Business as Usual
The Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).
We can know for certain that Jesus is God’s Son because hundreds of years earlier God told his people what to look for. So when it happened, when a girl having no sexual relations got pregnant, where was the hoopla? Why wasn’t there an entourage of people assisting Mary in her miraculous pregnancy? Did people not believe Mary’s story?
So, God gave another sign. On the night of Jesus’ birth, angels tell a bunch of shepherds with very specific details what they will find in Bethlehem. Curiously, the shepherds go see for themselves, and, after seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished. (Luke 2:8-20) Astonished, yes, but where did everybody go? Where are all the excited people who have been waiting centuries for this to happen?
Isn’t human reasoning fascinating? We want something so badly, and then when we get it we don’t want it because it means change and stirring up the status quo. The religious leaders in charge in Jesus’ day didn’t want change. They had attained some level of power that they were comfortable with and the Messiah showing up on their watch would mess all that up. So, when some of the guards went into the city and told the leading priests what had happened (about the empty tomb), a meeting with the elders was called, and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe. They told the soldiers, “You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.’ If the governor hears about it, we’ll stand up for you so you won’t get in trouble.” So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. Their story spread widely among the Jews, and they still tell it today. (Matthew 28:11-15)
But what if Jesus had come today? Same thing. Ignore. Jesus messes with the status quo. The Good News of Jesus is that God is real, He wants a relationship with each one of us, and He also has a specific way for us to live as prescribed in His Word. But human reasoning looks at that and sees God trying to limit man’s freedom, but in all reality God’s design for our lives isn’t to hem us in but to keep evil out. That’s a good thing! But people would rather do what they want to do and just hope God doesn’t exist, just hope Mary wasn’t actually a virgin, and just hope the shepherds were simply delirious.
Because if Jesus is real then God is real.
There was no crowd and no hoopla for Jesus back then, and there isn’t going to be any for him today either. Even the majority of the ones that follow him these days keep it on the DL. People prefer business as usual, and life with Jesus is not business as usual. People can ignore the predictions about him and dismiss his time on the earth, but one day every knee shall bow and every tongue will say that Jesus is Lord whether they’re ready or not! (Philippians 2:10)
I am so thankful for Mary, the shepherds, and your SON! I am glad not to be left to my own limited devices. I am excited for the impact Jesus has had on my life. Thank you for telling us what was going to happen, having it happen, and letting it continue. This is such an exciting celebration this time of year focusing on when you stirred things up and changed business as usual so that we could be saved in every way! I love you and thank you and pray in Jesus’ name, amen.