Skip to main content

Jesus of the Palace...Jesus of the Manger

Last Sunday as I prepared to speak to some four thousand believers in Bujumbura, Burundi on the significance of Christmas, I was captivated by Luke's narration of the birth of Jesus Christ. In his narrative in the second chapter, he begins by laying out the historical context. Augustus was the Ceasar. Quirinius was the governor of Syria. What captivated me is the placing of these great historical figures and their assumed political power and wealth juxtaposition Joseph, a descentant of King David, by birthright a king, but dwelling in poverty and obscurity. Similarly Jesus, being divine royalty, is born in a manger.
Why didn't God in His sovereignty orchestrate things so that Jesus is born in Ceasar's palace rather than in a manger? If not in Ceasar's palace, why not orchestrate things so that Jesus is born in Quirinius' palace in Syria? The location of the birth of Jesus Christ, in a manger rather than in a palace, is obviously consistent with His entire mission. Firstly, being God, He became man so that He may save humanity from their sin. He did not come in His divine form but rather in human form. He did not come to dwell with the powerful and the connected. He came for the poor and the disconnected. The choice of a manger rather than a palace speaks of God's strategic bottom-up approach to human societal transformation. Joseph, Jesus' earthly father, was a king without a palace or political power. He was of the lineage of King David, yet he could not marshall enough recognition to secure a better place for the birth of Prince Jesus. He was a king without privilege or prefferement.
How contrary this is to our modern kings (leaders) who demand privilege and prefferement. How different it is from todays celebrity culture! Jesus' own poverty at birth speaks to the poor in spirit that are blessed at His inaugural address, "Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs' is the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matt 5:2). Whereas the proud and the arrogant exclude themselves from the mercy and favor of God, the poor, the needy and the humble are invited. Finally, the unimpressive location of the birth of Jesus Christ speaks to those who are down-trodden that all things are possible for them who believe. God, in sending His Son to be born to poor peasants, did not leave out the influential and powerful. He sent the magi from the east laden with gifts. They were rich, yes, but they were also humble enough to obey God. Clearly, God's vision is not to rid the world of people who are doing well. Rather, it is to elevate all people to embrace true joy and salvation. In Christ, the poor and the rich are all included as part of His salvific mission. Granted they acknowledge their poverty of soul. Rather than God's salvation being one dimentional, it is a holistic salvation. The coming of Jesus calls all to arise from their place of complency and mediocrity and to embrace the New Life full of hope and meaning. God with us, Immanuel, means that nothing is impossible. With God, all things are possible to them who believe.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

No Room in the Inn...21st Century Version

It is the Christmas season 2009.  Like Joseph and Mary 2000 years ago, a young couple are on the virge of the birth of their first baby boy.  Although they are doing everything to prepare for the big day, it still catches them by surprise.  Instead of the regular 40 weeks, the baby is arriving six weeks early. Because they are not expecting it this early, their bags are not packed nor is the nursery fully furnished.  Safe for an early morning warning in a dream to the father to prepare to be in a delivery room and with assurance (from the Lord) that it would be o.k, the day started off as any other day. At 6:00 AM, the couple prays together for about 40 minutes in their home in Victoria.  They take showers.  At about 7:30 AM, the husband goes to work briefly from his home office while the wife prepares something for their breakfast together. Within a couple hours they will have a routine prenatal doctor's appointment.  Later in the evening the wife's sister and her two beau

The Other Frontline in the Battle for Souls- By Suzanne Wanyonyi

I've learned quite a bit while Sammy's been away in India. Other wives have told me over the years, that when their husbands are gone for ministry for extended periods of time, the enemy tries to attack during the husband's absence by causing the garage door to break, or the toilets to break or the hot water heater to go out. So, from the very beginning of our marriage I anticipated those things and shared my concern about them with Sammy. He understood. We've always had a plan in case something breaks around the house while he's away. Well, none of those things have ever happened. Other things have happened.  During this latest mission, while nearly 80,000 people were being won to Christ, the attack came in a way I wasn't expecting: The kids. There were more than a few nights where I had about 2 hours of sleep because the kids kept waking up. With Malaika it's not so uncommon, but Junior has slept from 8-8 for as long as I can remember. He'

RECESSION-PROOFING I- Expect Rightly

There is such a thing as having right expectations. There is also such a thing as having wrong expectations. Healthy living in this failing economic environment requires us to expect rightly. What we expect regarding the world economy hurts or redeems the quality of our lives in the face of current economic crisis. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:19 about what is and isn't right expectation as far us our world economies are concerned. He warns us to expect a sudden collapse or meltdown of our earthly securities and investments. He warns us that moth and rust are sure to nibble away on our lives' savings. We are seeing the spectacular fulfillment of these warnings in our time as huge Wall-Street conglomerates collapse overnight. They are taking with them thousands of dollars of investors' money and workers' jobs. Isn't this the rust and moth that Jesus is talking about? No matter how gigantic a worldly system might be, it will ultimately collapse. It is natural for it to