Summary: Every now and then something happens, after a long struggle, to give us a breakthrough. So with God in Christ, planning from the foundation of time for the cross and achieving a breakthrough victory at the empty tomb. So count nothing impossible.
Every now and again, in human history, we achieve a breakthrough. Something which we have worked for, hoped for, fought and died for, finally happens. There has been struggle and agony and seemingly endless defeat, but suddenly it all works out. That’s called a breakthrough.
You know the feeling. You’ve had breakthroughs in your life. Maybe it was a job you wanted. You studied, you interviewed, you wrote letters, and then you waited. You waited and you waited. "Don’t call us, we’ll call you." Except they didn’t. And then one day you came home from trudging around the city, trying to find something, anything, and there was a message for you: call the personnel office right away, they have a job for you. Do you remember? Do you remember what that felt like? It was a breakthrough, something you had worked and hoped and struggled for for a long time -- and all of a sudden it just happened. It was a breakthrough.
More than a hundred years ago, the British and the French began thinking about how to connect their two countries, separated by the English Channel and by centuries of animosity and mutual suspicion. Many proposals for bridges or tunnels or causeways were offered, and a few even got started. But the weather and the cost and the political climate and a host of other things always seemed to stop them. And so for more than a century the idea of connecting Britain to the continent remained just a dream. But a few years ago the two governments began again; they poured hours upon hours of time into the planning and the work, they poured tons of money and energy into the project, and finally, just a few weeks ago, workers tunneling from Britain and workers tunneling from France met each other under the Channel and punched a hole in the last remaining rock, shaking hands miles from shore and well beneath the water. That’s a breakthrough! Something that took more than a century of planning and negotiating to achieve: finally a breakthrough!
Of course I suspect that the finest moments we have, the great, exhilarating moments, are those in which a breakthrough is achieved for the human spirit. Something that people have longed for and hoped for and prayed for for the world in which they live becomes a reality. That has to be one of the greatest moments that any of us can experience. Do you remember how you felt about this time last year, when all of a sudden we were seeing the end of nearly a half-century of Cold War? Suddenly, and almost without warning, the Berlin wall was coming down and the two Germanies were on a course of reunification. Suddenly, and almost without warning, what we had called the "Evil Empire" was changing and opening up. Suddenly nation after nation was throwing off Communist rule. And we knew the excitement and the joy of breakthrough; had we not prayed for this and hoped for this and paid taxes for this? Breakthrough.
Every now and again, in human history, we achieve a breakthrough. Something which we have worked for, hoped for, fought and died for, finally happens. There has been struggle and agony and seemingly endless defeat, but suddenly it all works out. That’s called a breakthrough. And it is a joyous, fulfilling moment.
Since the dawn of human consciousness, men and women have known that they needed a savior. When our ancestors first got up off their hind legs and began to think, when the Spirit of God first breathed and they became living souls, made in the image of God, they knew that their condition was serious and that they needed to be saved. There has never been a culture or a society, so far as the anthropologists can tell us, that has not had a sense of right and wrong. Every nation, every people, understands that we are as human beings in a mess. And every nation, every people, understands that we cannot seem to get out of this mess by ourselves. Everyone knows that we need a breakthrough.
And so our God, from before the beginning of the beginning, from before time itself, purposed to break through some day with a savior. Remember that this savior is no accident, He is no last minute improvisation by a God who does not plan: this savior, as Paul says, "is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created … He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Our God, from before the beginning of the beginning, from before time itself, held in His heart that moment when He would break through.
Consider how the ages waited for Him. Consider how humanity yearned for a savior. Remember how the prophets spoke of the one who would come. Remember how the people of God prayed for Him. Think how even the pagans of the ancient world dimly perceived that such a one would come: the Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians, many nations told stories for centuries about one who would come and bring an era of peace. Think how long and how diligently and how patiently the ages waited for Him.