Time is of the essence, is a phrase in a contract that means that
a speedy response within a specified period of time is of absolute importance.
I don’t believe that I am alone when I say that I believe that time is of the essence when it comes to the Christ’s Gospel. Jesus said in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.”
And in Matthew 9:37 Jesus had already told His disciples “the harvest is abundant, but the workers are few.”
The word ‘time’ is not a word that we generally hear much said about as far as the Scriptures are concerned. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a sermon on the subject of time.
But in reality, it is a very important word as far as the Lord is concerned. In fact, used over 170 times in the NT, it amazes me how a simple word like ‘time’ was used in so many forms by those who penned the NT.
Not only as the word ‘time’, but space, while, once, hour, old, convenient, the second time, afterward, temporal, nothing at any time, long ago and even now.
It can mean an opportunity, season or a measure of time, as in the right time as Jesus spoke of in Mark 1:15, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news!”
It can mean never at any time as in Matthew 7:23 when Jesus said, “Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!”
It can mean a leisure time, or more accurately, an unproductive time as described in Acts 17, when the apostle Paul stood on Mars Hill and faced a sea of idols and man made gods and spoke to an audience of Athenians and foreigners. He described these people in vs. 21 saying, “Now all the Athenians and the foreigners residing there spent their time on nothing else but telling or hearing something new.”
Consider the world today, always going after something new, some new fashion, fad or gadget. Not wanting to hear what God has to say to them, more interested in tweets and ungodly speech from vile tongues.
It can mean a generation in time as in Mary’s words of praise spoken to her cousin Elizabeth after she had greeted Mary saying, “And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb (John the Baptist) leaped for joy.” In Luke 1:50 Mary said, “His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear Him.”
It can mean the present time as spoken of by Jesus in John 4:23 when He said, “But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him.”
And it can mean of or in the future as in this verse in Luke that keeps finding it’s way into my heart and mind. In considering the time of day spiritually, I suspect that we are nearing the end of the day. The words of Jesus were a warning to Peter, but they are a warning to all who will heed them. We can rely on the fact that our Savior is even this moment interceding for us in the throne room of God our Father. But that does not eliminate the need for us to build our own faith by keeping our focus on His Word which is the source of our faith (Romans 10:17)
In Luke 22:32, Jesus said to Peter, “But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
It is the word ‘when’ that is translated from a Greek word that means at some time in the future.
For us, as we stand watching for His glorious return, that ‘when’ is now.