What Was Happening in Asia?
To the east, the Han dynasty was in power in China, but I found that during the time Jesus was actually alive and preaching, there was an unsuccessful uprising.
Time Maps describes how in 9 AD, Wang Mang seized the throne and attempted to return to “pre-imperial days, for example by vesting a new nobility with feudal powers.” The coup did not go well, and Wang Mang succeeded in angering both the ruling elites, and the peasants. The capital was overthrown by a massive peasant revolt, and Wang Mang was killed. “Order was eventually reestablished by a member of the Han imperial family, and the Han dynasty was reestablished in power in 25 CE by the emperor Guangwu,” explains Time Maps.
Under the Han dynasty, China grew and thrived until roughly 220 AD.
Further east, Korea is in the midst of the Three Kingdoms Period, which lasted from 57 BC-668 AD. World History.org explains that “The system of government of the three kingdoms was much as it would remain for the rest of the history of ancient Korea.”
And in Japan, things looked rather similar. The Yayoi period in Japan lasted from 300BC to 300AD, which means Jesus’ life and death happened smack in the middle. Similarly to Korea, World History.org explains that this period “set the foundations for what would now be known as medieval Japan … The development of clans and kingdoms as well as the class system would eventually lead to the system of daimyo, samurai, and the Chrysanthemum Throne with a line of emperors that would remain unbroken to this day.”
Daily Life in Ancient China
Education was becoming important in the Han dynasty, but only for men. Through education and difficult exams, men could climb the social ladder. However, most peasants remained illiterate and thus didn’t have access to this upward mobility.
Women had few rights in the Han dynasty, and were expected to keep up an attractive appearance; archaeologists have found many boxes of makeup and cosmetics from this time period.
Respect for the elderly and ancestor worship was also important for ancient Chinese culture, often with several generations living together under one roof.
God’s Plan for the Nations of Asia
All three of these nations are in the midst of organizing into cohesive, thriving world powers at the start of the first century. They are setting foundations that will last for hundreds, or even thousands of years. In the next few decades after Jesus’ resurrection, religions like Confucianism will start to spread and take hold in China.
It would be quite a while before Christianity came to Asia, but God’s plan for salvation is far-reaching. He knew that they needed a Savior, and Jesus knew His mission was for them too.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/IoanaCatalinaE