The Time Was Right
1st Sunday after Christmas
The Time Was Right
Text: Galatians 4:4-7
Take a hat and put 10 coins in it. Mark one of the coins with a black “X.” Now put on a blindfold and try to pick out your marked coin. Your odds are simple. You have a one in ten chance of picking the right coin.
Next take silver dollars. Mark one with a black “X.” Now cover the entire state of Texas with silver dollars stacked two high. Put on a blindfold. Travel anywhere you want in the state and try to pick out your marked coin. Your odds are not so good. In fact, they are 1 in 1017, or 10 with 17 zeroes after it.
Scientists, mathematicians, and statisticians have done studies and calculations to figure out what the odds are that Jesus would fulfill eight prophecies. They were some of the basic prophecies, like Micah’s prophecy that the Savior would be born in Bethlehem, or David’s prophecy about Jesus being crucified. They odds were 1 in 1017!
But there’s a problem with that calculation. Jesus fulfilled more than eight prophecies. The scholars than calculated the odds of Jesus fulfilling 48 Old Testament prophecies. They found the odds to be 10157, or 10 with 157 zeroes after it. To illustrate that, you could think of the tiniest electrons that are a part of atoms. If you counted 250 electrons every minute of every day for 19 million years straight, you would have 10157 and one inch of electrons. Now put on a blindfold and try and pick one marked electron out of that bunch. That’s 1 in 10157!
But there’s a problem with that calculation. Jesus fulfilled more than 48 prophecies. In fact, Jesus fulfilled more than 300 prophecies! Scientists say that once you get over 1050 that the odds are more or less impossible. So 48 prophecies were 10157, and thus more than 300 prophecies fulfilled are odds so small that impossible isn’t even in the ballpark of the right word.
Yet we have these words of Galatians 4:4 before us today: “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son.” It would seem absolutely and utterly impossible even to the most genius men in the world, but God made it happen. He knew the perfect moment—the fullness of time in world history—to send his Son. And that’s what he did.
Think of just a few of those details. We know how kingdoms like Assyria and Babylon and Egypt ruled the world. They gave the Israelites many troubles. After them the Persians took control of the world. On their heels Alexander the Great and the Greeks ruled the world. Then the Romans established one of the greatest kingdoms ever. It was during that little portion of world history that a Roman Caesar named Augustus wanted to take a census of his empire. That census forced every person to register in their hometown. That forced a man named David to take his wife-to-be to the little town of Bethlehem. That just so happened to be the foretold birthplace of the Messiah. And his wife-to-be just so happened to be pregnant, and a virgin, as Isaiah prophesied. Skeptics would say it’s impossible for “stars to align” perfectly like that. But it is possible and did happen not because of fate, but because God planned it and did it.
The Time Was Right. The stage was set and the time perfectly right for God to do something he had been promising for a long time. The apostle Paul goes on to explain: “When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law.” The Time Was Right for God’s Son to come and redeem those under the law.
That’s talking about us. We are under God’s laws. From the 10 Commandments to commands for purity to commands for love—everything God wants us to do is called his “law.” We are under the law because God wants us to completely obey everything he says.
The problem is that we haven’t done that. We cut corners. We rationalize. We make up excuses. Anything we can do to make ourselves feel better about living the way we want rather than the way God wants.
Then there are times that we simply don’t care what God wants. No need for rationalizing or excuses. I’m going to say whatever I want to say. I’m going to gossip if I want to gossip. I’m going to get angry if I want to get angry. I’m going to be earthy and worldly if I want to be.
Now if you break the law in the United States, you get punished. Sometimes you get a fine or a ticket. Sometimes you are imprisoned. Sometimes you receive the death penalty. If you break the rules at a school, you get punished. Sometimes you sit out at recess. Sometimes you write sentences. Sometimes you get a detention or even get expelled.
When you break God’s laws, you get punished too. God says that the wages of sin is death. We can rationalize our actions all we want. We can think of ourselves as good people, or better than other people, all we want. But the fact of the matter is that we are lawbreakers—many, many times over. Our sins are too many too count. Thus, the penalty is just and deserved. The punishment is death and hell.
See how great God’s patience is then! See how great God’s mercy is then! And see how great God’s love is then, that he would orchestrate every event in world history so that at precisely the right time he could send his Son for us.
So Jesus came, sent from God. Yet another proof that Jesus has always existed. He didn’t begin his existence when he was born. God sent him to be born.
That’s when Jesus took on human flesh, when he was born of a woman. Jesus needed to be human because it was humans he came to save. He needed to be like us in every way. This includes being under God’s laws and demands like us. So, “God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law.” Jesus was human like us. He was under God’s demands of law like us. But that is where the similarities end, because with his human nature Jesus also has a divine nature as God. And this he needed as well.
If Jesus was going to redeem us, which means to pay the price for us, he would need to pay the price that God demands. There are two parts to that payment. The first part of God’s demands is perfect obedience to his law. The second part of God’s demands is a death to pay for sin and suffer hell. Jesus needed to be born of a woman as a human to be subject to God’s laws and to be able to die. But Jesus also needed to be God in order to live a perfect life and to die a death to pay for the sins of the whole world.
Interestingly, that word redeem was used often in Greek culture. When a slave was being freed, someone would pay the price for his freedom and make a sacrifice in the name of a god, like Apollo or Zeus. Thus they would claim that, “Apollo freed me.” But that god never really paid. The human did. That’s where our God is so great. Our God himself paid the price of freeing us from sin. He redeemed us with his own life and death!
God made the impossible possible. At just the right time, God sent his Son to fulfill every prophecy and to live and die for us to redeem us from our sins!
The result of this is incredible. Let’s finish the verse. “When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” That seemingly infinitely impossible was not just the right time for God’s Son, it was also the right time for us to become God’s sons and daughters. Because Jesus came to redeem us and pay for all our sins, we now have full and complete rights and sons. The Greeks used that phrase to refer to an official, legal adoption. That’s what we have. We have been officially adopted by God as his children.
Look at the blessings that come with that! First in verse 6: “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.'” Abba is a term of endearment of familiarity. It’s like us saying daddy instead of Father.
At just the right time, God sent his Son into the world to redeem those under the curse of sin. And at just the right time, God brought you to faith in his Son Jesus Christ, making you his own child. Now you have the Holy Spirit in your heart, who enables you to go to your God for any thing at any time. You always have access to your dear Father in heaven. Slaves don’t have that privilege, but you do.
And that’s not the only blessing you have as God’s child. Verse 7: “So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.” Slaves don’t have that privilege either. Slaves receive nothing. They receive burdensome work. They receive punishment. But not children. Children are heirs. Children receive the inheritance of their parents.
That’s the blessing that we have as God’s children. God has made us heirs. There is an inheritance of eternal life and glory waiting for us in heaven. Martin Luther once said about this Bible verse that we would be wise to consider every earthly treasure like dung compared to the eternal treasures we will inherit in heaven.
See how great God’s patience is! See how great God’s mercy is! See how great God’s love is, that he would orchestrate every event in world history so that at precisely the right time he could send his Son for us. Jesus fulfilled every promise of God so that he could redeem us from our sins. Because Jesus paid the price, we are now sons and daughters of God. We are privileged to pray to our dear Father and go to him in trouble. We are privileged to be heirs se to receive an inheritance beyond measure or value. Thanks be to God!
Some of you know the back-story of Christ the King. It was 2005 already when plans had begun for a new church in Palm Coast. Our church was researching the area and identified a few WELS-Lutheran families that could be a part of the start up. For two years they called about six different pastors, asking if they would like to serve in this new mission. I even remember saying as a vicar in 2005 that starting a church in Palm Coast, FL would be a cool place to be. After two years they finally decided to take a graduate from the seminary as the pastor. That was me.
It just so happened that I happened to have a wife who was a teacher and that Palm Coast was a place with a lot of young families. It just so happened that the very last grant ever given by our WELS church body to start a Preschool was given to Christ the King in 2008. It just so happened that my wife and I drove by an old warehouse when picking up landscape supplies for our house—a warehouse that became our Preschool and was literally the only place in the city they allowed us to start up a Preschool.
It just so happened that a businessman from New York responded to the more than 250 letters I sent out about buying property in Palm Coast. It just so happened that we were able to acquire the right loans at the right times to grow to this point. It just so happened that we waited an extra year and were turned down by our first principal call before we got our awesome principal today when Mr. Loberger finally accepted the call. It just so happened that we got $40,000 last week to push us forward with expanding our school.
And it just so happened that you got a postcard in the mail, or had your door knocked on, or stopped by here for a visit, or enrolled your child in our school, and now you are sitting in this room and joining in the good news of salvation through God’s Son Jesus Christ.
It just so happened. Mathematicians and statisticians would say the odds of all that happening the way it did are impossible. They would be right. But that’s because it didn’t just happen. God planned it that way.
God’s timing is always impeccably perfect. At just the right time in history he sent his Son to this world so that he could fulfill all prophecy and be our perfect substitute and Savior to redeem us from sin. And then at just the right time in history God worked in your life so that you could come into contact with the good news of salvation. And at just the right time, he has brought us together as a family of believers at Christ the King Church and School, to be sons and daughters of God who worship him, who serve him, and who share him. God made the seemingly impossible possible because his time is always right. By grace. For you.
Christ the King Lutheran Church and School is a Christian church and Christian school / private school located in Palm Coast, FL.
Christ the King Church and School
5625 N. US HWY 1
Palm Coast, FL 32164
Posted on December 31, 2013, in Church, Sermons and tagged Bethlehem, Christ the King, Christian Church, Church, Fate, Fulfillment of Prophecy, Galatians, Galatians 4, God's Son, Isaiah, Jesus, Lutheran Church, Math, Mathematicians, Micah, Odds, Palm Coast, Prophecy, Right, Scientists, Sermons, Statisticians, Time, Timing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.