The Explore the Bible lesson for May 2 focuses on Luke 22:41-53.
It’s not something we learn in kindergarten, at least beyond the most elementary level. Perhaps our minds have no capacity for grasping such a thing at that age. In time, however, if we are going to live the lives our God created us to live, it is essential that we learn to recognize what time it is in our lives.
Sometimes, in our periods of adolescent impatience, a mature parent will tell us to simply wait, our time will come. If we jump too soon, we may out-jump our reach and fall terribly. If we don’t jump when it’s our time, we may miss the best opportunity we’ll ever have. It’s hard to know.
It’s a matter of profound importance that we know what time it is in our lives.
Jesus recognized God’s timing
Jesus knew what time it was in his life. In the garden as he prayed alone, he knew it was time to give up the fight so that he might give up his body and his spirit to save our souls.
The disciples didn’t seem to have their spiritual “watches” set on the same time. It’s arguable whether they ever appreciated what time it was in Jesus’ life while Jesus was still among them.
Judas, not looking for the spiritual dividends at hand decided to cash in for a fire-sale price and get from Jesus what he could while he could. Later, he learned the tragic way that, when you sell out too cheaply too soon, no one ever quite values your judgment again.
Peter wanted the Lord’s work on his time. We know from John’s Gospel (John 18:10) he was the one who cut off the ear of one of those who had come to arrest Jesus.
Jesus, and Jesus alone, knew what time it was in his life. The sheer agony of that awakening caused him to pray so deeply, Luke records, that Jesus, realizing the gravity of the moment, began to pray with such sincerity that an angel was sent to him to minister to him.
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It’s worth noting that, according to the Gospels, the only other time an angel(s) ministered to Jesus was right after Jesus, having realized it was his time to be baptized into his role as savior, entered the desert. Alone, he was so deprived, that his Father sent angels of heaven to care for him.
Satan offered him the opportunity to rule the world while Jesus was in the desert. Jesus, even then, knew what time it was and didn’t take the fake bait. Every other chapter of our eternities is written in the blood Jesus shed in prayer before he shed one drop on the cross.
When Peter severed the soldier’s ear, Jesus said, “‘No more of this,” (Luke 22:51)! It’s almost as if Jesus were saying: “If there ever were a time for the shedding of human blood for my cause, that time is long past. Now, another time has come when the swords of men cannot accomplish the will of Holy God, only the blood of the Son.”
The hour when darkness reigns
It was then that his captors moved in to finish their work of arresting Jesus. Jesus says words to his captors that rattle all of creation when we listen closely. “This is your hour—when darkness reigns.”
Those are dark, heartbreaking words. How tragic it would be that, when we arrive at the time we know is ours, we find it to be a time “when darkness reigns.” How terribly, terribly sad!
Sometimes these days, it almost seems as though darkness reigns. Pastors and others have wondered aloud what it will be like to return to “normal” in church. What is that normal? What will it look like? Will people return?
There never has been a time when politics and religion were more intertwined and diluted. It’s hard to know who to trust. It’s difficult to know the future course of our nation.
Perhaps our best choice in this moment is to do as Jesus did. To withdraw to a private place so that, when we cry, our tears to God can turn to drops of blood. To pray so earnestly so that, no matter what time it might be in the world, we aren’t willing to miss the time God appointed for us whenever it comes.
Glen Schmucker is a writer and blogger. He has served as a Texas Baptist pastor and as a hospice chaplain.