The Testimony Given at the Proper Time

the_carpenter_greene_l“For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.” -1 Tim. 2.5-6

There is only one man whose blood is sufficient to cleanse, transform, and justify men before the God of holiness. If any other man would have tried to give his life for the salvific ransom of the nations it would have been null and void. No other man has lived a sinless life, maintained perfect communion with Father, expressed the nature of God in full, and given “Himself as a ransom for all.”

We consider His blood efficacious and powerful because of His divinity, and this is utterly true. But we often fail to remember that His blood is also salvific for us because of the perfection of His humanity.

Jesus endured 30 years of seemingly mundane life in childhood obedience, and roughly 18 years of sweat, blisters, and sawdust in His labors as a carpenter. He experienced 30 years of virtual obscurity in the 1st century ghetto that Nazareth constituted.

Have you thought of how intensely Jesus identifies with the common man? With your common life?

We are apt to gravitate towards the sensational and astounding, but have we considered the remarkableness of the incarnation of Christ, and His contentment to spend thirty years in what we would consider a mundane life? He was at rest in the Father with an ultimate kind of trust, and was at peace with communing with Him in the seemingly menial labors of carpentry.

Have you considered that Jesus was not a European, blonde-headed softy, whose hands hung femininely while He taught, and who was postured like a ballerina at His crucifixion? The paintings of the middle ages betray His true manliness. Jesus was a Jewish man with blistered hands who was acquainted with the tools of His trade, and this does not reduce the significance of His earthly ministry, but intensifies the identification that He has with us.

He experienced all manner of temptation and trial and overcame the spirit of the world in the midst of it all. He was at rest in the Father, not jockeying for a ministerial position or looking for a public platform. He spent thirty years in obedience to earthly parents, service to His community in the realm of carpentry, and secret communion with His heavenly Father through prayer and meditation on the Scripture.

Are we looking for something more than the Son of God was looking for? Or are we content to stand upon the ground where God has presently placed us? His ministry was effectual because He was aware of His Sonship, and in that filial awareness, nothing mattered more than to please the Father. His testimony bore authority, because it was “given at the proper time”; which is to say, He did not emerge until the day when the Father decided to show Him forth.

To Jesus, it was just as significant to put the finishing touches on the yoke of an ox in the carpenter’s shop as it was to raise Lazarus from the dead. He desired His Father’s glory to fill all things, and every day was as crucial as the next. The miracles were more significant in the minds of those who witnessed them, but for the Lord, the glory of God had already filled everything in every way.

If we would set Him forth ourselves, we’ve got to come into the same kind of ultimate trust in the Father. We’ve got to be content as sons, standing trustingly on the ground where He has placed us. If we spend all of our days in the sawdust, but He is with us, that is enough. If He calls us to leave the shop and to preach to large crowds, He will be with us there also, and that is enough. To know the Lord and abide in Him wheresoever He takes us or keeps us, that is enough.

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