“So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?” (John 7:30-31).
I am a thorough fan of the Great American Songbook. I was raised on this music. My father listened to and collected multiple recordings as one way of relaxation following a hard week of work. On Sunday afternoons he would sit in his chair and listen to his favorite singers singing songs from the so-called Songbook. While my friends were listening to The Rolling Stones or The Beatles, I preferred artists such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby and especially the music and lyrics of brothers George and Ira Gershwin.
As one reference encyclopedia explains, “The Great American Songbook, also known as “American Standards”, is the canon of the most important and influential American popular songs and jazz standards from the early 20th century. Although several collections of music have been published under the title, it does not refer to any actual book or specific list of songs, but to a loosely defined set including the most popular and enduring songs from the 1920s to the 1950s that were created for Broadway theatre, musical theatre, and Hollywood musical film. They have been recorded and performed by a large number and wide range of singers, instrumental bands, and jazz musicians.”
Included in this collection are composers and lyricists called “The Great Craftsmen.” They include Hoagy Carmichael, Walter Donaldson, Harry Warren, Isham Jones, Jimmy McHugh, Duke Ellington, Fred Ahlert, Richard A. Whiting, Ray Noble, John Green, Rube Bloom, Lorenz Hart, Oscar Hammerstein II, and Jimmy Van Heusen.
The subject of these songs were primarily about romantic love. Despite this relatively narrow range of topics and moods dealt with in many of the songs, the best Great American Songbook lyricists specialized in witty, urbane lyrics with teasingly unexpected rhymes.
What, you may be asking yourself, does this have to do with today’s verses from John 7:30-31? Only that John uses a phrase regarding our Lord’s ultimate crucifixion and resurrection which has captured my attention. The phrase is “His hour had not yet come.” This phrase has already occurred in John 2:4 along with John 7:6-8. The apostle will record it once more in John 8:20.
What does the phrase “My hour has not yet come” actually mean? The phrase deals with the timetable for Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice while on the cross, His burial and subsequent bodily resurrection. It addresses the divine time frame for all which would occur and which would fulfill Old Testament prophecy. It refers to God the Father’s sovereign plan of redemption alone with Jesus Christ’s complete submission to such a plan.
Galatians 4:4 says, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
Dr. John Walvoord explains, “The fullness of the time—namely, “the time appointed by the Father” (Galatians 4:2). God does nothing prematurely, but, foreseeing the end from the beginning, waits till all is ripe for the execution of His purpose. Had Christ come directly after the fall, the enormity and deadly fruits of sin would not have been realized fully by man, so as to feel his desperate state and need of a Savior. Sin was fully developed. Man’s inability to save himself by obedience to the law, whether that of Moses, or that of conscience, was completely manifested; all the prophecies of various ages found their common center in this particular time: and Providence, by various arrangements in the social and political, as well as the moral world, had fully prepared the way for the coming Redeemer.”
In John 12:27-28 says, “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. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The word “troubled” refers to a strong anxiety and horror. In His perfection, Jesus still experienced a revulsion or a loathing of taking upon Himself the wrath of God in the place of sinners (2 Corinthians 5:21). However, He also understood that this was His purpose in coming to earth as a man.
It is interesting to also note, as we will later in detail, that John records in John 13:1, “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” Jesus knew in the Upper Room that the time for Him to be betrayed, denied, tried, convicted, scourged, crucified and buried had arrived.
Everything Jesus did was focused upon His submission to the Father’s divine plan and timetable. Additionally, when the time came for Jesus to lay down His life for His sheep (John 10:11-18) He did so willingly.
To my knowledge, there is no hymn entitled “My Hour Has Not Yet Come.” While it would not be included in the Great American Songbook, it would have the potential of being a thought provoking hymn of worship and praise to God.
Thank you Lord Jesus for not fleeing from the wrath of God the Father which I should have received.
Soli deo Gloria!