Often it is said, “We must live on God’s schedule.” Things will get done in “God’s time, not ours.” While this statement is very true in our world, it was also true in the world of Jesus. He had to live according to God’s schedule and not His own.
There is a story where Jesus is dealing with His unbelieving brothers, which illustrates this concept very well. Jesus tells them “My time is not yet at hand.”
While doing His ministry (performing miracles and teaching) in Galilee, John (the author) tells of Jesus losing many disciples because of His teaching. The unbelieving brothers give Jesus some advice about how He could get His disciples back.
The Feast of Booths (or Tabernacles) held in Jerusalem took place in the fall of the year following the harvest season that was soon to occur. The advice given to Jesus is for Him to go to Jerusalem and do His “works” because “no one does anything in secret, when he himself seeks to be known publicly … show Yourself to the world” (John 7:4). This was a great marketing strategy, they thought, but Jesus did not agree.
Jesus knew the Jews in Judea were seeking to kill Him. This caused Him to leave the region some time earlier and spend several months in the Galilean region teaching and performing miracles.
Responding to their recommendation, Jesus tells them His time is “not yet.” Jesus knew it was six months before He was to be crucified. If He went to Jerusalem with His brothers, as He had done in years past, the crowd would seize Him and kill Him before God had scheduled this crucifixion to take place.
While the text tells us Jesus told His brothers, “Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come,” the text also says He later went but “not publicly, but as it were, in secret” (John 7:10). The entrance Jesus makes to this most important feast of the Jews is filled with discretion.
We are in the same position as the brothers of Jesus, we do not know the schedule of God concerning events in our lives. Jesus did know but He still worked on God’s schedule.
In our lives, trying to figure out God’s schedule is as difficult as it was for the unbelieving brothers of Jesus. We need to use our own judgement as to when things should be done but always remember things are done according to God’s schedule. Jesus did things on God’s schedule. He is a great example of how we should be living God’s way.
Carlton G. McPeak is an evangelist working in the Florida Gateway region. All Scriptural quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, Holman Bible Publishers, unless otherwise stated. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.