His Hour Had Come

Embedded in the text of John’s gospel is a statement that is repeated to move the narrative forward to the culmination of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Sometimes it is spoken by Jesus, and sometimes by the apostle as he writes about Jesus. Several times the phrase “his hour had not yet come” (John 8:30) appears, until the time of his death, when he prayed, “Father, the hour has come” (John 17:1).

When, at a wedding feast, his mother hinted strongly that he do something when the wine ran out, Jesus replied, “Woman, why do you involve me?” His relationship to her had now changed. He had been publicly anointed for the work the Father had commissioned him to do and the hour of this death and glorification had “not yet come” (John 2:4). When he did respond to her request, it was because her appeal was less as a mother than as a believer. His answer showed her that their natural human relationship was subordinate to the will of God for him.

The same thing governed his answer to his brothers who suggested that he “leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret” (John 7:4). He refused to go as they suggested, seeking notoriety, because “My time is not yet here” (John 7:6, 8). When he did go to Jerusalem for the festival, it was for different reasons, and it was according to God’s timetable

When his religious detractors wanted to seize him by force and have him arrested for blasphemy, “no one laid a hand on him because his hour had not yet come” (John 7:30, 8:20). They were powerless against him until the time came for him to give up his life.

When he went up to Jerusalem for the Passover at the beginning of the week he died, he predicted his death by saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains only a single seed. But if it dies it produces many seeds” (John 12:23-24). This brings us to the final stage of John’s gospel and the mission of Jesus. “The hour” is filled with significance: Jesus’ death will lead to his glorification (Philippians 2:6-11)!

Then we hear the Lord Jesus praying with a troubled heart, reminding us of his prayers in the garden of Gethsemane. John  recalls the Lord asking, “What shall I say? Father save me from this hour? No, it was for this very reason that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name”  (John 12:27-28). What was it that prompted this prayer? No doubt it had to do with the weight of the world’s sin which would be laid upon him at Calvary (2 Corinthians 5:21).

When the Lord gathered his disciples in the upper room just before the observance of Passover festival, “Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father” (John 13:1). The repetition of this theme in John’s gospel has been building to this climactic moment. Jesus now will prepare his disciples for life after he is gone from them. In John 13-16 he teaches them to serve one another, to love one another, and to rely on the coming Holy Spirit.

In the gospels there are twenty-one recorded prayers of Jesus. There is none more precious and beautiful  than the prayer he prayed for his disciples in John 17. In all of them but one (Matthew 27:46), he addresses God as his “Father” and he does so here: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son that your Son may glorify you” (John 17:1-2). His deepest concern is for the Father’s will to be done and that God may be glorified (“hallowed be thy name”). In saying “the hour has come” he is yielding to the will of the Father by dying on the cross for the sins of the world.

This key phrase, repeated in the gospel of John, is a foretelling of the purpose for which Jesus came: to fulfill the Father’s plan of salvation by dying and rising from the dead. Paul’s words prove true: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).

Pastor Randy Faulkner



Pierced for Our Transgressions

During these weeks before Good Friday and Easter I am asking readers to ponder the fulfillment of biblical prophecies related to the death of Jesus on the cross. John the apostle draws our attention to several Old Testament scriptures as he describes the crucifixion.

In John 19:34 he wrote, “One of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.” In verse 37, John says this was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah which said, “They will look on the one they have pierced.” (John also referenced this prophecy when he described his vision of the risen and victorious Jesus in Revelation 1:7.)

If you study Zechariah 12:10 closely, you learn that the prophet foresaw Israel’s national deliverance in the last days. The physical restoration of his nation is dependent upon their spiritual renewal. He depicts the nation mourning in repentance over their sins. This is accompanied by a spiritual cleansing from sin (Zechariah 13:1).

In this remarkable prophecy the Messiah says, “They will look on me, the one they have pierced.” Messiah has been speaking throughout Zechariah’s prophecy. The New Testament teaches us that this is none other than the Lord Jesus. He is the one who will accomplish Israel’s final restoration as he ushers in his glorious earthly kingdom.

Charles Ryrie wrote, “At the second coming of Christ, Israel will recognize Jesus as her Messiah, acknowledging with deep contrition that He is the One whom their forefathers pierced.” This is what John had in mind when he recognized the partial fulfillment of Zechariah’s words in the sufferings of Jesus.

Jesus’ body was also pieced by nails. This too was prophesied. Psalm 22:16 says “They pierce my hands and my feet.” This graphic depiction of what happened at a crucifixion was written hundreds of years before crucifixion was invented as an instrument of execution.

Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of the Roman practice of crucifixion. In 1968 they discovered a heel bone pierced with an iron spike. It is the bone of a crucified man found in a Jerusalem ossuary, dating from the first century. The Jewish historian Josephus wrote that the Romans executed thousands of victims. It was an agonizing, torturous way to die.

One of the Lord’s disciples, Thomas, did not at first believe in Jesus’ resurrection. He said to the other disciples, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand in his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). A week later the Lord came among the disciples and gave Thomas an opportunity to do that very thing. When the skeptical Thomas saw the risen Lord he bowed in worship exclaiming, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). This is how it will be at the second coming when Israel recognizes and worships King Jesus.

It is doubtful that Zechariah the prophet grasped the full significance of his words, or the use that a disciple of Messiah would make of them 500 years later (1 Peter 1:10-11). But he knew that he was being motivated and guided by a burden from God as he wrote.  He was prophesying the death of Jesus as Isaiah had done years before.

Isaiah’s words provoke reverence and gratitude. “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). It was for our sins that Jesus died. He took our place and suffered the penalty we deserved to have to pay. We can only worship and love him for that.

Pastor Randy Faulkner

Not a Bone Was Broken

“These things happened so that scripture would be fulfilled” (John 19:36).

Recently I was reading the story of a young astronomer, David Block, who was drawn to the idea of a personal Creator by the elegance, beauty and immensity of the universe. He became a Christian through the influence of friends who encouraged him to read the New Testament. He was intrigued by the fact that “Jesus had fulfilled all the messianic prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures (where the Messiah would be born, how he was to die, and much else besides). . . . I knew that I had found him and that all I had to do was respond to his free offer of grace.”

Fulfilled prophecy is one of the convincing evidences that the Bible is God’s word. The predictions about Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, are remarkably precise. The New Testament frequently refers to prophecies written five hundred to a thousand years before the time of Jesus. He fulfilled them in detail.

Paul Little wrote, “One cannot deny the force of fulfilled prophecy as evidence of divine guidance. Furthermore, there are prophecies which could not possibly have been schemed and written after the events predicted.”

The apostle John was an eyewitness to fulfilled prophecy. He knew his Bible and he knew what was taking place before his eyes (John 19:35). He brought the two together when he wrote his gospel. In his account of our Lord’s crucifixion, he called attention to four details which he says were predicted in the Hebrew Bible: the soldiers gambling for Jesus’ clothes, the wine vinegar they gave him, the fact that his bones were not broken, and the fact that his body was pierced by nails and a spear.

In John 19:31-34 we may read how the executioners wanted to hasten the deaths of those who were being crucified with Jesus. They broke their legs so that they could not put their weight on them as they hung dying. In Jesus’ case, however, they found him already dead. To make sure, one of the soldiers thrust his spear into Jesus’ side, from which flowed blood and water. They did not break the bones in his legs! This fulfilled a prophecy found in Psalm 34:20, “He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.” John quotes this in John 19:36.

This is significant because the lamb in the Hebrew Passover ritual was to be roasted, eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, and the people were commanded not to break any of its bones (Numbers 9:12, Exodus 12:46). John the Baptist had declared that Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:29). Paul wrote that Jesus Christ is our Passover Lamb who has been sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7). In his death on the cross, Jesus fulfilled the deeper meaning of the Jewish Passover sacrifice in exquisite detail.

John said he was writing these details of prophecy and fulfillment to help us believe in Jesus (John 19:35). These facts of history and scripture support and validate the claims of the Christian gospel. Read the gospel of John as if for the first time. John wrote, “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).

Pastor Randy Faulkner



Another Prophecy Fulfilled

“Fulfilled” is a key word in John chapter 19. John the apostle repeats it several times to show his belief that the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament) pointed forward to the sacrificial death of Jesus. In John 19 we have John’s eyewitness report of our Lord’s crucifixion. He takes pains to show that it fulfilled prophesies written hundreds of years before.

The Christian message is that the death of the Son of God removed the barrier of sin that separates us from a holy God. This makes possible our reconciliation with our Creator. Paul wrote, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Peter wrote, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).

John had in mind the writings of the ancient prophets as he reported the death and resurrection of Jesus. For example, Psalm 69:21 says, “They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.” John recalled this text when he wrote, “A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips” (John 19:29). He said this happened “so that scripture would be fulfilled” (John 19:28).

This was in response to Jesus’ plaintive cry, “I am thirsty.” The soldiers who had crucified the Lord gave him some of the cheap sour wine they had been drinking. Some historians believe this may have had an astringent effect that could contract the throat of the victim. Luke 23:36-37 indicates this drink was offered in mockery.

His intense thirst was predicted in the prophecies of the Bible. His anguished suffering is described in Psalm 22:15, “My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.”

“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30). “Finished” was a word used in biblical times to refer to the paying of a debt. The phrase “It is finished” means “paid in full.” The debt we owe to God for our sins has been fully paid by his beloved Son on behalf of those who believe in him.

The fact that Jesus “gave up his spirit” is consistent with his earlier word that he, as the Good Shepherd, would lay down his life for his sheep. “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again,” Jesus said (John 10:18).

This should elicit a response of reverent awe. Even if the prophets did not fully grasp the implications of all that they wrote (1 Peter 1:10-12), their prophesies came true in minute detail, as we see here. God planned the sacrifice of his Son who loved us and gave himself for us (Galatians 2:20). Fulfilled prophecy means God keeps his word.

This should elicit a response of faith in Jesus as Savior, and obedience to him as Lord and Master. He suffered and died that we might live with him eternally. Shall we not live for him now? The One who said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink” (John 7:37) suffered thirst on the cross as he died for our sins.

This should elicit a response of thankfulness. How long has it been since you thanked the Lord Jesus for what he endured in death so that you might receive the gracious gift of life eternal?

Pastor Randy Faulkner