“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.” Galatians 4:4 (NKJ)
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Mark 1:14-15 (ESV)
Time, like the rest of the environment in which we operate, has been ordered and designed by God (Acts 17:28). Christ’s arrival on the human scene marked a significant moment in time. Not only was all history reinterpreted by that moment, but time itself became redefined. We continue our series “Redeeming the Time” examining how God’s time translates into our current life plan.
“Once upon a time.” This is the opening line of many fables and children’s fairy tales. “Once upon a time” is used to move its reader to a specific time and place where heroes (or heroines) are introduced. In our two scriptural texts, time is used to introduce Jesus Christ into the story of humanity. However, Jesus’ arrival was not fantasy but a historical fact resulting in the offer of salvation until the end of time to “whomsoever would believe” (John 3:16).
Galatians speaks of Jesus’ arrival as in the “fullness of time.” This time (chronos) describes a space of time. Here, the Apostle Paul uses time to describe the space of time in history that was vital in the preparation for Jesus Christ’s entrance into the world. From a human viewpoint, these times hallmarked the continual saga of empires battling for power and control, but “it is amazing how God utilizes history to work out His purpose.” Each change in world domination further prepared the way for the spread of the Good News to the world. These political and social changes, filled with injustice, carnage and destruction, also prepared the hearts of both Jews and Gentiles, to receive the messianic message of hope and love that Jesus would offer (Luke 4:18-20).
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus’ entrance signified that “time was fulfilled.” Time (kairos) in this context, represents the significance of a specific moment; in this instance, the appointed time in the purpose of God. John the Baptist had been arrested and it was the appointed time in the purpose of God for Jesus to begin His public ministry. There was a distinctive note in Jesus’ proclamation that God’s appointed time of preparation and expectation, the Old Testament era, now stood fulfilled in Him. God’s kingdom, with its authority, activities and benefits (Eph. 3:16-20) had arrived in Jesus. It was now “karios time” to deliver the “good news” that Emmanuel (“God with us”) had arrived to bring “redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).
Let’s now move the time clock to the 21st century. Jesus’ entrance from eternity into time provides us an opportunity to confront the reality of God in our daily life and to decide how we will respond to Him. Are we living in God’s “karios time”? How has God used the “space on time” in which we now live to prepare us for proclaiming the arrival of the Kingdom of God? We have the option to respond to God in love and obedience or with disregard and defiance.
Our experiences in and with time may be troubling or peaceful. The important point is that our personal life has great significance and eternal value to God. Let us daily examine how we invest our time to insure we are living in the kingdom of God’s sovereign rule. We now live in an “acceptable time”—a time of God’s love and grace (Is. 49:8).
SELAH: Examine how you spend time with God. For one week log the time you “intentionally” spend in worship, prayer, and reading/meditating on God’s Word. This represents your “chronos time”—time in preparation for Jesus to enter your personal space or world. During that time, ask Jesus to share with you what His purpose is for your life in this specific moment—your “karios time”.