Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee.
Jesus responds to his brothers' challenge to show himself to the world, saying, "My time is not yet here; for you any time will do." He then urges his brothers to attend the Festival of Tabernacles in Judea, saying, "You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come."
Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus speaks about his "time" or "hour." We have seen one such instance at the wedding at Cana when he told Mary his time had not yet come. There are other instances we will come across later. Refer to John 7:30, 8:20, 12:23, 12:27, and 17:1. Jesus speaks about it twice in today's passage.
Now, Jesus' reference to "time" is not merely about chronological time but about the right time. This might be a good time —no pun intended— to introduce you to two Greek words: Chronos and Kairos. They are both ancient Greek words that refer to time, but they capture different dimensions and qualities of it. We must understand these terms, so let us spend some time on them.
The Greek word "chronos" literally translates as "time." It refers to chronological or sequential time, such as minutes, hours, days, and years. It's the term from which we derive words like "chronology," "chronicle," and "chronometer."
The Greek word "kairos" is often translated as "the right time," "opportune moment," or "season." While "chronos" is measurable because it is quantitative, "kairos" is qualitative, referring to a decisive moment when conditions are right for a particular action or event.
God works in "kairos" time. His actions often align with opportune moments rather than strictly chronological sequences. We can understand this by the example of the incarnation. Paul wrote, "But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law" (Galatians 4:4). What does this mean? It means that Jesus' arrival in human history was at the precise "kairos" moment God intended, not a "chronos" time that was set for December 25, 4 AD.
Consider the forgiveness we receive in Christ. When Jesus died on the cross, his sacrifice was not limited by "chronos" time. It wasn't an act that had power only at that moment in history and then faded away. Instead, it was a "kairos" moment, a pivotal point in salvation history with eternal significance. His sacrifice is timeless, able to forgive sins committed before and after the event itself.
A life attuned to "kairos" is a life attuned to God's will. Therefore, if we start operating in "kairos" time rather than in "chronos" time, we would find our lives far more fulfilling than they are now and be much more at peace.
God bless you.