As I contemplate the story of our Creator coming to our world as Jesus the Saviour more than 2,000 years ago, I stand amazed.
First of all, it was a well-planned event, predicted by a number of specific Old Testament prophecies. Secondly, God had carefully chosen a nation to whom He revealed His plan and through whom it would be realized. Thirdly, I am amazed at the ignorance, misinformation and indifference of most of them. Fourthly, God’s plan would go through whether there was general interest or not.
Fifthly, what amazes me is God’s choice of people whom He involved.
Text from 2 Chronicles 16:9 comes to my mind: “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” This choice is already seen in preparing Christ’s forerunner John the Baptist for whose parents God chose a childless old couple: an ordinary priest Zacharias and his barren wife Elizabeth.
Next step involves a teenager, Mary, from a proverbially infamous small town of Nazareth and her older husband-to-be, Joseph, a common blue collar worker – a carpenter and likely a widower with a bunch of kids already to support – both of them a rather poor individuals.
When Jesus is born in Bethlehem in the stable, as there is “no room for Him” anywhere, the announcement comes to hired low class workers – the smelly shepherds. They become the first carriers of the “good news”. Next a group of heathen philosophers from a nation who were traditional enemies of Israel rolls into Jerusalem looking for the Saviour King of the world. They shock the city and those in both political and religious power.
Then there’s the dedication of Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem: The aged Simeon in a weird-like style takes baby Jesus out of shocked parents’ arms and under the Spirit’s inspiration confirms Jesus as the Messiah and prophecies of a rough road ahead. Still shocked, another unusual figure appears – a very old prophetess Anna who again confirms the baby as Israel’s Messiah and then she shares the “good news” to all who were open to God in Jerusalem.
God’s choices of people don’t make sense to our human logic. Why did God bypass the religious elite, the influential, the self-sufficient and famous? I have found the answer in Mary’s expression of praise in Luke 1:46–54: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is for those who have reverence of Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He promised to our fathers…”
God, whose key character trait is humility, looks for such kind of people. “The Christmas story” has a lesson for you and me: How would God evaluate our character and life? When looking for individuals to fulfill His purpose in our times, would He choose you or me or pass us by?
Karel Samek is pastor of the Ashcroft 7th Day Adventist Church. The congregation meets every Saturday morning in the Ashcroft Community Hall. Visit the church online at: http://ashcroft22.adventistchurchconnect.org/