. There was much to be accomplished before the final hour came. An hour that would bring agony, rejection, immense pain, loneliness and then death. He knew in his infinite knowledge what that day would look like. No secrets. No unknowns. He knew it from the foundation of the world. He knew that day was on the horizon. The day, the hour when He would take the sin of the world, my sin, your sin, upon His shoulders on the cross and win victory over sin. A victory that would only come through death so we could have life.
And yet, as much pain and agony that encompassed that day, it was a day of great joy for Jesus. “…who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross… Hebrews 12:2b.” So hard to wrap our human minds around. We want to escape pain and Jesus submitted to it with joy. Joy because salvation would be accomplished that day for anyone who believes in Jesus. Joy because through the cross we could spend eternity with God. The worst day and the best day wrapped together. A day Jesus anticipated knowing it would be filled with great pain and yet great joy. It would be a day of purpose. Godly purpose.
In the waiting, Jesus kept His focus and purpose in mind. Until the hour came, Jesus would give signs of His identity. He would give reasons to prove His identity causing many to believe that He is the Messiah. He would heal, restore, teach and love. He would make every minute useful for God’s glory.
This day, just days after His baptism in the Jordan and His entrance into public ministry, He is invited to a wedding in Cana of Galilee. The very thing He created in joining together a man and a woman. The very example He set forth for us to understand His relationship to us. There He stood as a guest with his mother, Mary and His disciples. His mother, Mary, knowing that her son was the Son of God, that He would be great, and would be called the Son of the Highest. That He would be given the throne of His father David and reign eternally, waited for over 30 years to see Him claim what was promised. She waited for Him to show the world who He was.
Having known of His baptism and seeing these men following Him, was the time now? Was the date on the calendar coming more clearly into view?
“The hour had not yet come” (John 2:4).
No one, including Mary knew of what was to come. They didn’t fully understand. But Jesus did. Seven times in John Jesus will tell people that "his hour has not come." Then when he prays to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest and crucifixtion, He will say, "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son that Your Son also may glorify You" John 17:1b. His final hours were not yet, but the hours in between gave way to opportunity. And seeing an opportunity before Him, He seized it. The hour had come for His glory to be made known to a select few.
Jesus never deterred from His purpose and never lost an opportunity.
Mary tells Jesus there is a problem. The wine had run out. A travesty in a Jewish wedding feast. Wine, in Jewish culture, was also a symbol of joy. The wine wasn’t just depleted, so was the joy of Israel. Jesus gave commands to the servants as Mary and the disciples looked on and had the servants fill six waterpots to the brim with water. Then without a word, He turned the water into the most delicious wine for all the guests to enjoy. He gave joy. Joy in its fullest measure.
There wasn’t fanfare or hype. A large crowd didn’t gather around. Mary, the disciples and some servants gathered around and Jesus showed them a sign of who He was. He is the One who can without a word make water into wine. He is the One who will take the old cleansing waterpots fill them with life giving water and make something new. From those waterpots many would draw out, receive and be filled.
The hour of the cross had not yet come. But in the hours leading up to it, hours that would cover almost three and a half years, Jesus would take those hours as opportunity, never losing sight of what would be accomplished in “the final hour;” an hour of dread, but great joy. His purpose? That many would believe in Him.
What hours has the Lord given you as opportunity to display His glory to others? Are you using them or are you looking for the back door, a way to slip out and escape what may be difficult or uncomfortable? The hours are short before our Lord returns again. May we all make the most of the time He has given us knowing that many need to know of Jesus so that they, too, may believe in Him.
Can’t wait to dig into John 2 with you this Thursday.