Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Fullness of Time

"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria)" (Luke 2:1–2).

One of the things that stands out about Luke’s gospel is his meticulous care regarding historical details. The gospel account of the birth of Jesus stands in stark contrast to all the pagan religions of antiquity. The Greek gods, for instance, were all regarded as having been born of some other gods or titans, but never in history.

Biblical religion is very much concerned with time and history. The Bible tells us that God created history and has invested great importance in it. Adam and Eve fell in space-time history, and just so, the work of Christ for our salvation was wrought out in real, datable, history.

The New Testament provides us with two different words and concepts for time. The most common term is chronos, which appears in English in words like chronometer, chronicle, and chronology. The word chronos is used in the New Testament for time in its ordinary sequence, the passing of time or events.

The other word is kairos, which does not refer to the general sequential passage of time, but to significant moments in time, moments that encapsulate the meaning of a historical event and shape human destiny. In English, we distinguish between things that are historical and things that are historic. Every event is historical, but not every event is historic in the sense of being especially significant. Such special events take place in history.

In the New Testament, there is another word associated with the coming of Jesus in history, the word pleroma. This word means “fullness,” and we find it in the phrase “in the fullness of time.” It means that God had so orchestrated all of human history and development that now, at the fullness of time, He was ready to bring the most significant events of all of history to pass.

In the day-to-day chronology of our lives, certain obscure events begin to take on added significance. Christ’s birth was not recognized as historic until years later. What in your life has continued to gain significance, taking on kairos proportions, as time goes on?