Some time ago, I visited a clock shop in Leavenworth, Washington, which featured grandfather clocks. On the wall, a sign said that they would deliver a grandfather clock anywhere within a one-hundred-mile radius of Leavenworth, set it up, and make sure that it ran accurately. A couple of customers were talking to the owner of the shop, wanting reassurance that he would fulfill his condition of sale. They asked, “If we buy the clock, will you come out and level it up and get it started?”
The shop owner told them, “You don't level a grandfather clock with a level. A tick and a tock regulate its time, and they have to be equal. The pendulum has to swing an equal distance on either side of the center.” Since clocks come in a variety of sizes, that means that each grandfather clock has its own beat—its own individual rhythm—while still keeping the right time.
Throughout the years, time has been measured in a variety of ways, including the sundial and the hourglass. Today, the world time zones are measured from the Greenwich Observatory in England. We set our clocks and watches accordingly. We are regulated by it every day. Even then, some people are early, some are late, and others are right on time. In these cases, our “individual rhythms” don't change the time.
Jesus' birth and death were right on time
Even His arrival on this earth was regulated from Above, for the Bible tells us that in the fullness of time, God sent His Son into this world.
While people may at times fail to be punctual, the Lord Jesus is never late. We can have the knowledge in our hearts that He is always on time. He does not depend on earthly timepieces for His schedule. His timing is to a beat from Heaven—an eternal beat. Even His arrival on this earth was regulated from Above, for the Bible tells us that in the fullness of time, God sent His Son into this world.
We read that once, while Jesus was on earth, He sent His disciples into a city to prepare for the Passover. “And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him” (Luke 22:13-14).
“When the hour was come, . . .” It was a special moment not regulated by the hour of the day, but by its prescribed place in Christ's earthly mission to this world, as ordained by God himself.
Jesus did not act too early
On occasion, people urged Jesus to act ahead of God's time. While they were at a marriage in Cana of Galilee, Jesus' mother said to Him, “They have no wine.” Jesus replied, “Mine hour is not yet come.” Jesus' mother had observed her Son for years. She had heard the pronouncement of the angel when Jesus' birth was foretold. She had seen some wonderful things when He was born into this world. She had watched His life as He matured. When she turned to the servants and said, “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it,” she knew that if He were willing, He certainly would do something about the present need. At that time, Jesus performed His first miracle when He turned the water into wine. (See John 2:1-11.)
When it was time for the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus' brothers wanted Him to show Himself to the world. They urged Him to act ahead of time, but He said to them, “My time is not yet come” (John 7:6). Again we can see that our Lord worked according to His Father's time schedule.
Jesus' intervention was not too late
After Jesus began ministering to the multitudes, He was sometimes accused of being too late.
After Jesus began ministering to the multitudes, He was sometimes accused of being too late. Once, when He and the disciples were going across the Sea of Galilee, Jesus was asleep in the back of a ship. The Bible says, “There arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full” (Mark 4:37). The disciples awakened the Lord and said, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38). The implication was “Lord, the ship is sinking! You should be doing something now! Don't you care about us?” But it is never too late with Jesus. The next verse tells us, “And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39).
On another occasion, two of Jesus' friends, Mary and Martha, sent word to Him about their brother Lazarus: “Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick” (John 11:3). They felt a message of that kind would bring the Master immediately, but the Bible says that Jesus tarried two days. When He started to Bethany where Mary and Martha lived, He said to His disciples, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep” (John 11:11). Jesus knew that Lazarus had died, and as far as Mary and Martha were concerned, it seemed that Jesus had come too late.
Martha said, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (John 11:21). Lazarus had been dead four days by then, and they were sorrowing over the loss of their brother. Naturally, they thought the Lord was too late. If only He had come a little sooner!
Have you ever felt that was your experience? Oh, if the Lord would only answer soon, before it is too late! Don't worry. He knows exactly what is taking place in your life. He knows exactly what you are going through. He is always on time.
When Jesus and the others went to the grave where Lazarus had been laid, He told them to take away the stone. The people still believed it was too late because four days had passed since Lazarus had died. But Jesus asked, “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” (John 11:40). When the stone was finally rolled away, Jesus called Lazarus to come forth, and he came out of the tomb bound in his graveclothes. Jesus was on time.
God is not governed by our time schedule. Because of that, He does not always come when we might expect Him to, but if the Lord has promised, we can depend on that promise.
Perhaps you have a promise in the Word of God that has not yet been fulfilled in your life. Remember, God is not governed by our time schedule. Because of that, He does not always come when we might expect Him to, but if the Lord has promised, we can depend on that promise. When we come to Him in faith, He will be faithful to fulfill that promise in our lives. He will not fail, and when He answers, we will say, “It was not too late.”
Jesus' return will be exactly on time
There is another promise that Jesus is going to fulfill one of these days. The Bible tells us, “The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2). The world is not expecting that day. It is not a day to be measured by our clock, but it is the day appointed according to God's time schedule. Jesus told His disciples, “Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36). There will be a moment in Heaven when God the Father says, “It is time.” Then the Lord Jesus is going to leave His mediatorial throne and come back to this world to catch away those who have believed on Him and who are ready for His coming.
The Bible tells us that the moment when Jesus returns to this world will be as a thief in the night. A thief does not announce his coming. He moves by stealth, and people are not aware that he has even been there until after he is gone. That is the way it will be with the coming of the Lord. Just as surely as Jesus kept His appointments on this earth in the years that He ministered here, so that moment will be fulfilled, and Jesus Christ will come back to this world again.
Though the thief gives no advance notice of his arrival, Jesus Christ has given us ample notice of the events that will take place in this world just prior to His return. There are numerous signs of the times that are being fulfilled every day, including earthquakes and famines. Jesus said, “When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).
The timepiece of Heaven is reaching that point when the Father will say, "Son, it is time to return to earth to gather up those who are waiting for you."
We must be aware that the timepiece of Heaven is reaching that point when the Father will say, “Son, it is time to return to earth to gather up those who are waiting for You. It is time to bring them to the wonderful place that has been prepared for them.”
Are you ready? Do you know in your heart that, if Jesus should return today, you are prepared to meet Him? If not, Jesus is calling you. The day is at hand, and Jesus “is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Jesus is always on time. Will you be?