Read Luke 2:1-6.
The Romans were conquering warriors. By Jesus’ birth, they had conquered most of the Mediterranean rim. Their rule would venture much farther as the years passed. While they were ruthless on the battlefield as well as towards dissidents, they brought many improvements to living. Their introduction of a common language and roads opened borders to commerce and safer travel, and their strong military presence brought peace to those who chose to live within their rules. Pax Romana was prevalent in this portion of the known world.
With all the good things that the Romans introduced to the world, there were others they introduced that weren’t so good. Perhaps one of the most destructive, from a spiritual perspective, was their pantheon of gods, along with the manner of worship of their gods. All forms of decadence imaginable were in play. All manner of evil behavior, some of which would be deplored even today, were practiced.
This period in history, where peace and cruelty walked hand in hand, seemed ripe for a redeemer. The days were dark and the nights darker. The way was being prepared, and the Jewish people were ready for Messiah. They’d endured hardship for many hundreds of years. The people of Israel yearned for delivery from persecution and they looked expectedly for the promised freedom. During this nexus of good and evil, the fullness of time was coming. God was preparing his people, for the arrival of their Savior, Redeemer, Brother, and Lord.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
As you think about how Jesus, the Messiah, came at a an opportune time in Israel and the world’s history, relate it to your own life. When you responded to the Gospel for the first time how was your heart and mind specifically ready? How is your heart and mind ready today to enter into this Advent season and receive the fullness of Jesus this Christmas?
By Rich Obrecht