In his book Person of Interest, detective J. Warner Wallace highlights how many political, practical, and linguistic factors came together to maximize the impact and influence of Jesus on the world at that specific time in history.
At the pinnacle of Roman Rule, vast areas “were unified under the same economic, military, and linguistic systems.”* The so-called Roman Peace (“Pax Romana”) lasted for a period which “allowed Jews living in cities like Jerusalem to retain their culture and customs,” so long as they paid the right taxes.*
This created a specific window for Jesus’ ministry and the spread of his message. This was helped by Roman infrastructure and roads which were developed by 100 BC.
Further, once the Empire adopted a certain alphabet, common language, and the widespread use of papyrus for writing, the message of Jesus could “be effectively communicated with a shared language and letters.”*
So, in his perfect timing God sent the long-awaited Messiah as the world’s help and hope. This was confirmed by a number of significant Old Testament prophecies, and he did so at the exact right time in a way which maximized his impact.
What does all this mean for you?
Among other things, it means that our everlasting and eternally-wise God is working for his good purposes in massive ways and in ways beyond our immediate sightlines! It’s called providence.
I think this should encourage you. You may not know what is happening behind the scenes (but God does). You may not see all the moving pieces (but God does). You may not know how the future is coming together (but God does).
“Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established” (Proverbs 16:3).
Believing in providence is like knowing God is the Master Architect even when you keep hitting your thumb with the hammer.
Our God is at work. Trust him. Trust his word. And trust the footsteps of Jesus, even as you follow them through a fog or into a mist.
—NOTICE. I am away on retreat this coming week. So The Up Devotional will go on pause, resuming on June 20, 2022. For back issues visit here. You can also subscribe to the podcast version by searching for it on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher. All those direct links can be found here.
–*J. Warner Wallace, Person of Interest: Why Jesus Still Matters in a World That Rejects the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2021), 15, 16, 13.
–You can learn more about Wallace’s book, Person of Interest, on his website here.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.