The Stage Was Set
The key themes of the Christmas Story are:
- Redemption and Salvation
- God is faithful to fulfill His promises
- Fear not
- Nothing is impossible with God
- God speaks to us in dreams; listen to Him
God has a perfect season and timing for everything in our lives.
“For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Habakkuk 2:3 NKJV).
God’s Word is filled with precious promises. Have you asked the Lord to do something specific in your life and you know deep in your heart that He said “yes” and made a promise to you that He would do it?
He may have quickened a Scripture that pertains to your situation or maybe He dropped a promise into your heart. Perhaps a prophetic message was spoken over you and it bore witness in your spirit that it was of God, and was a confirmation of what the Lord had been speaking to your heart.
What is your circumstance? What are you believing God for?
When God first promises something to us there is the feeling of being overjoyed and a sense of expectancy. It seems like the promise will come to pass right away. In some cases it does, but in most instances a period of time elapses between the moment the promise is first given and the time it comes to fulfillment.
Many times months and years go by and the promise still has not happened. Have you ever experienced that feeling of disappointment that just when it seemed like the promise was finally going to come to pass, there was a sudden turn in the road?
Proverbs 13:12 (NKJV) says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”
The devil uses these opportune times in our lives to taunt us with words like: “It will never happen” … “Did God really say that?” … “It’s too late for you”.
God’s delay in answering prayer does not necessarily mean denial. God’s promises are “Yes” and “Amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Though the promise tarry it will surely come to pass and not prove false. God wants us to have faith and to trust him.
Psalms 145:13 (NIV) tells us: “The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV) says, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”
Even in the timing of the birth of Christ, the Messianic promises had been spoken hundreds and thousands of years before Christ became flesh.
Why did God wait so long to send His Son? The answer: Because the stage had to be fully set first.
In looking back on history, God waited until certain things were in place before sending Jesus to earth. For instance, roads had been built by the Romans. The Romans ruled much of the known world during that time, and they had built wide highways and roads going every direction from Rome to the Middle East, Africa, Far East and European countries. Because the roads were built, travel to almost any destination was possible.
Besides roads for land travel, there were technological advances in sea travel with ships to transport people to almost any coastal destination, including the isles of the sea.
Jesus said to make disciples of every nation, and with access to land and sea travel, it was now possible for His disciples to fulfill Jesus’ commission and to spread the Gospel to every nation in the known world.
Another important factor which set the stage for the coming of Christ is that during that time in history, Greek was the universal language.
While every country and region spoke their own native tongue, all nations also spoke Greek. The New Testament was written in Greek so that everyone could understand the Gospel. Business and foreign relations with other countries was possible since everyone understood the language.
Unlike centuries prior, most people in the known world were able to read and write in Greek. Most street signs were written in Greek, as well as public announcements from the Romans. With everyone knowing Greek, and most people able to read and write in Greek, communication was possible so that the Gospel could spread to the ends of the earth.
The political climate was ripe for the Messiah to come. There had been Jewish revolts taking place, the most notorious being the Maccabean revolts. There was conflict over Judaism and Hellenism. The Seleucid Empire persecuted the traditional Jews and tried to eradicate their religion and religious practices altogether.
The lifestyle of the Greco-Roman world was incompatible with that of the Jews. Because the Greco-Roman influence was so heavy, the younger generation of Jews began to adopt many of the ways of the pagan culture and abandon Judaism.
The revolts were also to rebel against Roman rule over their country Israel, and the heavy taxation. Israel had been an independent nation, having had possessed the land thousands of years before. Now their nation was being taken over by Roman rule. There was tremendous upheaval and unrest.
Roman soldiers could be very brutal with citizens and everyday life posed many dangers.
A forerunner was needed to “prepare the way of the Lord” (Luke 3:4, Isaiah 40:3-5, Malachi 4:5-6). He was born six months prior to Jesus’ birth.
The fullness of time had come for the Messiah to come to earth and the stage was completely set in place.
In our own lives, sometimes the promises of God are not fulfilled until the stage has been set in place. The Lord takes us through a period of preparation. He is at work behind the scenes getting everything ready. When it is God’s timing, things begin to fall into place.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”