“Father, the hour is come;”
Solemn words! These are the first words of the Lord’s prayer of intercession in the garden given to us in the 17th chapter of the gospel of John. They demand meditation.
The Lord knew his time on earth was nearing an end. Being God, He knew what was before Him and there was no escape. But our Lord did not want to escape. In fact, He was eager to finish the work that had been committed to Him:
“…glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:” (John 17:1b)
Here is holy love: self-sacrificing love that has as its object God’s glory alone.
There comes a point in a Christian’s life when he, too, must accept the fact that “the hour is come.” No longer is mere talk about sacrificing self and temporal comforts and serving the Lord sufficient. One day the day of personal accountability arrives and the believer is forced to choose between himself and God, personal, self-serving comfort and selfless, God-honoring service. On that day, what once seemed far off is standing at the door and must be faced. It is then that the true believer’s faith and love for his Lord is exposed, for better or worse.
Friends, I believe “the hour is come.” The challenges which have been so easy to discuss as “coming soon” have arrived. Provocative doctrine has become uncomfortable reality. The call to prepare is giving way to the call to act.
While none of us can know exactly what lies ahead for each of us personally, we can rest in the same confidence expressed by our Lord when He concluded His prayer:
“O righteous Father, ….” (John 17:25a)
God, our heavenly Father, our righteous Father, is omniscient, omnipotent, and sovereign. He rules over all things. His rule is always righteous. His ways are always right. His ends are always perfect. Whatever He ordains is best, designed for our eternal good. His will WILL be done, and that to His eternal glory. Whatever He may call us to do we can accomplish because He will be with us in it. We are safe in Him.
And, finally, take comfort in this: the Father heard the Lord’s prayer, and He will answer it according to His own faithfulness to His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. We will soon be “with [Him] where [He is]; that [we] may behold [His] glory, which [the Father] hast given [Him] before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24b)
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
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