Lifelines December 15, 2019

His entry into this world was hardly remarkable.  No headlines greeted Him, just a string of “No Vacancy” signs.  Oh yes, there was that place over with the animals.  Let His expectant mom find a space there.  Noteworthy?  Not exactly, at least not from a human perspective.  But this was no ordinary baby.  This was the Son of God on a most extraordinary mission.

There were few clues along the way that this kid was anyone special.  How significant could a carpenter’s son possibly be?  He tipped His hand a little when He was twelve (Luke 2:41-51), but no one really understood.  His parents experienced some anxiety, and He hinted at His bigger purpose.  Life was apparently typical otherwise, and His mom cherished it all.  It would become clear to everyone in years to come.         

He stepped onto the public stage at age thirty and was nothing like the experts expected.  He was baptized by the eccentric John and was immediately in a face-to-face fight with the devil.  The tempter assaulted Him in multiple attacks but failed.  The enemy was not finished.  Rejection was swift from the covenant people of God.  It was a hostile environment for the Prince of Peace, and He persisted.  He never wavered.  He came to seek and save the lost.  The world, as unwelcoming as it may have been, needed Him.

He spoke in the language of the people, and they were amazed.  His simple lessons carried profound meaning.  Parables left the disinterested masses unimpressed and the disciples thirsty to learn more.  Commoners, sinners, tax-collectors and the rejects of “proper society” gravitated to Him to listen.  That same “proper society” criticized Him for the company that He kept.  His footprints lead in a unique direction.  A cross was on the horizon.

He ruffled the feathers of the elite.  Well, maybe that is an understatement.  The desire to kill the Son of God might be a bit more than ruffled feathers.  They joined hands with the civil establishment of the day and anger turned into action.  Mobs gathered around Him and dragged Him before the authorities.  Apostles abandoned Him.  One betrayed Him.  Another denied Him.  None stuck with Him.  Death closed in. 

He was whipped.  Mocked.  Spit upon.  Blindfolded and beaten.  A crown of thorns adorned His head.  The once-innocent baby born among the animals was now being treated like a common criminal.  Nails were driven through His flesh, and He was suffering the worst possible end to His life.  “It is finished,” was His simple declaration as He drew His last breath (John 19:30).  Mission accomplished. 

That scene is not the end of the drama.  Three days later the tomb was deserted.  No need to seek the living among the dead.  We should always remember that combination of love and power.  Love to send His Son to die for our sins.  Power to raise Him.  Amazing grace.  Awesome God.