”a little while”
“Then Jesus said to them, “I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me.” Jn.7:33. Jesus was facing the cross, and time was short. He knew the Jewish leaders were plotting to kill Him. Jn.7:1, but it was not yet time. A “little while” still remained, approximately six more months, and His enemies would not be able to touch Jesus before that time. Until then Jesus would remain alive to finish His work.
Suppose you learned that you were facing death because of some incurable disease that was ravaging your body. Your doctor has told you that you only have a “little while” longer here on this earth. How would you use the “little while” that remained?
HOW DID JESUS SPEND HIS “LITTLE WHILE?”
Part of His “little while” was spent practicing forgiveness. For example, the woman taken in adultery, Jn.8:3-11. Jesus refused to condemn her, and told her to “go and sin no more.” He was not condoning sin, but He was not going to condemn her unjustly. During His “little while” Jesus knew Peter was going to deny Him, Lk.22:31-32, yet He forgave him. As Jesus hung on the cross He was willing to forgive the Jewish leaders who put Him there, Lk.23:34. What about today? Suppose a person does something to hurt you, are you willing to forgive that person or do you carry a grudge against him/her the rest of your life? Jesus didn’t carry grudges against those who hurt Him. He forgave them. Don’t spend your time holding grudges for you have only a “little while” left. Learn to forgive others as Jesus did. Time is much too short to carry such burdens. You never know when it will come to an end. Prov.27:1.
During His “little while” Jesus continued to teach people. Yet, in doing so He had to dodge the stones of those who didn’t like His teaching. When He spoke of the honor due Him because of His age, (eternal existence), Jn.5:58-59, they picked up stones to throw at Him. They had the same reaction when He claimed oneness with God, Jn.10:30-31. What about today? We never know when our “little while” will come to an end. So, we have to be willing to speak the word “in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine” 2.Tim.4:2-3a. Are we willing to dodge the stones of ridicule, sarcasm, rejection, and hatred as we talk to others about Jesus? After all, we have a “little while left to teach them. Jn.9:4.
In the “little while” Jesus had left, He took time to help others. He wept with the bereaved during the death of Lazarus, Jn.11:35. He washed the disciples feet, Jn.13:1-16, showing that He came to serve, not to be served, Matt.20:28. Christians must learn to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Rom.12:15. Christians need to help others and practice hospitality, Rom.12:13. There are so many things we can do to benefit others, so get busy doing them while there is still time left, Eph.5:16.
Some of the “little while” Jesus had left was used in prayer. Even though He knew He would soon be back with the Father forever in heaven, He took time to talk with God while He was still on the earth. Christians have only a “little while” left in this world before leaving it, and some time ought to be spent talking with the Father in heaven. Col.4:2; 1.Thes.5:17-18.
Jesus spent His “little while” continuing to serve God. How are you using yours?
YOU ONLY HAVE A LITTLE WHILE HERE
After Jesus said, “I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me,” He told them, “You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come.” Jn.7:34. His earthly life was soon to come to an end, and so would their opportunities to be saved. He made this even clearer when He talked about His death saying, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” Jn.12:32. He then remarked, “a little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.” Jn.12:35. Time ran out for Jesus, and the Jews crucified Him. For the majority of the Jews time also ran out for them. They “loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” Jn.3:19-20. Their opportunity to be saved would be gone forever.
All of you reading this are still here for a “little while.” Some of you are still in the darkness of sin. You have refused to come to the light, Jesus Christ. You may intend to one day obey the gospel but you feel the time is not yet convenient. Let me assure you, having good intentions, being almost a Christian, will not be a sufficient reason when you stand before God, claiming you could never find a convenient season to obey God.
We need to become time conscious. James reminds us of this by writing, “Come now, you who say, ‘today or tomorrow we will go to such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit.’ Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”Jas.4:13-14. Since this is true we need to couple the passing of time with knowledge, so we may use it wisely. “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Ps.90:12. “See that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Eph.5:15-16.
You still have a “little while.” So, what are you going to do with the time you have left? Use it wisely. Use it for God. Remember the important things in life should never be left until tomorrow, for then they may never get done. “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” Prov.27:1.
Courtesy of Tommy Thornhill, Evangelist of the Etna congregation in Ozark, AR