Christmas 2019: Behold My Son, in Whom I am well pleased, part 7.
Thursday January 9,2020
Gal 4:1 Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything,
Gal 4:2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father.
Gal 4:3 So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.
Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
Gal 4:5 in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
Gal 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"
Gal 4:7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
Jesus was born at the perfect time. We have seen some of the spiritual situation in Israel at the time of His birth and ministry. Israel had come to believe lies and had misinterpreted passages referring to the atonement of the suffering Savior. This is but a part of the historical circumstance of Israel that Jesus lived in. It was the perfect time for Him.
The heathen: (so much more could be said about Greece and Rome and the cultures and philosophies and the cult religions of the time)
Rome was an empire filled with hungry, disillusioned souls who were easy to travel to.
And, due to the dispersion, in practically every province there were Jews. There weren’t many of them, but they were universally scattered, and in their communities they built synagogues and proselytized Gentiles. For over about two-hundred years before the birth of Christ, the Roman world had been influenced by the monotheism of Judaism, her prophecies, and the morality of the Jewish Tanakh. And, because the dispersed Jews had lost command of the Hebrew language, the Tanakh was translated into Greek (LXX or Septuagint).
The way for Christianity was prepared on every side, positively and negatively, directly and indirectly, in theory and in practice, by truth and by error, by false belief and unbelief, by Jewish religion, by Grecian culture, and by Roman conquest, by the decay of old religions, by the universal distraction and hopeless misery of the age, and by the yearnings of all earnest and noble souls for the religion of salvation.
Before Jesus is born, everything that happens in the world is in preparation of Him.
If you think this to be an exaggeration, I can only ask you to research the history of the world on your own. I haven’t the time to give you, even what little I know of it. When Jesus is born, that era, the preparation era, closes. This is why the Law is no longer exacting over men. It was in preparation, and the One it spoke of fulfilled it.
After Jesus ascends to the right hand of God another era begins and it is an eternal one.
We still rightly divide the new era into dispensations, but what Jesus did created a lasting and eternal kingdom on earth, right now spiritual and only in the hearts of men, and later to be literal and upon the earth. What Jesus did to men who believed upon Him, even while Israel rejected Him, is eternal and unchangeable. He is the Author of a new creation. He is the Last Adam. He is the Head of the church which is His body “the fullness of Him that fills all in all.” You and I live in the fullness of times in the possession of eternal blessings.
Matthew opens his gospel with a genealogy that traces Jesus back to Abraham, the father of the Jews. Luke gives a genealogy that traces Jesus back to Adam, the father of all men. In Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and in Him also is realized the ideal of human virtue and piety and life. He is the eternal truth, and the divine life itself, personally joined with our nature; He is our Lord and our God; yet at the same time flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone. In Him is solved the problem of religion, the reconciliation and fellowship of man with God; and we must expect no clearer revelation of God, nor any higher religious attainment of man, than is already guaranteed and actualized in His person.
Mat 17:5 "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!"
He claims to be the long promised Messiah who fulfilled the law and the prophets, the founder and lawgiver of a new and universal kingdom, the light of the world, the teacher of all nations and ages, from whose authority there is no appeal. He claims to have come into this world for the purpose to save the world from sin - which no merely human being can possibly do. He claims the power to forgive sins on earth; He frequently exercised that power, and it was for the sins of mankind that He foretold that He would shed His own blood. He invites all men to follow Him, and promises peace and life eternal to every one that believes in Him. He claims pre-existence before Abraham and the world, divine names and attributes, and worship. He disposes from the cross of places in Paradise. In directing His disciples to baptize all nations, He coordinates Himself with the eternal Father and Divine Spirit, and promises to be with them to the consummation of the world and to come again in glory as the judge of all men, makes these astounding pretensions in the most easy and natural way; He never falters, never apologizes, never explains; He proclaims them as self-evident truths. We read them again and again, and never feel any incongruity nor think of arrogance and presumption.
If He is not God, if that is not true, then He is downright blasphemy and madness.
Many deny His physical miracles and ignore the miracle of His person. If you want to refute Him, you have to refute all of Him, His truth, His life, His way, along with His miracles and resurrection.
Truly, Jesus Christ is the most real, the most certain, the most blessed of all facts. And this fact is an ever-present and growing power which pervades the church and conquers the world, and is its own best evidence, as the sun shining in the heavens. This fact is the only solution of the terrible mystery of sin and death, the only inspiration to a holy life of love to God and man, the only guide to happiness and peace. Systems of human wisdom will come and go, kingdoms and empires will rise and fall, but for all time to come Christ will remain “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
Jesus could not have been born at any other time than in the reign of Caesar Augustus, after the Jewish religion, the Greek civilization, and the Roman government had reached their maturity; nor in any other land than Palestine, the classical soil of revelation, nor among any other people than the Jews, who were predestined and educated for centuries to prepare the way for the coming of His infancy.