Why did Jesus come to earth when he did? Why not immediately
after Adam and Eve sinned? Wouldn’t that have saved the
world from centuries of pain? Or, why didn’t he come to
the slaves in Egypt instead of sending Moses? Or, why not
now? Why didn’t God choose to appear on earth to our
confused, depressed, decadent Western World? Why then and
why not now?
Scripture says, “When the right time came,
God sent his Son” (Gal.4:4); elsewhere it reads, “While
we were still weak, at the right time Christ
died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6). The Bible says God
figured out that the perfect time—the exact right time
in all of history for all of humanity— to appear on
earth. And it was two thousand years ago. Why then?
I can imagine a few better times. How about when “each
man did what was right in his own eyes;” or the centuries
of worshiping idols in the “high places;” or during
those same times when the wealthy oppressed the poor,
widows, and orphans? Why not then?
Or what about when brutal Assyria and Babylon
cold-bloodedly conquered, pillaged, and raped God’s
chosen people, when enemies dashed their little ones
against stones? Why not then?
Instead Jesus came when God’s people were the most
righteous they’d ever been in their two thousand year
history: there was no hint of any idolatry, the
Scriptures were taught in every synagogue, and temple
worship was practiced exactly as taught by the Bible.
Of all the evil and needy times in the history of God’s
people, why was that the right time?
The two lives
Each of us lives two lives: we inhabit the husk of
outer life that everyone sees, and we occupy an inner
life known only to us. Remember the little boy Jimmy?
His mother commands him, “Sit down;” she counts, “One …
two … three ….” And the boy sits. Then he declares, “I
may be sitting down on the outside, but I’m still
standing up on the inside.”
On the outside you and I smile and proclaim our faith
in God’s love. On the inside we are angry, easily hurt,
or just confused. On the outside we succeed at work or
raise obedient kids; on the inside we are driven by
hidden, inner motivations of fear, need for recognition,
childhood wounding, or a compulsion to prove that our
Ever since the time of Adam and Eve, God commanded his
people, Sit down!—“Don’t eat from that tree .
. . Don’t commit adultery . . . Have no other gods
before me”—and for centuries the people of God remained
standing up: worshiping idols, oppressing the poor, and
relying on their culture’s answers instead of God’s
During the Roman occupation, God’s people finally sat
down. But they continued standing up on the inside.
Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures because you
think that in them you find eternal life; but they
point to me” (John 5:39). The Jews in the time of
Jesus finally wanted to obey. They sifted through every
chapter, paragraph, and word of the Bible, hunting for
one more way to sit down. Jesus said they missed its
most vital message.
The last idol ever yielded on the altar of God is the
surrender our inner-selves.
Instead of renouncing inner-idols, we modern believers
still obsess on behavior. We search the Scriptures for
one more way we can perform, to prove our goodness, to boost our self-esteem, or
to increase our self-acceptance.
Or we read every book we can find on parenting, church
leadership, marriage communication, or therapy.
God says our final act of worship is to sacrifice any
and all of our inner-doing.
That’s why Jesus pushed so hard in his Sermon on the
Mount. Our problem is not just external adultery, it’s
our inner lust; it’s not just murder on the outside,
it’s our inner ridicule of others. Adultery and ridicule
(inner and outer) are living evidence of our
Our real life is in inner life. That is where we live.
Our outer life is aluminum siding. Jesus came at the
exact right time in history—when virtually everyone had
re-sided their homes—he came to redecorate our
The God of all creation broke through time and
space—spirituality and physicality—to save us. But to
save us for what? The incarnate Son of God came to earth
to redeem our lives from slavery to hell on
earth (and beyond). But to redeems us for
He didn’t endure all that merely to make good little
boys and girls who sit down.
Adam and Eve walked and talked with God in the cool of
the garden. Their internal and external rebellion
severed that conversation with God. Jesus saved us so
that we once again can walk and talk with him.
Christianity is not about being goody-two shoes on the
outside; it’s about having a restored conversational
relationship with God. It’s not just about sitting down
to feed our inner and outer egos, it’s about sitting
down for a cup of coffee with God and re-learning to
So why not now?
Okay, so why not now? Why didn’t Jesus come and teach
that inner lesson here and now, today? He did and he
does. Our real life is our inner life not our outer
husk, it’s the part no one sees but it’s where we live.
It’s in the hidden parts of our lives that we really
That’s where Jesus comes today. He really does come
now. He saved us so that we can walk and talk with him
in our inner being; so we can hear his voice there just
as he hears our voices. Our lives are now hid with
Christ, and in our inner lives with him, we talk.
Jesus calls to each of us, here, today, right now: Walk