Greg Spires – Teaching Pastor
Mike was up on the mountain skiing by himself. He made his way to the ski lift, and another single joined him in the lift. They made small talk as the lift slowly made its way up the run. Finally, Mike asked his lift-mate what he did for a living.
“Oh, I’m an actor,” he said, somewhat apologetically.
“Have you been in anything I might have seen?” asked Mike.
“Have you seen Star Wars?” the actor asked.
“Sure,” Mike replied.
“I played Luke Skywalker…”
Mike was embarrassed to discover he’d been talking with Mark Hammill. He was especially embarrassed that he didn’t recognize the famous actor!
Although it might seem surprising, it makes sense that he didn’t recognize Hammill. Mike would not have imagined he would meet someone famous while skiing. His appearance was different than it was on the big screen. Since Mark Hammill skiing does not look like Luke Skywalker, it was easy to see why Mike would fail to recognize him. What Mike would have expected didn’t match reality.
Isaiah, the prophet, predicted the same thing would happen to Jesus when He came. Isaiah 53:1-3 says, “Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
The people of Jesus’ day were expecting a hero-king. They wanted power, glory, conquering might, and brilliant majesty. They concluded that the promises of the Old Testament could only be fulfilled by the mighty king of their imaginations.
The problem was that Jesus, although He is all those things they wanted, did not plan to come in such a way as they hoped. As the prophet said, He came humbly and without any display of outward power and might. As a result, most people didn’t recognize Him.
Why did He come in such lowliness? Because His mission was to save people from their sins by going to the cross and rising from the dead. His mission was to rescue the lost, spiritually dead, and spiritually needy. This is true of everyone; however, by coming with “no form or majesty,” it would require eyes of faith to see Him for who He is and was. This was important because it requires faith to receive His salvation, so He came in a way that would only allow faith to see.
We need to remember that God is always working to build our faith so we can see Him more and grow closer to Him. To build our faith, He works in ways we wouldn’t expect or imagine. When we see only one way to go, God sees countless ways – and He knows the way that best serves to help us trust Him more.
Christmas is a great time to be reminded that God is the God of the unexpected. There might be several areas in our lives where we wonder what God is doing. In those places, it is good to be reminded that God isn’t trying to make our lives difficult. What He is doing is giving us an opportunity to grow stronger in our faith in Him. When we trust Him more, we experience a closer relationship with Him. When we draw closer to God in faith, we are filled with more joy, peace, and confidence to know that He is working for our good.
God may not always do what we expect (or want!), but we can be assured everything He does is to give us the best thing ever: Himself!
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 2:19-23.
See you Sunday,