In business in recent decades there was a movement to the practice of ‘just on time’ inventory. Rather than businesses needing to stockpile parts and take up warehouse space they planned for when they would need their inventory and ordered it for that time period. It was a way to save money and function more efficiently. Covid kicked that idea to the curb. The shutdowns created massive backlogs in both the creation of needed products and their shipping and delivery. When goods began moving again antiquated port systems were clogged with container ships waiting weeks, at times months, to unload their cargo. I watched a 60 minutes episode and there were problems up and down the system with the separate parts all pointing the finger at one another. I recall talking to the owner of a local bike shop who lamented that his orders were two years behind! ‘Just on time’ just wasn’t working!
Now to the scriptures. There are different names for time in the New Testament. We have chronos, chronological or sequential time, and kairos, things that take place at just the right time, the opportune moment. As Christians we assert that God is outside of time. That makes sense given that time, space and matter all began at the moment of creation. At the same time (yes the pun is intentional) Jesus is always on time now that we have it. Let’s look at that a bit.
Scripture tells us that Jesus was born in the fullness of time, a kairos moment.
4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4–5 (NKJV)
Creation was pregnant with opportunity and Jesus showed up on the scene. The Greek word that fullness expresses is the same word used for being ‘filled’ with the Spirit. The planet was ready for the arrival of the Messiah and Jesus appeared on the scene.
Now we will look at an example in the life of Lazarus. Jesus was informed that Lazarus was ill and Mary and Martha were asking for His help, so He rushed off to heal Lazarus. Actually no, He stayed for two more days (John 11:1-6). When Jesus finally arrived, it was too late.
17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. John 11:17 (NKJV)
At least from the perspective of Mary and Martha, I’m not so sure about Lazarus, Jesus was too late. In verses 21 and 32 Martha, then Mary, both point out to Jesus that if He had been there Lazarus would not have died. I am sure you know the rest of the story; Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.
The important part is the reason behind Jesus waiting. In the cultural tradition the Jewish mystical teaching was that a person’s spirit stayed around their body for three days then departed for Sheol. After that only the Messiah could raise someone. Jesus was demonstrating who He was in raising Lazarus. It was a kairos moment.
Now to apply this to our lives. I think there are a variety of ways to present this but I will focus in on one. Are there dreams in your life that have died with the passage (chronos) of time? I know I have them. Yet because I trust Jesus I know that if those dreams are from Him then if I hold on to them and remain focused on Him they will come to pass in the fullness of time, my karios moment. I pray we can all bring our hearts to a place of rest in Him as we wait and seek to be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2).
2 thoughts on “On Time”
God knows the end from the beginning and everything in between. It was no mere coincidence that Jesus came when he did. He was at the right place at the right time—and not by chance. The exact hour of Jesus’ coming and his going had been determined by the Father—as will be the hour of his return.
Yes, even so, come Lord Jesus!