In the Fulness of Time.
“For nothing is impossible with God.” – Luke 1:37 NLT
Galatians 4:4 tells us, “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.” At just the right time. The imagery here conjures up pictures of a pregnant woman ready to give birth. Her day has come. After months of preparation, the day of delivery finally comes. Something long-awaited and highly anticipated is about to take place. The same is true of the situation in Israel as we read Luke’s account of the coming of Jesus. For more than 400 years, the Hebrew people have been waiting anxiously for a word from God. They have been desperately and eagerly waiting for the promised arrival of the Messiah. But unlike a pregnancy, they have no timeline to go by. They have no idea when the Messiah might come. During the period between the close of the Old Testament and the time recorded in the Gospel accounts, God has been silent. He has cut off communication with His people. There have been no prophets and therefore, no word from God. There have been no miraculous manifestations of God’s presence. It is a dark period, a virtual blackout, void of God’s abiding presence. And it would have been easy for the people of Israel to have lost hope. During those 400 years they had suffered considerably. They had had to endure repeated invasions by various enemies, and it culminated with the taking of Jerusalem by the Romans. By the time Jesus came onto the scene, the Jews were living under Roman rule, subject to Roman laws and Roman taxes. Herod the Great sat on the throne, having been appointed “king” over all of Palestine by the Romans. He was wicked, oppressive and a political schemer who had clawed his way to the top. Things could not have looked worse for the average Jew living in Judea at that time.
But at just the right time, God put His long-awaited plan into action. Luke records it for us. Breaking the long silence, suddenly God begins to speak again. He sends angels to Zechariah and Mary. He begins doing works of power and wonder. An elderly and barren couple miraculously give birth to a son. A young virgin girl becomes pregnant – by the Holy Spirit. Luke records for us the birth of John the Baptist, the conception of Jesus, and the foundational events that would set up the birth of Jesus, the Son of God and the Savior of the World. At just the right time – God acted. When things looked bleak and impossible – God did the impossible. “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37 NLT). Mary echoed this sentiment when she sang, “For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me” (Luke 1:49 NLT). “His mighty arm has done tremendous things!” (Luke 1:51 NLT). Zechariah praised God saying, “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited his people. He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David” (Luke 1:68-69 NLT). God was fulfilling the promises He had made centuries ago to Abraham and David. He was doing exactly what He said He would do, at just the right moment in time.
Nothing is impossible with God. Circumstances are no match for Him. Wicked kings and powerful nations can’t stand in His way. Barrenness and old age are no problem for God. Normal human biological and reproductive requirements don’t limit God. Mary’s virginity, Elizabeth’s barrenness, Zechariah’s old age, Herod’s wickedness, Rome’s dominance, and Israel’s weakness were not going to keep God from accomplishing His will and unleashing His redemptive power on the world.
“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace” (Luke 1:78-79 NLT).
Father, nothing is impossible with You. You are limitless in Your power and unstoppable in regards to Your will. Yet I tend to place limits on Your effectiveness and doubt Your ability to handle all that goes on in my life. Forgive me for my fear and floundering faith. Use the story of Your Son’s coming to remind me of Your sovereign control over all. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men