In the fullness of Time

Dr Paul Maier became one of my favorite authors and I didn’t even realize who he is. Come to find out that he is a Vice President of the Lutheran Church, he has been a history professor at Western Michigan University and he’s written historical novels about Pontius Pilate, Christians in Rome during Nero’s reign, a novel describing how things might be if Jesus’ Body was ever discover, “A Skeleton in God’s closet” and other novels that I just haven’t gotten to yet. I’m not really a big novel reader, but all of Dr Maier’s novels were just excellent and one of my life goals is to make sure I read all his novels.
But he is also more than capable of writing non-fiction and another book you need to read if you are at all interested in Christianity, Christian history, Christian apologetics, or being a Christian, you have to read “In the Fullness of Time”. This is a look at historical Christianity and provides concrete affirmations of Jesus and the disciples in history and of the experience of the Christian church.
It has often been noted that God could not have picked a better time for His Son to come into the world, that would most effectively reach many people under conditions that would facilitate that spread.
Dr Maier puts this whole concept succinctly in the following paragraph:
“Paul’s famous comment that the Nativity happened ‘in the fullness of time’ is usually interpreted to mean that God had a good sense of timing, since conditions prevailing in the Mediterranean world could not have been more favorable for the spread of Christianity. The Old Testament had predicted the birth of a Messiah for centuries, and the Greeks had given their world a universal language through which Jesus’ message could spread easily and quickly. The Roman empire had organized the whole Mediterranean basin into one vast communications network, almost perfectly geared to foster the spread of Christianity, since its missionaries could travel from city to city without fear of piracy at sea or brigands by land. Rome had also spread the welcome blanket of peace across the world, the “Pax Romana”, a time in which the new faith could thrive.” (“In the Fullness of Time” pg 24)
One could certainly make the case that God set up the conditions to send His Son into. In today’s parlance you might say that God set His Son up to succeed. It only makes sense that God had every intention of making sure that the church established by His Son would be given every opportunity to spread to all mankind. Well it certainly has. In the beginning Christianity spread to all the points of the empire. God picked the perfect time and conditions in order to enable His disciples to move as easily as possible to spread the Gospel. He took a man, Saul of Tarsus, who was remarkably equipped, incredibly motivated. He met Saul on the road to Damascus, knocked him off his donkey and made it abundantly clear what His plans were for Paul.
You could make the case that God could probably have not picked a better person than the Apostle Paul to utilize the conditions that God, no doubt, created in order for Paul to, probably, go all the way to Spain to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.
There is no doubt in my mind, that it was God’s intention to guide the world to reach the place where the incarnation of Jesus Son of Joseph, Son of David, Son of God to come into the world and begin the process of restoring our relationship with Him. Is there any doubt that He would have done it in the most effective way possible?
Dr Maier’s book is a treasure trove of how the sovereign will of God has shown up all through history and no where more striking then in Bethlehem, in Israel, in the reign of Caesar Augustus. The featured picture shows the place where God started it off, the birthplace of Jesus. It’s plain that all this happened and it happened for a reason. That God, Father, Son and Spirit, worked in concert to make all this happen in order for us to have every opportunity to know salvation in Jesus Christ.

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