When an Hour Is More Than Sixty Minutes

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November 4, 2020

John 17:1-5

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

CONSIDER THIS

We come now to the end; at least it is the beginning of the end. Perhaps most aptly, we might say it is the end of the beginning. Remember how this Gospel began,

“In the beginning was the Word. . .”

There is the beginning and there is the end. Here’s the burning question: What comes in between?

If you answered “the middle” you are exactly right and yet have missed the point entirely.

The middle is this murky expanse of chronological time in which the world drifts in and out of sleep; tossed to and fro by the waves of political machinations and the ever shifting tides of the spirit of the age amid the sounds of rising and falling empires. Everything all at once seems so important and urgent and yet so transient and temporary. The middle is a place of vacuous lostness amid the arrogant certainty and searing conviction of an utterly self-righteous generation.

This middle place is the exactly the same today as it was on the day when Jesus spoke these immortal words from his longest prayer. In the messy malaise of this middle Jesus speaks words that forever shift our sense of time and eternity. Into the wandering abyss of the unresolved middle Jesus declares kairos time with these five words:

“Father, the hour has come.”

We have come to the moment of the complete and utter unveiling of his eternal destiny. We are about to witness the absolute and unimaginable shift of the center of the gravity of glory.

There are millennia, centuries, months, weeks, days, and hours. And then there is the hour.

You have, no doubt, noticed this recurrent theme through the whole Gospel. My hour has not yet come,” Jesus said to his mother at the wedding miracle at Cana of Galilee. “The hour is coming and is now here,” he told the woman at the well, “when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” Survey the Gospel from chapters 2 to 4 to 5 and 7 and 8 and 12 to 13 and sixteen and now 17, THE HOUR keeps on coming up.

Into the midst of the muddy, miry, slumbering middle of nowhere and no time—”when all the best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry and leave us nothing but grief and pain for promised joy”— Jesus commands the bell tower of eternity to ring out the carillon chorus of this precipitous prelude:

Father, the hour has come.

The hour of eternal life has dawned on the faces of our weary clocks. Here is the mystery: This is no sixty-minute hour. It is an eternal hour, an ever-open, right here, right now open window into life. Eternal life breaks into ordinary time.

And what is eternal life? Is it the future we await when our bodies are laid in the ground? No!

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

There are only two realities now. We are either asleep in the middle or awake in the hour.

And you?

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, we thank you for your son, Jesus, whom to know is eternal life. Oh that we might know him. I want to know Jesus, more today than I did yesterday and more tomorrow than even today. Come Holy Spirit and remind us, remind me, that the hour is always now—this hour. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. How is your conception of “eternal life” growing? deepening? 
  2. How are you finding yourself in the mirey muck and muddle of “the middle” at this time in your life? 
  3. How might you awaken more deeply to THE HOUR in the midst of the middle? Perhaps you might begin by declaring with Jesus, “Father, the hour has come.” 

Today, and every Wednesday at noon central time, we gather on a global Zoom call to sow together for a great awakening in prayer. It is powerful. Would you join us today? ZOOM LINK HERE.

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I believe that in stating “the hour had come” was Jesus’s way of saying that time to fulfill all that had been written about the Messiah was now happening. He would later say to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: “How foolish you are and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” I find myself in that interlude between the KOG inaugurated and KOG consummated. I struggle to walk by faith rather than sight.

  2. Eternal life is within me because I am in him. However, it take work on my part to be still and know. I must experience his life in me and quiet myself to all the noise of this world. Eternal life is the peace when the storm rages and he stills the water. Eternal life is the hope of heaven and the joy of my salvation. Eternal life is to be in the household of His kingdom and have God to rule and reign with in.

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