Do You Really Think They Had Him All Figured Out?
‘Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”’ (Luke 2:11-14, NIV)
Most of the time, just by first glance we think that we have someone all figured out. In our own minds, we convince ourselves that we are intelligent enough to see right through a person even when we know so little about them. When we do that, we often miss out on a great opportunity to challenge ourselves or experience a great friendship. I think we can all pinpoint one person in our lives that we thought we had all figured at first, but once we got to know them, they were completely different than we thought. This is what the people of Jesus’ day and age did from the day he was born to the day they thought they silenced Him for good. Unfortunately, due to the pride, judgement, and pettiness of people, they never got to develop a relationship with
Jesus that would have satisfied and changed them forever.
So 2,017 years ago, the world was introduced to a baby swaddled in cloth, who was supposedly going to be the savior of the world. From the first moment, they all made their own assumptions. They initially jumped to conclusions which– if we are being honest– we often do ourselves, right? Herod wanted to kill Him because he thought Jesus would steal his job. The pharisees and sadducees wanted to defame Him so that they could maintain religious control. For those that wrote Jesus off as a phony, Jesus didn’t only prove them wrong, he showed them just how strong the love of God is to the point that death itself was defeated. All of this was accomplished by the baby born in a shack that we celebrate each December, and yet, we underestimate Him time and time again.
This baby that we read about goes on to be the Messiah that would save generations of people. He is King over all nations and hearts. He laid His life down in complete humility and obedience to God the Father. His glory is unfathomable and everything He is can’t be comprehended in the slightest by the most intelligent of people. He is everything that we need and everything that we don’t deserve. He is all of these things, yet He is the most selfless man that has ever walked this earth. He was and is the son of God and He could have had anything He desired. He could have used is power for His own pleasure, but He used it only with the intention to stir our hearts and save our souls. He could have chosen to be born anywhere, yet He chose to be born in a old barn in Bethlehem full of nothing pristine or extravagant.
In His first introduction to this world, Jesus didn’t give himself praise or put Himself on a throne. He didn't believe in pedestals, which we often put ourselves on. Jesus’ whole approach to capturing our hearts while he was here on earth was– and still is– through complete selflessness. This selfless man pushed the limits in a amazing way and actually redefined what the limits are.
Have you really allowed yourself to know Jesus fully or are you still holding tightly onto your own knowledge and comfortability? This Christmas season, are you leaning upon your assumptions about who you think Jesus is to avoid what you think will be humiliation? Do you care about your own self image more than you do about the God that was literally born on this earth just to give up His life in the most brutal way to save you, purely through the motivation of love?
This holiday is about celebrating Jesus and all that He has done and continues to do for us, but it is also about getting in touch about who Jesus is to you. It’s time to examine if you are really letting him envelop every part of your life or if you are making your own misconceptions about just how amazing He is.
In Acts 5, we see how the people of Israel had made their misconceptions about who Jesus was and as the disciples shared the news of what He did, they faced great opposition. They almost lost their lives when the religious authorities of the time had heard enough talk of Jesus being the savior. It was then that one of the Pharisees, Gamaliel, stop letting his own knowledge govern him and submitted to the truth of God.
‘“So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!” The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go.’ (Acts 5:38-40, NLT)
He tells the authorities that every other time there was a false prophet or a fake teacher of scripture, God took care of him, and if Jesus wasn’t the Savior, God would do the same with Him and His disciples, too. Gamaliel saved the lives of the disciples, but it’s here that we see just how deep some people can be in their own perception of wisdom and knowledge.
We tend to convince ourselves that we have our whole lives planned out and our own knowledge is completely reliable. The truth is, by not letting go of our own pride and ego we are missing out on some of the most beautiful things. The first being falling in love with the one who lived the most selfless life and walked the hardest of paths in complete and utter perfection.
We forget that He chose poverty. He chose to live among His people and in the midst of their struggles. Take a moment and really focus in on that baby laying in a manger, wrapped in cloths. He was born in a dirt-floor stable, with a handful of animals looking on, providing a barnyard lullaby for His first night on Earth. He was the son of a carpenter, born in a town that wasn’t particularly special in any way.
They thought they had him all figured out even before he took his first breath, but then He healed the sick and emotionally wounded, He loved the unlovable, and He called the unqualified. He taught this world just what it is to love humbly and selflessly. So do you want to hold onto your knowledge and protect your own pride or do you want to grow to know the lover of your soul and be immersed in his limitless love and gentleness? He could have chosen luxury and comfort, but He chose Mary, and that old barn, and He chose you.
So what’s holding you back from choosing Him for who He really is?
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