From before the earth ever existed, God had a plan to redeem the people He knew would sin before He even created them. The idea that he has been setting the stage for Jesus to come hits my heart and reemphasizes how much He truly loves us.
But one thing has always intrigued me, even as a child: Why did God choose the exact moment He did to send Jesus to the cross?
Why didn’t God send Jesus sooner?
Like, immediately after Adam and Eve were kicked out of Eden?
If Jesus had just arrived on the scene without any forewarning, would anyone have believed him to be the Son of the living God? Many had a difficult time with that already. But because God set the stage for Jesus’ coming, He could point back and say, “Yes, indeed this is me! I am the Messiah, the One you have been waiting for. I AM the One the I AM was talking about!”
Why didn’t God wait longer?
Can you imagine if Jesus showed up today? I think we would all be so distracted by celebrity “X” or our phones that we wouldn’t even look up and notice the miracles he performed. Or Jesus would perform a miracle and people would claim it was only special effects or computer-generated.
Obviously, I don’t claim to know the answer to this question. It is one I have on my list to ask God when I get to heaven. But as I’ve studied the Scriptures more, I am constantly in awe of how God’s timing works and I’ve noticed so many wonderful events that set the stage for Jesus’s first coming!
Peter’s and Paul’s Explanations
In 1 Peter 1, the apostle Peter writes:
He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
1 Peter 1:20
And in Acts, Luke records Paul’s words:
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.
God was setting the stage for your sake!
God planned out everything in this way so that YOU and I would seek him!
What stuns me is what a methodical planner God is. Seeing how he works through the smallest details just puts me even more in awe of Him. He takes his time, lays out ALL the necessary elements for THE perfect entrance into the world and THE perfect time for Christ’s death and resurrection.
God’s Word shows it all through:
- The Prophecies
- The Prophets
- The Parallels
God knew that many would claim to be the Messiah. It seems like He wanted there to be no doubt as to whom the chosen Messiah actually was. He clearly told John to look for the One who has a dove come down on him:
Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”
I’ve read the Old Testament many times, so I have read all the things that the prophets had done. But for the first time ever, I started seeing how God used all the miracles done by previous prophets to prepare people for the Messiah and to cement the fact that Jesus was who he claimed to be. I sat in amazement.
It was almost as if God was slowly over centuries building trust in His people, so that they could look back at the Scriptures and verify God did indeed work in this way. God did use prophets to perform miracles like this in the past and now here is One, the Messiah, who doesn’t perform just a few miracles but is able to do all these things that have been done and so much more!
Here are a few examples:
Like the prophets of the past, Jesus:
- Turned water, a life source, into something else.
- Commanded the waters.
- Raised people from the dead.
- Turned a small amount of food into enough.
- God provided manna and quail when there was nothing else in the desert wilderness.
- Elijah told the widow at Zarephath to use the oil and flour she had left to make a small cake and she was able to feed her family and Elijah for a long time
- Elisha took 20 loaves of bread and some heads of new grain and fed 100
- Jesus on different occasions fed many with a little food. He took two fish and five loaves and fed 5000 and seven loaves and a few fish to feed 4000.
- Healed lepers
- Brought things up out of the water
- Raised after three days
Greater than Any Prophet
God wanted his people to know that his son was greater than Moses and Elijah, the greatest prophets, and all the other prophets. He did this by allowing a few of the apostles to see Jesus speaking with Elijah and Moses and then declared Jesus greater than them!
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
Yes, indeed Jesus was not the first to heal people or even raise them from the dead, but He was the only one who did ALL of these things and so much more. Jesus also cast out demons, made the blind see, and ultimately FREED us from the chains of death for all eternity! He fulfilled prophecies to show himself the One that they’ve been waiting for:
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
There are many beautiful parallels in the Old and New Testaments. The one that stands out to me the most is the parallel between God sending a rescuer to deliver his people from slavery in Egypt and sending the ultimate rescuer to deliver humanity from the slavery of sin.
When the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, they waited for the prophesied rescuer to come. 400 years later, he came in the form of a baby, born in a time when baby boys were being killed. He was hidden away and raised in a way that the people did not expect. When he came in the name of the Lord to lead them, it took miracles and God confirmed that Moses was indeed the chosen leader. Not only did Moses, through the power of God deliver the people from slavery, he:
- used the blood of the lamb to protect them,
- went through the waters of baptism in the Red Sea,
- fasted for 40 days while God sustained him,
- brought God’s teachings to the people, and
- led them to the Promised Land.
And finally, God took care of him in death.
Much like someone else the Israelites were waiting for so many years later….
Four hundred years passed between the last Old Testament book and the first New Testament book. The Israelites were waiting for the Messiah. Their rescuer also came as a baby, whose life soon became endangered because Herod demanded the death of all baby boys under age two. He too was hidden away and raised in a way the people did not expect. When he came, it took miracles and God to confirm that yes, Jesus was the Messiah, the chosen one!
Not only was Jesus baptized even though he was sinless, he fasted for 40 days while God sustained him. He more thoroughly explained God’s teachings to the people. And he rescued and delivered people from the slavery of sin and death with his own blood, the blood of the lamb. Now he is preparing a place for all who believe in Him. And one day he will lead us to the Promised Land! And finally, in life, death, and in resurrection God took care of him.
The Bible is so full of amazing details that lead back to God’s perfect timing! Delve into the scriptures for yourself. See how God set the stage from the beginning for everything to happen at the right time for your sake!