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The Number of the Hours
George H. Morrison
These words were spoken by Jesus at the time when news had been brought Him that Lazarus was sick. For two days Jesus had made no move but had abode with His disciples where He was. The disciples would be certain to misconstrue that inactivity-they would whisper "Our Master at last is growing prudent"-and therefore their amazement and dismay when Christ announced He was going to Judea. They broke out upon Him with expostulation-"Lord, it was but yesterday that you were stoned there. It is as much as your life is worth to think of going-it were the rankest folly to run that tremendous risk." And it was then that Jesus turned upon the twelve, with a look which they never would forget, and said to them, "Are there not twelve hours in the day?" It is on these words that I wish to dwell a little in the quiet of this communion evening. I want to use them as a lamp to illumine some of the characteristics of the Lord. For they seem to me to irradiate first, the earnestness; second, the fearlessness; and third, the fretlessness of our Savior, Jesus Christ. First, then, their light on the earnestness of Christ.
What first arrests us, reading the life of Jesus, is not His strong intensity of purpose. It is only gradually, and as our study deepens, that we feel the push of that unswerving will. If you put the Gospel story into the hand of a pagan, to whom it came with the freshness of discovery, what would impress him would not be Christ's tenacity, but the variety and the freedom of His life. Never was there a career that bore so little trace of being lived in accordance with a plan. Never were deeds so happily spontaneous; never were words so sweetly incidental. To every moment was perfect adaptation, as if that were the only moment of existence. This hiding of intensity is mirrored in the great paintings of the face of Christ. In the galleries of the old masters I do not know one picture where the face of Christ i ...
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