Lent Devotional Day 16

Day 16
Thursday, March 9th

John 7:1-31
1 After this Jesus traveled throughout Galilee. He didn’t want to travel in Judea, because the Jewish authorities wanted to kill him. 2 When it was almost time for the Jewish Festival of Booths, 3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee. Go to Judea so that your disciples can see the amazing works that you do. 4 Those who want to be known publicly don’t do things secretly. Since you can do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 His brothers said this because even they didn’t believe in him.

6 Jesus replied, “For you, anytime is fine. But my time hasn’t come yet. 7 The world can’t hate you. It hates me, though, because I testify that its works are evil. 8 You go up to the festival. I’m not going to this one because my time hasn’t yet come.” 9 Having said this, he stayed in Galilee. 10 However, after his brothers left for the festival, he went too—not openly but in secret.
11 The Jewish leaders were looking for Jesus at the festival. They kept asking, “Where is he?” 12 The crowds were murmuring about him. “He’s a good man,” some said, but others were saying, “No, he tricks the people.” 13 No one spoke about him publicly, though, for fear of the Jewish authorities.

14 Halfway through the festival, Jesus went up to the temple and started to teach. 15 Astonished, the Jewish leaders asked, “He’s never been taught! How has he mastered the Law?”
16 Jesus responded, “My teaching isn’t mine but comes from the one who sent me. 17 Whoever wants to do God’s will can tell whether my teaching is from God or whether I speak on my own. 18 Those who speak on their own seek glory for themselves. Those who seek the glory of him who sent me are people of truth; there’s no falsehood in them. 19 Didn’t Moses give you the Law? Yet none of you keep the Law. Why do you want to kill me?” 20 The crowd answered, “You have a demon. Who wants to kill you?”

21 Jesus replied, “I did one work, and you were all astonished. 22 Because Moses gave you the commandment about circumcision (although it wasn’t Moses but the patriarchs), you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If a man can be circumcised on the Sabbath without breaking Moses’ Law, why are you angry with me because I made an entire man well on the Sabbath? 24 Don’t judge according to appearances. Judge with right judgment.” 25 Some people from Jerusalem said, “Isn’t he the one they want to kill? 26 Here he is, speaking in public, yet they aren’t saying anything to him. Could it be that our leaders actually think he is the Christ? 27 We know where he is from, but when the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.”
28 While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he exclaimed, “You know me and where I am from. I haven’t come on my own. The one who sent me is true, and you don’t know him. 29 I know him because I am from him and he sent me.” 30 So they wanted to seize Jesus, but they couldn’t because his time hadn’t yet come. 31 Many from that crowd believed in Jesus. They said, “When the Christ comes, will he do more miraculous signs than this man does?”

Timing is everything.  Haven't we all heard this?  We time our cooking, our vacations, our holidays, our wedding dates, our important comings and goings, etc.  And timing is important in our faith lives too.  But, there is “our time” and then there is “God's time.”  It is important to note that Jesus was clearly operating on God's time, not our human clocks. And this is hard for us to register when we want God to act in our lives NOW, not later.  To wait on God's timing can be very frustrating.  

I remember when I was a youth director at a church many, many years ago.   I was just barely getting into the faith then, but my secondary education degree seemed to fit the need for working with the youth.  I thought I was doing a pretty good job of it.  I was weighing going to seminary but I REALLY DIDN’T want to go back to school and certainly not at a seminary.  I wasn't even sure I was firm in my belief.  Then the church decided to accept the appointment of an additional clergy who would also cover the youth.  WHAT?  I was angry!

And this is the timing thing.  I could have gone elsewhere and been hired as the youth “person” or I could “legitimize” my direction by going to seminary. Looking back, I reflect on this as being a threshold time for me.  Was I serious about my faith journey or just wanting a job?   My timing said, “Take the easy route.”  God's timing said, “Go big or not at all.”  So, I dragged my reluctant self to seminary and completed that journey as I am now a retired pastor.  

This is what Jesus' brother was dealing with in this scripture....timing.  But even more than that, his own brother just didn't get that Jesus was the Messiah.   It seems he was being more of a personal agent or marketing manager for Jesus. He wanted Jesus to go to Judea for the festival and make known his mighty acts as if it were a performance opportunity.   But Jesus says, “Not now. This is not my time.”  Jesus, of course, was on God's time as the  Messiah, not just a marvel maker.  The timing issue then, as it is now, is discerning when GOD thinks the time is right.

So, I look back and wonder what, where, who would I be if I had taken the easy way?  And maybe you are waiting on God's timing right now?  Lean into God's possibilities for you.  You may need to wait on it, and it may not be the easy way.  But God's time is always the right time!

By Sue Mitch
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