Making us New
St John’s account of the Passion Chapters 18 & 19
It takes a lot of work to make something new. It can cost a lot too. I think of rebuilding my holden 186 motor in my 1970 HG wagon when I was 20. It took me ages and it was hard work.
I think of building a house or building up a business or getting to the end of Yr 12 with good marks or completing a Uni degree. Making something new, opening up new possibilities, starting something good takes a lot and costs a lot.
What if the thing that was being made new was the universe itself? What if the thing being made new was this planet, and all of its life including humans? That would cost the most and be the hardest because there are deep and dark powers at work within the world and within me that are beyond our ability to buy or restore and make new.
But Jesus repeatedly says, ‘The hour has come’.
All the way through John’s telling, Jesus speaks of the hour has come, or is coming, or is not quite yet, and then it is now and will carry on into time. At least seventeen times in John’s gospel we hear, “the hour has come” or “has not come” or “is coming” or “is already here” or will be.
Right from the start at the first sign of God’s promise to make everything new again at the wedding in Cana, Jesus says to his mum;
“Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” John 2:4
He says this to the Jewish leaders too.
“My time has not yet come, but your time is always here.” John 7:6
The ‘hour’ or the ‘time’ has not yet come. Two times here – ‘Hour’, meaning a time, a chronological date, hour, moment. A Friday.
But also, ‘a time’, a special moment, a God timing, a pre-ordained moment, a divine appointment made ages ago and now to be motioned – like a specialist appointment you have been waiting for 6 months or your school formal or your new machinery purchase – the day has arrived! ‘Kairos’ time.
Jesus often told them that the special God-moment is not yet here and the actual time of the week or the day or the year has not arrived.
But it will. He says to the woman at the Samaritan well;
“Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.” John 4:21
So, the divine moment and the time of human history has not come but will come, and in fact, is already now because Jesus is present and speaking and doing.
The ancient promises of God to heal this broken universe, restore this beautiful environment, reconcile the wayward, destructive out of control human ego and bring true and lasting peace between himself and his suffering creation is not yet, and yet is, and will be – both as a special divine moment between us and as a time in our history.
It is Good Friday – God’s divine moment and a Friday in 2021.
Last night, in the middle of the Last Supper telling, Jesus speaks of God-moment and this day:
Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. John 13:1.
Friends we are in the world today, and we are so very loved and will be so to the end from beyond our little worlds…
After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you.” John 17:1
Being glorified for all to see will cost; it will be hard. Jesus knows what this will cost and how hard it will be. He tells his friends what it will be like for him now and be like for them then:
“They will put you out of the synagogues. indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God.” John 16:2
“The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.” John 16:32
“….An hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God.” John 16:2
That is exactly what those yelling ‘Crucify Him” thought they were doing – Offering worship to God. The man was pretending to be God.
- How dare he go around telling people “God’s hour, God’s time has come”!
- How dare he speak words of forgiveness for their terrible sins! How dare he say he will knock down the very place of God that has taken so much time to build and – the temple and rebuild it in ridiculously short time – three days!
- How dare he stop time by raise a dead man to life last week. The hour has come alright. Get rid of him!
As for the scattering: The closest ones did that on this day. They would leave him alone and go it alone. Was it fear, deep disappointment, hurt from betrayal, or just tragic, shocking grief – or all of these and more? Probably.
Jesus knows this and still enters the God-time and the real time anyway.
“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.” John 12:27
Friend, the hour has come – both kinds.
This is a God-moment for you and a Friday in your life. He was scattered to the four winds for you. He was humiliated and shamed, betrayed and abandoned by weak, ignorant humans whom he loved with all his heart and with his very body.
It is a new day. He made it so to make you so. The forgiveness, the love, the Holy Spirit inspiration, the calling, the purpose for living, the direction for loving is all here on this cross-throne.
This day is a new day for you to enter into again. He is making you new again by his pain and loss on that cross.
That cross is not only a public show of weakness and defeat and pain and suffering, but a throne – a throne of God’s newness now offered to you again on a Friday and on a God’s moment day.
Will you stay scattered? Will you betray again? Will you be scared all day long? Will you weep? Will you quietly watch his pain knowing it is for your gain – with a thankfulness long forgotten?
John stands there in the gloom with the close women. The hour is terrible. It is tragic. It is bloody. It is traumatic. They cling to each other at the foot of that cross, which they definitely do not see as any kind of throne. More like an instrument of hellish defeat.
From the cross comes a closing whisper. It is about the hour again.
Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. John 19:27
We have each other in the hour of loss.
Then a taste of sour vinegar to fulfil one more word of God and the final statement of completion
It is finished”
What is finished? The time. The hour. God’s time of promises being fulfilled is finished and Friday is finishing.
It takes a lot to make something new. It costs a lot too.
He paid the price to make you new. He carried the cost on himself.
The hour is coming and is now here, friend. The Father is seeking you. Jesus is bleeding for you. The Spirit is interceding for you.
The dead are hearing the voice of God in this man on a cross, says the man on the cross (John 5:25, 28).
This is no mere historical record or philosophical idea or moral tale to be pondered. This is real death and real life that makes you new.
[Jesus, says] – “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father.”
Today he tells you plainly.
How will you respond to this light of love on this day from this God of new life today?
“Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world.” John 11:9
(1st + 3rd of Month)
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