If you want to say something very important, you will choose your words carefully. Words have enormous power – the power of life and death – according to the book of Proverbs. The more people you want to speak to, the more carefully you will have to craft your sentences. What if you knew you wanted to speak with a global audience and create a long-lasting impact? The task would be enormous.
Some 340 years before Christ, a young genius set out on an adventure of expansion and conquest. Subduing every enemy, Alexander the Great, gradually conquered the known world. But like a swarm of insects on a hunt for nectar, he and his army also spread the pollen of the Greek language as they travelled. Like the insects who think they are serving their own purposes, Alexander’s Macedonians were taking words with them on someone else’s behalf. During the Intertestamental Period (ITP) the sophisticated, elegant and flexible language of Greek established itself as the dominant language.
Greek became the language of education, the language of art and philosophy and, crucially, the language of spirituality.
Perhaps even more significantly, Greek became the language of love, and humorous ancient satirists observed that people made love in Greek, even if they were Romans!
This language, then, spread so radically around the world, that by the time Jesus was born in Bethlehem, it was the most powerful language on earth.
The brilliance of this ingredient is multifaceted:
Firstly, it was not the imperial language, and so was not associated with oppression.
Secondly, it was the language in which new ideas could flourish, and it had been the matrix in which ideas were growing.
Thirdly, there was a massive, developed vocabulary, which already applied to matters of the soul, the heart, the spirit, and the mind. There were developed ideas of God and a vast toolkit for use in debate and dialogue. Greek had permeated every fibre, every thought and every emotion to such a degree that the way was prepared for a new arrival.
So at the end of the ITP, the living Word arrives – the Logos himself. The suitor arrives to win his bride, the hero to rescue his world, and the thinker to challenge, change, and call for radical new thinking. As he arrives, the language is there ready for all these ideas to spread.
To pull down the learning here, you will need to think both about the big picture, and personally. In the big picture you can see how God was at work at levels of national and international life to create conditions for his message of love.
On a personal level, if you are in an ‘in between’ time, part of the process for you will be to learn the language needed for the new birth which is to come. It may be the language of thought or art, which you must learn. It could be the language of education or business; it might be the language of love.
For God to spread his message, the words had to be chosen very carefully. For you to emerge from your ‘in between’ time, you will need to find the words. Thankfully God has some experience with that.
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God
14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
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