If you were writing a story–a realistic story–about someone who would take over the world, what kind of backstory would you write for that character? Would you put him or her in a backwater setting where your countrymen considers everyone from there as a bunch of ignorant hicks? Nope. A realistic story would place that character in a royal setting, in a powerful country, surrounded by a powerful military, with everything handed to them. Right? That’s what everyone in the world would do, because it’s more realistic.
God decided to enter humanity in the context of a peasant-to-middle class family in a country that had been walked over time after time by the empire of the month. Jesus’ hometown? There was a saying about the town where Jesus hailed from. “Nothing good can come out of Nazareth.” Even Jesus’ fellow Israelites regarded Jesus as a hick. At the trial of all trials, Peter’s country bumpkin accent gave him away as a follower of Jesus.
God doesn’t have a great track record of doing things in a realistic manner.
God’s plan to redeem humanity from our gunk seems pretty ill-conceived, if you look at it from a realistic viewpoint. And yet God changed history through Jesus and the Kingdom He ushered in. It truly started like a yeast strain introduced into dough–something minuscule completely spread everywhere. The Kingdom of God began in the form of a baby and grew into a world-changing phenomenon. (It’s not perfect, but Jesus is working on that.)
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord — and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.”
God’s wisdom is pretty strange. But it’s also beautiful to me.
“He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.”
God’s wisdom is so much better than the world’s because God goes to the heart of the matter. Feeling like you can’t measure up to the everyone’s standard of beauty or intellect? God looks at your heart. Feeling like you can never win? God’s a pretty big fan of the underdog, actually.
God never has been one to do things they way everyone expects them to be done. The Advent story of God bursting forth into human history like never before is 100% consistent with His character. And it’s nothing like us humans would probably write.
Our story would end up being cliché and boring, anyway.
To God’s wisdom and putting all of our hopes in a baby boy!