Monday, April 8, 2019
Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent
But no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come. John 8:20
This short line comes at the end of today’s Gospel after Jesus, once again, directly confronted the Pharisees. He confronts them, in this situation, by speaking the truth of His union with the Father and the power and authority He had on account of this union. The Pharisees attempt to confront and challenge Him but He speaks the truth right back to them in clear language. Their response to Jesus’ words is not recorded but it’s clear that they do not know what to say and it’s clear that they remain skeptical and desirous of trapping Jesus.
This passage quoted above reveals to us the profound truth that neither the malice of the Pharisees nor that of anyone else could ultimately triumph since Jesus’ “hour had not yet come.” What does this mean? Here are two truths we should take from this line.
First, malice cannot overpower the will of God. Since God the Father did not permit Jesus’ arrest at that time, those with evil intentions were powerless to do so. Jesus was able to speak clearly and openly, challenging the Pharisees with the truth, and they could do nothing to stop it. Though His words stung them to the heart, they could do no more than listen and grow in anger and obstinacy toward our Lord. But they could not harm Him. This shows that God is ultimately in control of even the malice of others and will only allow malice to appear to triumph when He sees some greater purpose for allowing such a thing to happen.
Secondly, it reveals that there is a coming “hour” when Jesus will be handed over to sinful men. But in John’s Gospel, this hour is not an hour of shame and disgrace for Jesus; rather, it is an hour of total triumph over sin and death. From a worldly perspective we know that His hour of arrest, persecution and Crucifixion takes on the public appearance of horror and disgrace for Jesus. It appears as if He lost and the Pharisees won. But from the perspective of God, which is the only true perspective, Jesus triumphs gloriously. In fact, the Father ultimately permits the malice of the Pharisees to be the instrument of Jesus’ glorification through the sufferings He endured in this hour. From the divine perspective, His hour does not become one of defeat; rather, it becomes one of ultimate victory.
Reflect, today, upon the coming hour of Jesus. Soon we will enter into the glories of Holy Week and ponder, once again, that the Father did permit Jesus to enter into the most cruel suffering and death imaginable. We will be confronted with the apparent scandal of His arrest and the illusion of the victory of the malicious leaders of the day. But their victory is only an illusion since the permissive will of the Father had other intentions. Begin preparing for this annual celebration of the hour of Jesus and enter into it with the utmost confidence and faith.
Lord, I glorify You for Your wisdom and power and rejoice in the perfect will of the Father in Heaven. The Father sent You on a mission of redemption and salvation and permitted You to ultimately suffer and die. But through this suffering He brought final victory over death and all evil. Give me faith to know and believe this truth with my whole heart. Bless this coming Holy Week, dear Lord, and permit me to rejoice in Your glorious victory. Jesus, I trust in You.