Unless you work in retail sales, you may think it is too early to focus on Christmas, but is it?
A long time ago, God promised people that He would send a Messiah. People waited for years, centuries, and millennia before the Messiah arrived. When He arrived, very few were aware of it – just a few local shepherds and some astrologers from a distant land. When the Jewish King Herod found out, his response was to have every male child less than three years old murdered in an attempt to destroy the Messiah.
Jesus kept a low profile, working as a tekton—a day laborer, working in construction. Like many of us, He was in a routine, and may not have realized when it was time to begin his ministry. His mother nudged Him forward by asking Him to help out with the wine at the Marriage Feast at Cana. Somehow, mothers have an uncanny ability to sense what their children need.
So, after waiting for so long, many of the Chosen People living in the Promised Land did not embrace Him and his teaching. These were the priests, scribes, and Levites, who studied scripture and had all the clues of His coming right in front of them. Many of these followed the letter of every law, prayed frequently, and tithed. Perhaps they believed that they neither needed nor wanted a Messiah—things were just fine the way they were.
Instead, it was common people like fishermen who dropped what they were doing to follow Him. Then there were the outcasts—tax collectors, prostitutes, the deaf, blind, lame, and lepers; there were Gentiles, including the most despised Samaritans. They didn’t yet know that He was the Messiah, but the knew that he spoke wisdom and truth.
The leaders saw Him, not as the Messiah but as a threat and sought to ensure His ruin. They tried to make a fool of Him by asking tricky questions. They tried to push Him off a cliff. Eventually, they held a kangaroo court in the middle of the night, which was against their own laws. They convinced the Roman governor to have Jesus beaten and killed in the most horrific, painful, and humiliating way.
Many of you reading this are thinking, “Everybody knows this!”
Now, look around. How many of the same things are occurring today? How many leaders today are like the leaders in Jesus’ time? How many of us are? How often do we see His ideas cast aside or even ridiculed?
As Christmas approaches, I plan to try to focus on Jesus as a promise kept from God Himself.