The unexpected

December 2014

Christmas is a story of the unexpected.

Think about it. An engaged teenage girl becomes pregnant. Her devout Jewish husband chooses not to divorce her. The Roman government dictates they must travel late in the pregnancy. Her baby is born surrounded by barn animals.

Oh, and that baby was the Christ, the anticipated Messiah of Israel.

The wise men traveled hundreds of miles to follow a star, which led them first to Jerusalem. Somehow they knew they were searching for the King of the Jews, and they brought their search to Jerusalem.

Everyone in Jerusalem was troubled at the purpose of their journey.

Surely word spread to all in Jerusalem, including the chief priests and scribes. They knew the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. Yet the word of the potential Messiah was not enough to cause these “head Jews” to follow the wise men to the child

Why? Because their expectations had them looking elsewhere.

Scripture clearly stated the prophecies concerning the Messiah, yet tradition built on to what Scripture declared. Tradition said the Messiah would come as a political revolutionary, not as a newborn child. Their expectations were not met, and they missed Jesus.

Too often we create our own version of Jesus. Scripture paints a clear picture of Jesus, but we prefer to make additions to this picture. Eventually we get a version of Jesus that is grossly inaccurate, and we miss Jesus.

Advent is a season of waiting; we look back to the first arrival of Jesus, and we anticipate the second coming of Jesus. As we prepare for the return of Christ as the true conquering king, let us look for the Jesus of Scripture. Let the Jesus we seek and worship be the true Jesus of the Bible.

May we not miss Jesus this Christmas.

“’But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” –Matthew 12:1-11