Summary: John continually speaks of a mysterious hour with little to no explanation. Like Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs, the reference to “the hour” is important clue to understand Jesus in John’s gospel.
Palm Sunday is a significant marker for God’s people. It’s the day where Jesus enters into Jerusalem to kick off a week of monumentally important event. The citizens of Jerusalem greeted Jesus with palm branches and shouts of “Hosanna” as he entered the city on the back of a colt. Our story picks up on all probability on the following day, Monday of Holy Week. On Friday, He is crucified and on Sunday, He arises. On this Monday, an alarm clocks sounds in the mind of Jesus that functions more like a “dog whistle” where only He can hear it. But soon we all sense the hour at hand for this alarm clock was globally significant. Jesus realizes Heaven’s clock has reached a climatic hour – it’s now time for Him to act.
Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
27 Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. 34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them” (John 12:20–36)
If I asked you, “What time is it?,” you might look at your watch or your phone for the time.
But if I asked you to define time itself, you may simply scratch your head when you hear Webster’s Dictionary’s perplexing definition of time: “…a nonspatial continuum that is measured in terms of events which succeed one another from past through present to future.”
“Time is money,” or so we’re told. And because time is money, in 2014, the most precise time clock in the world was developed at the base of the Rocky Mountains on the University of Colorado Boulder campus. It loses one second every in approximately 300 millions years and it is used to time-stamp billions of dollars in US financial transactions every business day. Time clocks are synchronized to more than 400 highly such atomic clocks around the globe. This one atomic clock in Colorado receives more than 8 billion automated requests per day to synchronize clocks in computers, network devices, and many devices than help us keep precise time.
Even America’s “Favorite Past-time” knows the importance of time. Major League Baseball is seeing its popularity wane verse sports such as the NFL and with an ever-increasingly long games, Baseball has used a time clock in spring training this past season. Known as a pitch clock, pitchers have twenty seconds to throw the next pitch or face a penalty.
It seems like the only person who doesn’t understand the importance of time is pastor during the Sunday sermon!
But no one knew the importance of time more than Jesus. Only days before His death, Jesus tells His disciples, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:23b).