Have you ever wondered why Jesus Christ our Savior came the way he came? Even a brief glimpse of the record reveals the mind boggling nature of Christ’s arrival. Essentially the majority of the Old Testament is a really long announcement for the Messiah’s arrival. If one were to take a guess as to how the Messiah was going to arrive, it would probably have a much grander foretelling. Instead we read that Jesus was born to a virgin. Instead we read that his earthly mother and father were by no means wealthy. Instead we read that Jesus’ lineage could be traced to an ancestry that included such things as prostitution, murder, adultery… and the list goes on. To say the least, the family name was a bit tarnished.
The confusion gets worse, though, once you look deeper. Instead of being born into royalty and immediately being established as the future leader, Jesus worked as a blue collar tradesman till he was around 30 years old! When he finally began his ministry, instead of recruiting the elite of the elite to be a part of his staff, he chose some of the most unlikely candidates: a tax collector, a fisherman etc. Jesus spends three years of his life with his twelve disciples teaching them, both in theory and in practice. His teachings infuriate many of the leaders of the very people who he is supposed to be saving! So much so they arrange to have him killed by the Romans! In his moment of greatest peril, Jesus’ closest friends betray him. Then Jesus goes through an excruciating death that had been, over the years, perfected to a science by the Romans—they had become experts in making people feel the most amount of pain before they died. Just think, if Jesus had chosen to come in 2016 he might have simply died by lethal injection. Why? Why? Why?
There are a number of reasons why Jesus came the way he came. One of them was to fulfill the many prophesies that had been foretold about the coming Messiah a thousand years prior. Why? To show that he was in fact the promised Messiah! Jesus fulfilled at least 300 prophecies in his lifetime. The odds against this happening are staggeringly low. If one is interested in reading about these I would suggest reading Peter Stoner’s book Science Speaks.
Another reason Jesus chose to come the way he did, which I believe is hugely important as well as deeply personal, is this: By coming the way he did, Jesus doesn’t just understand what we as Christian human beings have to go through in this life, he knows. Jesus doesn’t just empathize with us like someone who has never really experienced what we experience–he went through it!! Jesus isn’t asking us to walk a path that he hasn’t ever walked. This is so encouraging!!! Have you ever felt betrayed? Have you ever felt anguish? Fear? Loneliness? Take hope! Jesus knows what you are going through. It’s our trials that often bring us closer to Jesus than anything else. This is why, instead of promising to take our trials away, Jesus promises to walk with us through them!! Jesus will never betray us, he will never leave us to be alone, and his example can give us confidence that we can have peace even in the storm! Hebrews 12:1-6 (NLT) articulates this idea well:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.(Hebrews 12:1-6 NLT, emphasis added)
Because of the example that Jesus set when he lived on earth, we can truly have hope in our seemingly most hopeless moments. Jesus did this for you and for me-and for the whole world!
I hope this post will encourage people to continue to persevere in those moments when they feel like giving up. Find solace in the fact that Jesus went through immense pain and suffering for us, not just to save us, but also that we would know he truly understands our pain intimately. And just like his father’s heart broke for him during his pain and suffering, Jesus’ heart breaks for us! One day Jesus is going to come back and rid this world of pain and suffering, but until then, he promises to walk with us! So don’t give up, don’t lose heart. Because of the joy awaiting you, pick up your cross each day and know—and be known by—the God who loves you!