It was a mess. A world of division, compromise, corruption, and religiously followed traditions and rituals detached from roots of love and relationship. A hodge-podge of imperfect plans by imperfect people.
Tyrants, sycophants, miscreants, occupants,
masters, slaves, overlords, conscripts,
builders, destroyers, collaborators, rebels,
haves, have-nots, hopeful, hopeless.
This was the society Jesus was born into, because the time was right.
As they had many times before, the people not in control cried out for a saviour. They wanted freedom from the will of Roman conquerors. God sent them a saviour, but not to free them from man-made power ploys gone astray. He sent them Someone who could save them from something much more enslaving – their own sin.
As he had done before, he sent his answer in a form few recognized. He sent his son who set aside his godhood to live as a human. He sent a baby.
I often wonder why he chooses the weak of the world to confound the wise. Why does God frequently skip the well-bred, the educated, the credentialed, and those endowed with position and privilege when he wants to turn the tides of history? More than once people have said, “This can’t possibly be from God!” More than once they have been wrong.
“I see your plight,” he said. “This is my response.”
Then he sent a wanderer and his half-sister wife,
a wheeler dealer opportunist,
an insensitive spoiled brat turned slave turned foreign government official,
a stammering old man with a stick,
a stern mother,
a slave bride with a hammer and tent peg,
a scared unimportant farmer from a long line of scared unimportant farmers,
a lewd, crude, rule-breaking strongman,
a boy raised in a temple with a weak mentor and drunken, corrupt priests as companions,
a shepherd with a slingshot,
a runner given to depression,
a reckless prince with a bad driving record,
a left-handed messenger with a knife up his skirt,
a bizarre performance artist,
a beauty pageant queen who slept her way to influence,
a child king with clueless teachers,
a eunuch in service to a despot,
a choir director,
For the greatest mission of all time he introduced the bearer of his heart as a helpless baby. A baby. A baby who so terrified the principalities and powers who knew their time would soon be up, that Herod killed every child close to fitting the toddler’s description.
Not even the ancient prophets who each told bits and pieces of the truth they held could see the entirety of God’s plan. Jesus gradually explained it, to those who could listen, over three years. Many heard and believed. Many did not. Before his death and resurrection the book of John tells us the Messiah spoke plainly to the credentialed experts whose education put limits on their understanding.
I tell you the truth; I AM before Abraham was born. (John 8:58 The Voice)
We are subject to change. He is not.
Trust him. He created the plan. Keep your eyes on Abba. Expect the unexpected.
When the right time arrived, God sent His Son into this world (born of a woman, subject to the law) to free those who, just like Him, were subject to the law. Ultimately He wanted us all to be adopted as sons and daughters. Because you are now part of God’s family, He sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts; and the Spirit calls out, “Abba, Father.” You no longer have to live as a slave because you are a child of God. And since you are His child, God guarantees an inheritance is waiting for you.