“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”
A long time ago, a baby boy was born to two loving parents. They brought him up in a stable and loving home, the boy grew in maturity and stature. Then one day by chance he stumbled upon the man who everyone was talking about as a crazy man shouting something about God in the wilderness. To his disbelief, John the Baptist called him and said that he must be baptised. Not wanting to seem scared in front of the crowds, he slowly trod into the water of the Jordan River. Out of nowhere, like the one hundredth shopper of the day wins a prize, the Holy Spirit came upon the man and this voice from heaven called out, “This is now my Son. How convenient, he is the right age, and seems to be a great moral man.”
How awful would it be if this was the story of our Messiah? Where would our hope be? What kind of a diluted salvation would we be hoping in? Such a vast expanse lies between this story and the account of our Christ in the Bible.
Paul tells us that, “at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Jesus was not a convenient find. He was the eternal second person of the Trinity, God the Son, coming down to earth at the right time.
– At the right time being when humans “were still weak” and “ungodly” – a moral weakness, not physical weakness. Left to our own actions, we cannot be saved for we cannot obtain perfection. Paul argues, which my conscious agrees with, that humanity is quite powerless to help ourselves, but God’s love triumphed where human power failed.
At the right time is a time that fitted God’s purpose. One side of the coin here is God’s will which is perfect and we can partly know but fully trust. This right time in God’s purpose, therefore, Jesus was not an afterthought. Paul tells the Ephesians that they were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.
The other side is to be able to look back and see the remarkable historical and graphical realities of the time of Jesus that cry out “right time!” One is that Rome was the leading empire, their borders were volatile, but inside the empire travel was easy and safe, there was religious freedom and there was a common language.
The first coming of Jesus was no simple lucky occurrence. It was the preordained action of a living and active God who loves, who seeks and saves, who is for eternity personally involved in his creation.
Jesus is the saviour of the world.
During this time of Lent, in which Lent is intended to be a time of self-denial, moderation, fasting, and the forsaking of sinful activities and habits, what are we going to take on or take off in living for our Saviour?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you. I come before you as a person forever in need of our loving grace. May you grant me discernment and discipline to live for you today. Amen