Miracles: Mastery over Time

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, July 5, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The major thing that got my brain stirring on this series of miracles was my church’s series on the eight miracles of the Gospel of John leading up to Easter this year. A comment that was made during the series was that Jesus showed mastery over time and over distance. It got me thinking about everything else that God has mastery over and that is what put this series together. Today, I am going to look at the first of those two: that God has mastery over time. Then next week, I will go into mastery over distance and beyond.

Perhaps the clearest account of how God has mastery over time is found in John 2 when Jesus turned water into wine. This was no ordinary event. Wine takes decades to centuries to ferment and cure for the best tastes. It does not happen instantly under normal circumstances. When the banquet master tasted the wine, not knowing it was water just moments earlier, he declared that it was the best of all the wine in the house. Typically, the host would bring the good wine out early during the long parties, while people are conscious enough to taste it. Then as the party gets drunk, they bring out the cheaper stuff because the partiers don’t really know any better. Yet here, it was declared that this wine was the best of it all. Yet to produce such wine naturally means it must be significantly older than the other wines, when in actuality it was made that very moment. And that’s without addressing how pure water suddenly had the juices to make wine. How is this possible? The only possible answer was divine intervention.

Jesus showed that time does not mean anything to God as it does to us. We are temporal while God is eternal. There are many people who refer to 2 Peter 3:8 and say that because we don’t know or understand God’s time, therefore how can we know whether the days in Genesis 1 are natural days or not. Really? That’s not what that verse is talking about at all. This verse is saying that God will do what He wants to get done when He wants to do it. God does not operate by human time clocks, though He does deliver on his promises in our time frame precisely on time.

Time is not a descriptor for God. He is outside of time. Time is for man to measure the flow of events. God uses time for our benefit. There is no point or purpose for God to act in time otherwise, because time is irrelevant outside of the context of man and his affairs. Due to mercy and compassion for the host family, Jesus made a process that should have taken many years happen in an instant. But this isn’t the only instance where God showed mastery over time.

At the end of his ministry, Jesus was entering Jerusalem from Bethany and found a fig tree with its leaves out. He was hungry but found it had no fruit. He knew enough botany that when a fig tree with leaves out does not bear fruit, then it is a dead tree and will not produce any more. So Jesus cursed it, because it did not give Him the fruit He expected. The next day, it was completely withered, a process that could take years to reach full fruition. The disciples were shocked at how that tree could perish so fast.

Jesus still had a lesson for them in all this, about faith and the importance of bearing fruit, but my point here is that Jesus had mastery over time. The curse of death was already upon the tree. All Jesus did was speed up the inevitable. He proved he has mastery over the time of natural processes.

What about making a tree grow fast instead? While we don’t have a record of Jesus doing that during His early ministry, Jonah got to see a fast-growing tree. Jonah had just preached for three days of Nineveh’s doom and then he sat back, waiting for the judgment to come. But it never came, because Nineveh repented. But to show Jonah God’s desire for mercy and not judgment, God caused a tree to grow over Jonah and give him shade. Jonah was appreciative of the tree, but then God sent a worm to kill it and Jonah complained. In both instances, God raised a tree instantly, and let it die instantly. He has mastery over time and over natural processes.

During the days of creation, we see an interesting phrase: “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth.” The Old Earth crowd interprets these phrases via a natural understanding. They think the plants had to take long period of time to grow and flourish. However, the text says “third day.” The sun didn’t come around until day 4. By the natural argument, those plants would have died unless the sun came around shortly afterwards, let alone deal with the insects needed to pollinate them, which didn’t come around until day 6. So what happened here? The answer is simpler than you may think. While God may have indeed used natural resources, or maybe even some natural processes, He did not use natural time. He showed mastery over time. The plants grew quickly and instantly. It was not gradual. There is no reason to think God took the natural flow of time to produce the plants from the text.

God does other miracles too. Salvation is an instant process. Salvation can be likened to going to a judge and becoming a naturalized citizen. It happens instantly, even though the process of learning to live as an American, or as a Christian, is a long process. I have seen God instantly cure people of smoking or drug addictions, processes that usually take weeks on end. I’ve seen Him take His time on such processes too. A woman at my church just passed away after her third battle with cancer. She wasn’t supposed to get past her first. She won that battle, but God prevented it from moving as it should have under normal circumstances. He still chose to take her home, but she fought with courage and with hope and brought the life of Jesus to all she touched through it all.

God is the master of time. He will speed things up when He needs them done. He will also slow things down to get them staged and ready to go at His timing. Being hired for my job was an example of God slowing the natural processes of getting a teaching job so I would be set up to do what I needed done. I should have had it a lot sooner under normal processes as every educator I spoke with was baffled, but God wasn’t. Then God opened the door, I knew it was His doing, and now I look forward to seeing why He had me wait and put me in the school I am at.

God is the master of time. Trust Him to be on time and to do things exactly when He wants them done. Next week, I’ll look at how God has mastery over distance.

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