What Did Jesus Mean When He Said His Time Had Not Yet Come?

In John 2:4, when the mother of Jesus shares with Him her concern that the hosts at Cana had run out of the wedding wine, Jesus replies to her that His time had not yet come. But, then He goes ahead and turns water into wine. So, why did He say that His time had not yet come? What did He mean by it?

Again in John 7:6, when His unbelieving brothers suggest to Him to go to Jerusalem and show His works there so that people could see and believe, He answers that His time had not yet come but their time was always ready. Then, He tells them to go up to the feast and that He wasn’t coming because His time had not fully yet come. However, when after they go, He secretly does go up to Jerusalem. So, what did He really mean when He said His time hadn’t fully come? Did it mean that the time when He went up to Jerusalem was time He was actually talking about? Or did it mean something else?

The Gospel of John has strong purposes in highlighting certain phrases and “time has not come” and “time has come” are important motif phrases. Thus, later on, the Gospel doesn’t forget to tell us what this “time” was all about:

John 12:23 – Hour Has Come for the Son to Be Glorified
John 13:1 – Hour Has Come to Depart To the Father
John 17:1 – Hour Has Come to Glorify Son, so That Son Will Glorify Father

Evidently, the hour and time that Jesus was talking about was His time to be glorified by the Father.

In contrast, Mary was more concerned about the earthly glory and respect of the wedding and the brothers were also thinking in terms of earthly honor and glory, which was what Christ came against… To destroy the old world of sin and sinful self-respect and bring in a new order of submission to the Father and His will.

No matter what He did, “this world” could never accept Him, for “this world” or “this worldly order (cosmos)” was characterized by open rebellion to God and His Son. It could only crucify Him and put Him to shame.

But, the glory of the Father was in this, that what the world considered to be the dishonoring and defacing of the Son of God, He turned it into the hour of glory of Him…..

Jesus didn’t perform the miracle at Cana because of the concern of Mary or go to Jerusalem because of the concern of His brothers–their concerns belonged to this worldly order and framework of honor, recognition, and respect; He worked in a different framework of time, the time-framework of His Father’s cosmic arrangement of things. In Him, the end of the old and the beginning of the new are cosmically fulfilled; for those who accept Him, new life, and for those who reject Him, eternal alienation from the life of God.

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