The Eternal Value of a Delay

by Impact Church

John 2:3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus *said to Him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus *said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.”

John 7:3 Therefore His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. 4 For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” 5 For not even His brothers were believing in Him. 6 So Jesus *said to them, “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune.

John 11:6 So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.

  • A mother’s assessment of a need, implying that He should address it, goes unheeded.
  • His brothers’ challenge to reveal Himself to the world, unbelieving as they were, was refused by comparison to His sense of time and theirs.
  • A beloved friend lays deathly sick and He knowingly prolonged His stay two more days, separated from the assumed loving action of healing.

His mother, His brothers, and His beloved friend’s circumstances were not enough to prompt Jesus to change His action to fit the urgency of human needs. God operates on a different clock than we do. Solomon taught, “There is an appointed time for everything… He has made everything appropriate in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11).

Divine delays to our human travails creates anxiety in our lives. Actually, and more precisely, the anxiety was already there. It remains in our minds because we have either not prayed, imagine that we didn’t pray the right way and just worry from the difficult experience or, we expectantly prayed and have not yet seen an answer. God is delayed by our expectation.

The three events in the Gospel of John reveal that Jesus did not immediately respond to the people of need. He wasn’t on their time schedule. He was waiting for the Father’s will. To their credit, the needy people were bold enough to bring their anxious issue to Jesus. Jesus rerouted their concern and expectancy of Him addressing the issue as they saw fit to a higher truth:

  • The wine Jesus created was the “good wine”, which came later. (2:10) A delayed answer is better than a fast one. It manifested His glory (2:11)
  • After refusing His brothers’ challenge, Jesus secretly entered Jerusalem appearing in the Temple teaching not about man’s glory but God’s. (7:17-18) On the last day, Jesus invited the thirsty to come to Him and drink and the Spirit’s abundance in their livees would flow into others. (7:37-38)
  • Jesus’ delay in getting to Lazarus was for God’s glory and that they may believe (11:4, 15). Those who initially came to Mary to comfort her in her grief, instead saw what Jesus did and believed.

The distance between the answer of a prayer that is answered quickly, which can lead to subtle spiritual pride when someone wants to talk about their prayer life and how God honors them, and the delayed answer that comes after all human resources are expended, is the time necessary to magnify God’s glory.

It is our time, eclipsed by His Eternity and our need used to manifest His Glory.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

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