December 24, 2019

Christmas is the story that speaks of God’s perfect timing. Galatians 4:4 says that the world had been waiting for a long time, “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman . . .” This is hopeful news for us because, in 2020, there will be times when you and I ask, “Where is God? Why isn’t He doing something? Christmas shows that God’s timing is perfect.

What does it mean that the time had fully come? There were 400 years of silence between the Old Testament and the New Testament, between the words of the prophet Malachi and the events Matthew records. There were no prophets. No Scripture had been written. Heaven seemed silent. But in the silence, God was preparing the earth for the coming of His Son, Jesus.

God had the good of all of His creation in mind and was preparing the earth so that WHEN Jesus came, the gospel could be spread throughout the whole world and all could be restored to a relationship with Him. When God appeared to be silent, when He appeared to be doing nothing, God was actually preparing HISTORY to be HIS-STORY, beginning with the birth of Jesus.

How did God prepare the world for the birth of His Son, Jesus?

God worked through the Greeks. Culturally, the time had fully come. Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire in 333 B.C. Greek culture began its influence over the Jews then. When the Greeks conquered the world, the Greek language became the universal language. Everybody knew some Greek. They read and wrote Greek. All legal documents were in Greek. In college and seminary, we study Greek. Why? Because New Testament authors wrote in Koine Greek, the common language of the marketplace. Can you imagine the thought of God? “My Son will enter the world when there is a universal language for that part of the world, so that the news will spread, and people will know about the birth.” The disciples could spread the news to the known world.

God worked through the Romans. The time had fully come politically. In 63 B.C., the Romans conquered the Greeks. God picked a time when there was a universal period of peace and there was one central government over the known world. You didn’t need a passport to travel, there were no wars to avoid, and there was no enemy territory. Followers of Jesus could go all over the world unhindered. The road system built by the Romans is legendary. You’ve heard the statement, “All roads lead to Rome”? Well, all roads lead out of Rome too. Soldiers who became Christians, and ordinary people, traveled and took the good news.

God worked through the Jews. The time had fully come spiritually. For 4000 years the Jews had stood alone in proclaiming that there was one God—only one. The world was pagan, and the Greeks themselves had many gods and goddesses they worshiped. The Romans added many more, and also elevated their Caesar to the rank of a god and worshiped him. But for 4000 years God had been preparing the world through His people like Abraham, Moses, David, and many more. They told their contemporaries that there was only ONE God, their God Jehovah. Jehovah told the Jews over and over throughout their history that the promised Messiah was coming to save the world from their sins.

It was time. The world was longing for the Messiah. They NEEDED the Messiah, and God was getting ready to move in a way that would change time and eternity. God was not wasting time. He had spent 4000 years planning exactly the right time and way for His Son, the one and only pure Messiah, the Lamb of God who alone could take away the sins of the world, to enter the waiting world.

The world was ready. And God sent Jesus. The quiet night was broken by the alert cries of a newborn baby, born to save the world. At just the right time.