When the fulness of time had come, Joshua led the Israelites in their final march around the wall of Jericho. The Bible describes that glorious moment in the following verses:
“And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.” (Joshua 6:15,16)
When the fulness of time had come, Hannah, a woman who had been infertile, gave birth to the baby boy for whom she had passionately prayed to God. First Samuel 1: 20 says, “Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.”
Similarly, another birth is recorded in Galatians 4:4,5.”But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
Ecclesiastes 3: 1 says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Eventually, the fulness of time does come. In the fulness of time, there are blessings. In the fulness of time, there are miracles! God’s work is manifest in the fulness of time. Exciting things begin to happen in the fulness of time.
My question is this: How do we wait for the fulness of time in our own lives?
Scripture tells us that even Jesus and His mother Mary struggled with waiting for the fulness of time. Luke 2: 43 says that after the passover feast, “the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.” After searching for three days, Mary and Joseph found Jesus “in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.” (v. 46) Like any mother, Mary demanded her son to tell her why he had left them. Jesus replied, “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business” (v. 49) However much Jesus, at twelve years of age, thought that He was ready to minister to the world, He “was subject unto [His parents]“. (v. 51) That same verse mentions-for the second time in the gospel of Luke-that Mary “kept all these sayings in her heart.”
Imagine the anxiety with which Mary must have lived. We know very little of what Mary thought and experienced from the moment the angel Gabriel visited her to the time of Jesus’ birth. What emotions did she feel as she waited for the fulness of her time to come, for her miraculous child to be born? Did her cousin’s husband, Zacharias, who was a priest, help her to study and understand the prophecies concerning the Messiah, who was in her womb? Did she fear being the mother to the incarnation of God? The song, “Mary, Did You Know?” asks many similar questions. We all want to know how Mary waited for the fulness of time.
More than the birth of Jesus, I want to know how Mary waited for the time in which Jesus would begin His ministry. With what dread and hope did she await His ministry? Despite any fear she may have felt, it was Mary who ordained Jesus’ ministry at the wedding in Cana.
Whereas Jesus had been impatient to begin His ministry as a child, He seemed to be more aware of His divine plan after His full maturity. When Mary informed Him that the marriage supper had no more wine, He said that it was not His time (John 2:4). However, He did perform a miracle. By submitting Himself to Mary’s authority and honoring her as His mother, Jesus began the new phase of His life-His ministry.
When Jesus’ unbelieving brothers mocked Him and told Him to flaunt His power so that the world might believe, Jesus replied, “My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.” (John 7:6) Again, we observe Jesus’ keen sense of purpose. He learned to be content in waiting for the fulness of time, but He also referred to a time which was always ready.
My interpretation of this scripture is that the time to believe on Jesus, the time to seek salvation is ready. When Jesus was speaking to His brothers, He was inviting them to believe in Him. So is Jesus waiting on us to commit our lives to Him. Jesus is still inviting us to an intimate relationship with Him. He still attends our prayers. He listens to our cries.
When we follow the plan of salvation, as explained in the book of Acts, and become alive in Christ, we are literally born into a new life. Our spiritual journey commences. However, we may have many stops along the way. There are times in our lives when we all need to stop for direction and fill ourselves with God’s Word.
For thirty years, Jesus worked, studied the holy law, and observed the Sabbath. For only three years-in the fulness of time, He accomplished the most powerful ministry that the world has ever seen! The Gospels describe many accounts in Christ’s ministry when He would withdraw from the crowds to instruct His disciples. (Matthew 24:3; Mark 3:13; Mark 9:30) There were also times when Jesus would withdraw from His own disciples to pray and rest. (Matthew 14: 22,23; Mark 6:47; Luke 5:16)
Ecclesiastes 3:7 says that there is “A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” If Jesus required rest, so do we. We cannot allow ourselves to be impatient and discouraged in our lives and ministry. Trust in God. Know that His promises to you will be fulfilled in the fulness of time!
There are times of transition in all of our lives. Sometimes we do have to resign from a church position, sit on a pew, and allow God to redirect our ministry. Sometimes we do have phases of inactivity. What should we do in those times? How do we wait on the fulness of time?
Jesus gave us the answer in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Paul instructed Timothy, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15)
If you are questioning your purpose, if you are waiting on the fulness of your time, there is something for you to do right now. Study the Bible for yourself, even if you have read the Bible ten times or twenty. Make notes. Pray for your situation, and pray on the Word that God is revealing to you. Each time you study, fast, and pray, you are filling your time.
David proclaimed, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” (Psalm 23:4,5) You may be in the valley-being poked and prodded by the rod of God. Be comforted. God has a table prepared for you. He has anointed you. He has a purpose for you. Allow Him to fill your cup.
If we fill our time with Jesus, He will propel our ministry in the fulness of time.