Sunday, January 14, 2024

A look at hours. . .

It occurs to me that the business of hour in Scripture has caused no shortage of complaint and confusion.  So when we speak of creation, we get the conundrum of what it means when it says God created in days when it might be said that our definition of a day does not come until at least after the first day.  But as interesting as this is, it is slightly amusing.  How positively impotent of God to create a day without the sun and moon!  Surely it is swatting at gnats to question the use of day here while swallowing the elephant of God making all things from nothing.

There is another aspect of day which clearly is not referencing the mere passage of hours or minutes.  That is the Messianic Day.  Our Lord announces this hour.  He also announces when it is not.  In John 2:4 Jesus insists His hour has not yet come.  Jesus is not complaining about a scheduling issue with the urging of the Blessed Virgin who says They have no wine.  The hour of which our Lord speaks is the Messianic Hour.  So when Jesus then says in John 12 that the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified, He is again not referring to a timing issue counted in minutes.  The hour which our Lord is addressing is the hour of His death of which Holy Thursday is the prelude.  Likewise in John 17, Jesus announces the hour not so that we might check our watches or even calendars but look to behold the work of God that fulfills the promise of the prophecy of Eden and the promise of the prophets through the ages.  Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that He may glorify You.  This is not an hour with minutes but with meaning for all the minutes of creation.  Everything looks to this time and this event.

Curiously, the hours of our suffering and pain are always counted in minutes.  That is because they have an end.  Just like our lives are counted in years, months, days, and minutes -- we have an end.  But what God does to save us happens in time but is without limit.  The Messianic Hour has become our time now by baptism and faith.  We are no longer captive to the present just as we are not imprisoned by our past.  We have the future God has appointed and it is ours now by faith and soon face to face.  We have already passed from death to life (John 5) though we have this day in part and will have it completely on the day God has appointed.  We endure the sufferings of this life but they have an hour, an end.  We rejoice in the life that God has appointed without suffering and without end.  This ought to be a matter of some hope and joy for us.  All of these thoughts happen to me on my preparation for preaching on Epiphany 2 in the one year series.

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