I wake first in the house. It’s Christmas morning. I turn to Matthew 1.
Perfect baby. Perfect child. Perfect man. Ill-intentioned impostor?
No. There was no mistaking one for the other. This error was indeed intentional. From the time he was born, power-hungry, insecure men in positions of authority feared the very mention of his name. Herod was neurotically jealous. The Pharisees were ashamedly intimidated. Yes, Jesus’ accusers knew exactly who he really was. It was their selfish pride that caused them to look at the Son of God and call him a demon. It was their insatiable jealousy that insisted on misrepresenting him, lying about him, casting doubt upon him, and forcing an unfair trial full of attacks without facts. They executed him because they hated him – not because he was guilty.
Joseph. He wanted rid of Jesus, too, before he knew the facts. Let’s face it, the story was a bit sketchy to say the least. Pregnant virgin? I dunno. So even Jesus’ own earthly father doubted his authenticity for a moment. But here’s how you can tell who’s who in this gospel gig: Some loved and accepted Jesus after they were shown who he was; Others hated and rejected Jesus after they were shown who he was. The former came to recognize his humble, unexpected background as great evidence of his grace; The latter used his humble, unexpected background as reason to discount everything he said and did. No one accepted or rejected Jesus Christ before they understood who he was.
Maybe that’s because you can’t. It’s an impossibility. Knowing about Jesus like Joseph did when Mary dropped the “I’m pregnant” bomb is different than understanding who he is like Herod did when he sought to kill him through insecure deceit. One doubted for lack of information. The other hated because he was well informed.
Who is Jesus to you? Contentment? Confusion? Competition? He accepts those worthy of rejection. We reject he who is worthy of acceptance. Many power hungry people still seek to push Christ out of his own place. But this is his world and he has come to us, for us, by God. He is with us now. All those who receive him are given the right to become the children of God.
He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. ~John 1:11-13