Jesus said more than once that His hour had not yet come. However, just a few hours before He was to be crucified, He proclaimed in John 12:23, “The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified.”
When people came seeking Jesus, Andrew and Philip brought them to Him. His greeting was “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die it bringeth fort much fruit” (John 12:2). In other words, He came to die for sinners; He must die. If He remained only a miracle worker, a great teacher, or a great example, He could not save man from his sin. He must pay for man’s sins so that mankind could receive His righteousness.
I wonder if we have heeded the exhortation of the Psalmist when he prayed in Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Compared to the days I have already lived, my days left on earth are numbered. I must ask myself the question, “What will I do with my remaining days, whether they are few or many?”
Considering the challenges presented us in our generation, I trust that we, with the attitude of our Lord, will say, “The hour has come that I should do the work that the Lord has given me to do.” For the Lord, that meant dying. For serious Christians, it means the same thing. If we are to reach the great masses of unreached people in the world, we must die.
1. We Must Die to Personal Rights
Some of us must die to ideas or concepts that are not necessarily biblical, but are our personal preferences. We must die to what we thought were our rights; our right to be comfortable, our right to possessions, our right to enjoy health and life, our right to be honored, respected, and thanked. The cause of Christ is much greater than our rights.
2. We Must Die to Criticism
If Jesus had stopped to answer all His critics, He never could have finished the work He was sent to do. We cannot please everyone.
3. We Must Die to Praise
Many good people are hindered from a life of great service to God and mankind because they begin to read their press clippings. The sad thing in our time, is that often the person being featured dictates the information for the article. John the Baptist set the example for us when he said in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” God will never increase in our lives until we must decrease. Don’t be spoiled by praise. Praise is like chewing gum. It does taste good, but it is not to be swallowed. Die to praise from man; praise belongs to the Lord.
4. We Must Die to Our Desires
In our materialistic society, dying to our own desires is a forgotten virtue. We have more than most people of the world could ever dream of having. However, we are spending money we do not have in order to buy things we do not need so we can impress people we do not like. Die to selfish desires; live for the desires of our risen Saviour.
5. We Must Die to Our Will
Where are the Christians who will pray as our Lord did when He faced death on the cross, “Not my will, but thine be done”? Would not the mission fields be flooded if the millions of Christians of our day would pray that prayer? Would not the finances to support worldwide evangelism be sufficient if individuals and churches would seek God’s will for their finances?
The Hour Has Come
Jesus could come at any hour. His coming does appear to be soon, does it not? Millions who have never heard the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ are dying every week. The harvest is ripe. The labourers and the means for the labourers are few. Where are the serious Christians who will say, “Here am I, send me.” This is our hour.