Have you ever worried about whether it is the right time to do an important something? So much of our life can be consumed by these concerns. Should I take a gap year now would have been a big question for 18 year olds as they waited for the A level results. Is it the right time to commit to life-long marriage, even when should I pop the question? At the other end of life, is it the right time to move into supported living? In terms of Christian service when should I take on leading a youth group, volunteering in an outreach programme, perhaps apply for missionary training. Is going for the next promotion really the thing to do or does God want me where I am?
Does the Jesus disciple have a different perspective about timing in life to the rest of the world? A disciple learns from his teacher. So how did Jesus approach his timing?
Jesus was remaining in Galilee even though it was the Feast of Booths, otherwise known as the Festival of Tabernacles. The Feast of Booths took place each year in September/October. It is named as such because people lived in outdoor shelters to remember God’s faithfulness to Israel during the time spent in the wilderness following their escape from Egypt. Deuteronomy 16.13-15 It was a time of great joy and centred on the Temple in Jerusalem in Judea.
Jesus’ brothers, that is younger sons of Joseph and Mary, wanted to go up and join in the celebrations. They urged Jesus to go with them but the reasons they gave arose from a misunderstanding and skepticism of Jesus identity and calling. John 7.5 It wasn’t until after Jesus resurrection that we have evidence of the brothers’ faith in Jesus. Acts 1.14 They argued that if Jesus wanted to promote himself he needed to go where the action was and do his stuff there. They thought that Jesus’ motivation was self-promotion, much as one expects a secular opposition leader to be like.
Jesus however was motivated by obedience to the Father. He taught what his Father taught him, ‘My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.’ John 7.16 He was obedient to the mission given to him by his Father, ‘I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. I know him, for I come from him and he sent me.’ John 7.28,29 Jesus did go to the Feast of Booths, but some days later. He didn’t go to attract attention but quietly. John 7.10 He knew the timing was not correct and the day when he was to suffer was still some time off. The end goal of course was to bring salvation for all who believed and glory to the Father, but this had to be in the Father’s time and it had to be through humiliating suffering and not an easy path.
What then as disciples can we learn about the timing of important decisions? To make godly decisions we need to spend time being close to God as Jesus was. That means time in bible reflection and prayer. We need to align our motivations to those of Jesus that did not seek self-promotion for the sake of it. There will be times when it is better to wait, God has other plans. Our decisions should not always fit the wider world view of how we should behave, in this account expressed by Jesus’ brothers. There are times when the quiet way is God’s way.
Do you have an important decision pending?
Have you considered it in terms of God’s purposes for your life?
Is the advice you are receiving coming from a Godly perspective?
The Way – Pat Barrett