Time is a precious commodity and we should be careful how we use it, making the most of every moment. Wasting time is silly and yet it’s something we all do. I admit to being a procrastinator, often putting off until tomorrow what I could do today. Other people become immersed in activities that take up way too much time and stop them spending time on more profitable things. Still others will sit in front of a TV for hours on end when there are so many better things to do. Last Saturday evening millions of people across Europe would have been glued to their TV sets watching the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s Marmite viewing, you either love it or hate it, me I’m in the latter category, although I appreciated it being on because it motivated me to do something else. Cleaning window frames was much more satisfying.
Jesus never wasted time. He began his ministry when he was aged 30 and was killed when he was about 33. Such a short time given to him to fulfil God’s work, yet he filled every waking second with God glorifying activity. He said, ““My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” (1) and there was never a time when he was not fully engaged with that work. Remarkable when you consider the work was taking him steadily forward to his death.
What work was he engaged in? It was all God centred, fulfilling God’s will, but also people focused, demonstrating a love for people that would reach its zenith on the cross where he was crucified. It began with saving a groom’s embarrassment at a wedding by changing water to wine. It continued by healing people, from a man whose hand was shrivelled to a man who was paralysed. The blind were given sight and the deaf enabled to hear. On more than one occasion he demonstrated his power over death by raising people back to life. His was a humble work where he prioritised others needs over his own. He may have been tired but if people needed him he helped them. Once he spoke to people for hours on end and when he saw they were hungry he fed them. We’re talking thousands of people fed with a few loaves and fish. He is the master of all men who should be doing his bidding, but he shocked his disciples when he showed his humility by stooping down and washing their feet.
Throughout his life he challenged false thinking and false teaching. He saw how people were oppressed by rules and laws that went way beyond what God expected and that were making people’s lives miserable. He set people free by teaching the word of God correctly. He also gave dignity to the oppressed and the unloved, from a lady who’d had five husbands and was living with a man unmarried, to a tax collector, short in stature, who was hated by his own community. Jesus loved them all and transformed their lives. This was all a part of the work that God had given him to do. Free people and give them dignity.
Jesus never stopped doing God’s will, however demanding it may have been, no matter how tired he became, no matter where it was leading. He knew before he commenced it that God’s work was taking him steadily to Calvary where he was to be crucified. He spoke to his disciples about this on more than one occasion. At one time he said, ““We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him.” (2) What makes these words remarkable is that they were spoken when he was on his way to Jerusalem with his disciples, and he was leading the way. No holding back, he wanted to get there, not because he wanted the pain and suffering but because he wanted to fulfil his Father’s will, and he wanted to free us from our sins. The work that Jesus was given to do involved him being crucified, and while he was hanging on the cross he bore the punishment for our sins. He didn’t have to, and we didn’t ask him to, but God knows that there is no other way for us to be free of sin apart from the death of Jesus. He had to die for us to be saved from sin, and those who believe this and trust in Jesus, committing to live for him, are indeed saved. Is that you? I hope and pray so.
- John 4:34
- Mark 10:33