When Jesus entered the world during the first century, the Mediterranean region was in the midst of significant historic events. The Roman empire, an expansive territory ranging from North Africa to Europe and Asia, was under the “Pax Romana,” a time of relative peace among a wide variety of ethnic groups who were all under power of Rome. Some notable aspects of life under the “Pax Romana”:
- Ease of communication because most people spoke Greek.
- Ease of commerce under a common currency and because the Roman military allowed for trade between various groups.
- Ease of travel along the vast “roman roads” that were altogether more than 70,000 miles long!
Jesus also came at a time when people were looking for hope from oppression, poverty, and from disease and physical issues. When he came his life and teachings transformed many peoples’ lives! Once people started following him, they had amazing opportunity to take their stories to citizens from all over this vast empire that allowed for their message to spread like wildfire.
Are we in a similar era today?
Consider some factors today that make things ripe for news to spread around the world, instantly:
- Ease of communication as many people speak the same languages (English, Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, and French to name a few). Not to mention, think about how quickly news spreads through social media and instantaneous reporting from a variety of sources.
- Ease of commerce through trade agreements (NAFTA – North America, ASEAN – Southeast Asian, APEC – Asia Pacific, MERCOSUR – Latin America, EU – Europe). The world is connected through business and trade like never before.
- Ease of travel as literally billions of people take motorbikes, cars, trains, and planes all over the world, all the time.
We are also in an age of increasing political, religious, and economic turmoil. It feels like the pressures and tensions are continuing to rise. Is this perhaps a time when God really wants to do significant things as people yearn for political change, economic stability, and a place to put their hope?
“He is the God who made the world and everything in it…he himself gives life and breath to everything. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and determined their boundaries. His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him — though he is not far from any one of us.” (Acts 17:24a,25-27)