Honestly, I don’t understand why people of all ages dressed like their favorite Star Wars character the past couple of weeks. Even though it indicates I’m “Star Wars challenged”, I must admit I’ve never watched an episode of the series. Maybe I will at some point because my lack of exposure is not due to any negative impressions about the blockbuster.
The reason I even refer to it is because of a parallel to the biblical story of the birth of Christ. Now, before jumping to conclusions, remember you could put what little I know about those movies into the smallest e-book ever written.
The parallel I see is the way people identify with a character in stories we read, or watch on TV, or see at a theater. We certainly have favorite sports figures we’d like to emulate. It’s just a human thing, I guess.
So, I’m guessing most of us who attended church and/or a Sunday School class yesterday took a look at the narrative from either Luke’s or Mathew’s gospel. No matter which you read there was a set of characters involved. I think it’s interesting to give some thought to which of those characters we’d like to emulate. I don’t plan to dress like any of them anytime soon. But, if you’re into that kind of thing, go ahead; knock yourself out.
For this post, let’s look at three characters. Actually, there are four, but two of them are alike enough to be counted as one.
Keep in mind, everyone was free to choose how they reacted to the miraculous Birth. But, people are people and people react differently to pretty much any event. ( Remember me and Star Wars movies).
- The wise men and the shepherds.
I put these guys together even though they appear in separate gospels. The thing is, they took the birth of Jesus seriously. They were so in tune with what was happening, they sought Him out, found Him, and worshiped Him.
Besides all that, they weren’t supposed to play a part in religious history because they either were Gentiles or the lowest class of citizens of the day.
2. The religious leaders of the day.
When the wise men arrived in Jerusalem and asked the scribes and Pharisees about where the Messiah would be born, they got nothing but the facts which they knew from years of studying Old Testament prophets.
Those guys were only 5 or 6 miles from where the long anticipated Saviour of the world had just been born.
They had all the knowledge they needed and then some. But, apparently their spiritual sensitivity was quite out-of-order.
3. King Herod.
Talk about a terrorist! This guy frequently murdered people including wives and sons as soon as he perceived them as threats to his authority. By the way, that authority was questionable from the beginning.
This character tried, unsuccessfully, to deceive the wise men. then he attempted to eliminate Jesus by ordering his men to murder all male children in the province under two years old.
Are these characters still around today?
Of course, they are still around! The names have changed, but the characters are alive and active as ever before.
Warning: Use the Bible as a mirror instead of a camera. It’s far more useful to evaluate ourselves and leave judgment of everyone else to our sovereign God.
People who take God seriously.
These are the ones worth emulating.
Education and knowledge only help those who begin with enough faith to take God seriously in the first place.
God takes seriously those who take Him seriously. He went to cosmic proportions to guide the wise men to Jesus. He sent a host of angels to announce the news to a small group of shepherds.
God is not limited in how He lets people know what they need to know when they take Him seriously.
Religious people who miss the obvious.
This is the scary one for people like me who’ve been in church for a long time.
It’s so easy to pile on more and more biblical knowledge. It becomes easy to get in the habit of avoiding “bad stuff”. And, oh my, it’s easy to see the faults of people not like us.
But, it takes intentional action to follow Jesus’ command to abide in Him, remember that without Him we can do nothing, and keep our spiritual sensitivity sharp.
God is sovereign. God is still active on planet earth today. Have you recognized His work around you lately?
People who want to destroy Jesus.
Let me state the obvious right up front. Islamic radicals are on a rampage to destroy Jesus. We know they will not succeed. Still, innocent people will continue to die as a result of the battle between good and evil until Jesus returns.
If you think about it, we’re all familiar with examples of more subtle and less aggressive attempts to destroy Jesus. “Political correctness” comes to mind. Who are these people making decisions about what a person can or cannot say? Outlawing the phrase, “Merry Christmas” for Pete sake. Are you kidding me? No more nativity scenes around public buildings? Come on, man. Football coaches getting fired for leading prayer after games. If these are not attempts to eliminate Jesus, then somebody please explain to me what they are.
I don’t know about you, but I’m praying for faith and grace enough to consistently be like the wise men and the shepherds.
Maybe you’ve read this post and you’re sensing a tug to react the way the wise men and the shepherds reacted to Jesus. It’s not too late! God’s still announcing the good news and offering you an opportunity to know Jesus personally. Begin by asking God to introduce you to Jesus. When you meet Him, you too will worship Him.
Go here to learn how to follow Him.