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The Grand Introduction Falls Flat

28 May
from Google Images

from Google Images

When the Son of God entered our world, the birth announcement went out from heaven in the form of a multitude of angels, singing of the glory of God (Luke 2:13-14), but have you noticed to whom the heavenly announcement went out?[1] It was to shepherds in the fields of Judea (Luke 2:8-12). At first it seems Jesus’ birth is to be a big splash, but one would hardly send out invitations to men of questionable character and smelled of sheep! On top of all this they are told the Ruler of the universe, the Messiah, was born in a barn. A barn! That might be a good place for the shepherds to stay the night, but the Son of God?

People, even royalty, don’t get to choose their birthplace, but God knew far in advance that Bethlehem would be the place of Jesus’ birth. Why Bethlehem? It certainly isn’t a large place, but it was the city of David, Israel’s first great king (1Samuel 17:12). Nevertheless, even a tiny village like Bethlehem should have been able to provide better accommodations for the Messiah to be born than a stable. Yet, Joseph and Mary found no room in the inn—which was probably a local synagogue that accommodated an overflow of visitors to Jerusalem, especially during the great annual festivals. Jesus’ birth no doubt coincided with season of the Feast of Tabernacles when Judea flexed to embrace pilgrims from all over the world returning to Jerusalem to worship God. These pilgrims found room, but Jesus was offered a manger—a feeding trough for animals. There Mary lay the Manna from heaven (cp. John 6:53-58).

Similarly, when the time was fulfilled, the Angel of the Lord came to Mary announcing she had been chosen by God as a vessel through whom Israel’s Messiah would be born (Luke 1:30-31). The problem was that Mary wasn’t yet married and questioned how this could be done. The Angel told her it would be done through the power of God (Luke 1:34-35). A miracle-baby to be sure, but try to explain this to family and friends! Who would believe it? No one did, not even Joseph, Mary’s espoused husband. It took another heavenly birth announcement in the form of a dream to convince him that Mary was telling the truth (cp. Matthew 1:18-24). Imagine the whispering going on in Nazareth! Imagine the not-so-quiet accusations against both Mary and Joseph. Imagine what Jesus had to endure from his enemies! Do you think the memory of his birth was forgotten? Not at all, for the Pharisees brought it up in John 8:41. The “we” in the text is emphasized, implying that Jesus was born of fornication.

Yet, all this was part of the plan of God. If God could choose the time, place and circumstances of Jesus’ birth, why would he want to do it in the manner in which it is described in the New Testament? Surely, Almighty God could do better than this. Actually, no, he couldn’t. The fact is that God’s power is made perfect in weakness (2Corinthians 12:9). The grace of God is sufficient for the occasion. If God could succeed to perform his will under such limiting circumstances, then his Almighty power would be even more evident when all is fulfilled.

I am reminded at this point of the experience of Elijah when Jezebel sought his life (1Kings 19:9-13). Elijah came to a cave to meet with the Lord, and the Lord caused a violent storm to pass before him that was so powerful that it broke up the mountains, and after the storm an earthquake and after that powerful bolt of lightning, but God wasn’t in any of these powerful displays of the forces of nature, which the Lord caused. Then Elijah heard a still small voice, and he found God was in that gentle soft whisper.

God Almighty could have come to us through powerful, intimidating and awesome means, but mankind would fear him and run. Rather Almighty God came to us in the form of a babe, clothed in flesh, just like one of us. Who is afraid of a newborn baby? A baby is someone to whom we draw near, as we do to someone when we wish to hear a whisper (cp. 1Kings 19:12-13). I am not overcome by the power of God, but rather through his weakness in the person of Jesus (1Corinthians 1:25). He made himself vulnerable so I could feel comfortable in his presence, and I do!

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[1] As I said HERE, this current theme about the person of Jesus is based upon the book: The Jesus Style by Gayle Erwin. They are my thoughts about his book. He may or may not agree with the impression his book has made upon me, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading what Gayle wrote and recommend his book to anyone who is looking for a good read about Jesus.

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Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Jesus

 

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