When the set time had fully come
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman …
- from Galatians 4:4
We love how Paul launches into this whole conversation about family: “But when the set time had fully come.” God joined our family at just the right time.
If you jumped into a time machine and went back to Galilee around the time Jesus was born, you may not feel the same way. They didn’t seem ready for Jesus. They hadn’t hung lights and tinsel and garland. There wasn’t any figgy pudding set out, nor were there stockings and cookies by the fire.
But this was “when the set time had fully come.”
Scholars have written about what made this “the right time” for Jesus to come. The Jews were sick of Roman rule. Messianic expectations were at all-time highs. The Roman Empire had good roads that ran thousands of miles and would allow for the gospel to spread. Koine Greek was widely spoken throughout the Empire, allowing the good news to spread among the common people before the church encountered fierce opposition.
But was this really the optimal time for Jesus to come?
The Romans had an Empire. But they weren’t the first. The Greeks and Persians preceded them. And though the Roman roads did bring unity, couldn’t Jesus have just come before humanity spread out across the earth? And if Jesus came today his every word and deed could be broadcast and live-streamed around the world. Wouldn’t that have been better?
God’s timing is always mysterious. We can look back at his work and say “Well done! Good timing!” but we can’t plumb the depths of why he does what he does when he does.
This is one of many reasons it’s so significant that God has welcomed us into his family. To us, he’s not just the Master Planner and Grand Architect, he’s also our good Father. His good timing is more like a father making sure his children have a gift for Christmas than like a chess master springing a trap. He acts when he acts because he wants to bless us.
How does having God as your good Father affect the way you wait on his timing to come through? Where have you seen a parent exercise good timing when it comes to blessing a child?