I love the phrase ‘the fullness of time’. Gal 4:4 says, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son.”
Webster’s Dictionary defines fullness as, “complete especially in detail, number or duration.” When time was complete in detail, number or duration, God sent His Son.
As the holiday season is approaching, I’ve been thinking about the timing of the Savior’s birth. What made the Roman Empire the time complete in detail, number or duration? Why was it the perfect time for such a miraculous event to to happen?
The time of the Roman Empire was perfect for several reasons. The Romans built roads and ships, making travel easier than ever before. Believers could reach much more distant places to share the Gospel that at any previous time. The Roman Empire created a sense of unity in the world. Roman rule being enforced by mighty soldiers created a peaceful era where travel was safer than before. Roman rule made the Jews particularly hungry for a Messiah, making people more aware of the fulfillment of prophecies concerning the Messiah. Roman soldiers were deployed to remote areas of the empire. Some Roman soldiers heard and believed the Gospel, and shared it as they were re-deployed to other areas. The spread of the Gospel to Britain was caused by Roman soldiers who had become believers in Christ being stationed in Britain and sharing their faith.
Also, there was a unifying language. The Romans had conquered militarily, but the Greeks had conquered culturally. As a result, virtually the entire world spoke Greek. Therefore, believers could share the Gospel with people in other countries. At no previous era in history could the Gospel have been shared in one language and understood by all.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, regions reverted to their native tongues. Greek was no longer a universal language. Even today, although we Americans may arrogantly assume that people should understand us no matter where in the globe we travel, there are many places where no one understands English. Also, had God sent His Son during the modern era, people would explain the virgin birth by saying that Mary was artificially inseminated, a procedure that did not exist during the Roman era.
Think of it. The one era in thousands of years where the Gospel could be spread more easily than ever before, and universally understood. That is awe-inspiring!
We may wonder why two thousand years have passed, and Christ has not returned for us. At times, it seems like He is late. He is right on time. He will come again “in the fullness of time”. Look at all the elements that were in place when He sent His Son. He knows what He is doing. He will return in the fullness of time.