Greg Spires – Teaching Pastor
When planning a trip, people think about several things regarding their destination. They will consider the accommodations that are available to them. They will consider the transportation options for getting to their destination. Also, they will think about what kinds of activities they will do when they arrive. Thoughtful travelers will also take time to consider when they will make their visit.
If a person is going to Alaska, they will want to keep in mind that certain times of the year have very little daylight. If traveling to Arizona, it will be important to remember that in July and August, the temperatures will be very high. If a family is thinking about going to an amusement park, they will want to consider if it will have higher than normal crowds due to school breaks.
We know from the Bible that Jesus’ birth happened exactly when it was supposed to happen. Galatians 4:4 tells us, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman.” So, knowing that God had planned ahead for the birth of Jesus, what was the environment He faced?
It would seem reasonable that God would plan His visit when things are perfect, like when we plan a vacation. Certainly, God would come when the political, religious, and cultural environment offered Him what He would need to receive honor, respect, and deference upon arrival. Of course, God would wait to visit until technology had advanced enough to provide a comfortable stay.
Although that would seem reasonable, that isn’t what God did. He did come at precisely the right time. However, He did not come when we would have expected. Isaiah 7:14-15 anticipates the birth of Jesus, saying, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.”
That may seem strange for our modern ears to hear, that he would eat curds and honey. What this sentence is telling us, is that He would grow up in a time of economic difficulty. Curds and honey were the food of nomads. As He grows up, He would grow in times of hardship and toil. Notice the figure of speech “knows how to refuse evil and choose good” is a reference to age. It isn’t saying He would learn to be good because Jesus never did wrong. This figure of speech is saying the boy Jesus would grow up in times marked by not having enough food, shelter, or protection from injustice.
Jesus’ mission was not to visit His people and enjoy the luxuries and comforts that should have been afforded Him as King of Kings. Instead, He came in humility and weakness to identify with our need for a savior. He came humbly to reach the humble. He came needy to reach the needy. He came facing injustice to reach those under the weight of injustice.
The glory of our savior is in the reality that regardless of the situation we find ourselves in, He has been there too. He knows the pain, stress, anxiety, fear, heartache, and sadness found in this world. When we might wonder if anyone knows what we are going through we can be certain of this: Jesus knows. He has experienced what we are enduring.
Because we have a savior who knows, we have a savior who offers real hope. He offers hope to overcome the sin that has caused all our hardships. He offers hope of a future with Him: eternal life where we are finally delivered from the toil we currently live under.
The life of Jesus was not a rags to riches story. His life was a riches to rags story. But He came to take our filthy rags off of our backs and clothe us with the white robe of His righteousness, love, and eternal life. That’s real hope!
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together! This Sunday, we will be seeking God through His Word in Matthew 1:18-23.
See you Sunday,