Summary: How the time was ripe for Jesus’ arrival
“When the time had fully come” Gal 4:4 23/12/01 am
Gal 4:4 as long as an heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. 4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
Why did it happen then? Why choose 4AD… 6AD, God?
- why not sooner?
Well- the way this passage describes it is:
- “the time was full”, “the fullness of time”
- “ripe”, like fruit
- “pregnant” & about to give birth
- gestating for centuries
- planned for centuries
- “RIGHT”. For some reason
Some reasons seem obvious… to US… and make sense
Fullness of time- culturally
The world… the then, so called ‘modern world’ was ready culturally. - - The stage was set
In 350BC the son of a Macedonian (Gk) king, Philip, was born. He was called Alexander. We know him as ‘Alexander the great’. He conquered the ‘known world’ in 12 years and brought tremendous changes to Europe & middle East. Brought:
- Gk culture: philosophy, institutions, art, drama, literature, architecture & thought. All took a leap forward
- Gk language
The culture brought radical changes. It broke down some of the barriers of nationalism. Folks from other cultures were more readily accepted. Travelling folks sharing philosophical concepts were more readily entertained- both them and their ideas
Gk language became a language that united that part of the world. 2nd language to all people. Became the language of writing, commerce. Could be read and understood by many
- & in 280 BC the OT was translated into Gk (LXX)
- people were getting used to reading not only philosophical ideas in Gk- but Jewish, monotheistic scriptures as well
Fullness of time- politically
The Romans had taken over the (by then) divided and declining territories that Alexander had conquered and had imposed
- the Pax Romana. Enforced peace! Woe betide you if you stepped out of line. But peace there was
- for only 2nd time in their history the doors of the temple of the god ‘Janus’… the god of war… were closed. There was no war.
They were the Iron Fist- but actually were v Broad and eclectic, culturally
- allowed keeping of own culture, while engendering acceptance of others
They brought roads (all roads lead to Rome. A network of roads (that we still benefit from, esp around here)
- and a postal system that worked on them
- and protection for those who travelled on them
- with privileges never known before
Paul travelled on semi-paved roads… sometimes protected by Roman guards (as he was a Roman)… with privileges unheard of!
Little did the Rome know the part they played in putting US here, today…. In God’s plans
- little did Caesar Augustus know that his census would cause the fulfilment of an 800 yr old Jewish prophecy about where the Messiah would be born…
- …. Cause Mary to give birth in Bethlehem
Fullness of time- spiritually
For the Jews
They were ready for the one true God
- Abraham (2000BC) had an understanding/revelation of the One true God… given in the midst of a polytheistic culture
- So HE understood
- But his offspring kept on going after as many as they could!
- That was the struggle
- Moses (1400BC) had a further revelation of there being only one real God… & His nature
- But even as he receives the revelation… the Jewish people are getting tucked in to worshipping a calf
- & there’s the real battle of the books of Joshua and Judges.
- Who do you worship?
- David (100BC) was a man after the heart of the One true God, and his son Solomon was wise- but even Solomon ended up building shrines to stacks of other gods
But the 6C Babylonian exile of the S kingdom of Judah had really brought them up short… as hard times often do
- it’s funny how (when things are going well) we can be pretty lax on what we believe, think important, worship… our faith ‘identity’
- but cart us off to problems… captivity and
- we tighten up our belt buckles/theology