“When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son.”
The good news of Christmas did not begin with the birth of Jesus. As Paul says in Galatians 4, God sent his Son when the time was complete. As if God was waiting for a specific time to unveil the most important part of redemptive history. What this verse affirms is that there had always been a plan. This story, this story that culminated in the life and work of Jesus began in the begining. As the Apostle John writes in opening words of his gospel account;
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
Throughout human history we have had small tastes, small glimpses into this plan. See, In the beginning man and woman were created to live in the presence of God. To reflect his beauty and enjoy his presence and blessings. Yet, our first parents followed the lies of a serpent and turned their backs on God’s fatherly provision and tried to establish their own dominion, breaking the harmony of created order. As a result of the fall, sin entered our world – with it came pain, suffering, disease, disaster, and death. Since then, the majority of human history has been a record of wars, conflict, and longings. But even in the hardest times, there have been small tastes of the redemption that was to come. Take a few examples from the story of humanity:
- Immediately following the fall of mankind God covers Adam and Eve’s shame with the skin of a sacrifice. God also promises that from Eve, in her descendants, one would come to crush the head of the evil one, destroying his power.
- Later God chooses a man by the name of Abraham, tells him to leave all he has known, and promises that he will Father a new, people, a people from many nations.
- After Abraham, a man by the name of Moses is raised up to deliver God’s people out of slavery under Pharaoh in Egypt. Beyond this, Moses is also appointed to mediate between his people, all two million of them, and God almighty.
- Consider the young Shepherd boy named David who stepped out against his people’s enemy Goliath in war. There he was, a young untrained boy representing his people against a fierce and decorated warrior. David won and was anointed King of Israel
Human history is a story of longing. A story of a people longing to see the end of pain, suffering, disease, disaster, and death. A story of an exiled people trying to get home in the presence and care of their loving Father. A people who have carried the burden of sin. A people who have cried out for deliverance. A people who long to have a good King who rules with perfect justice and mercy.
And God delivered.
At just the right time. In the fullness of time. When longings of humanity had reached their fullness. When God’s plan of redemption was ready for its culmination, He sent Jesus. And in the birth of Jesus we find our answer. We find in his fullness, what the heroes of the Old Testament gave us a brief taste of.
- We find in Jesus the true and greater Adam who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is accredited to us. Jesus is the descendant of Eve who destroys the curse of sin and death.
- Jesus is the true and greater Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go out into wilderness not knowing where he went to create a new people of God gathered from every tribe, tongue, and nation.
- Jesus is the true and greater Moses who delivers his people from slavery of sin, and from the hands of a tyrant named death. Jesus, like Moses, stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant.
- Jesus is the true and greater David whose victory becomes his people’s victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves. Jesus is also the eternal king from the line of David who’s perfect rein will never end.
This is why we sing, “glory to the new born King, peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!” Jesus is our long awaited answer to our deepest longings. At his birth God announced that his kingdom was here, and now we as followers of Christ wait for the day for it to be consummated.