Nativity Lecture 2018 04

Hanging with the right crowd

It would have been incredibly lonely for the king to be in the world without a like-minded soul. The two greatest people who ever lived – and there will be none greater – met before they were born and they have not stopped shaking up the world since.

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, Luke 1:39 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth [her cousin]. Luke 1:40 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, Luke 1:41 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! Luke 1:42

King and cousin

Kingdom folk conduct kingdom business. The arrival of the Son of God in Bethlehem 2000 years ago as king was a loud invitation to partnership and constant companionship for the human race. No child of God will ever be without rod and staff. John was there in his magnificent strangeness for the Lord as cousins and as messengers from the highest. Great team work is in everyone’s file.

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, Matt 3:1; “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matt 3:2

A kingdom needs a king. There was no shortage of applicants, each wanting the praise of the people. Among them are the Herods, the Roman Emperor, high-priests, and countless humans (John 12:43, Luke 20:46, Rev. 13:12). The Persian king who had ordered and funded the return of the sons of Israel is a beacon that contrasts with the Judean attitude of separateness with only God as their true king. Yet, when the sky itself announced that the king had arrived they were blissfully unaware.

Apparently, God did not feel it was necessary to have the usual fanfare had the learned people been tracking the prophecies. The province of Judea was full of people whose one concern was, despite all the signs to the contrary, necessary to keep the ancient tradition alive and themselves pure from personal contact with strangers. That is the root of the blindness about the babe in the manger. As Saviour of the world his majesty is unique, and he is one of us, God-in-flesh. It is okay if people do not recognize us, at first. The crowd is usually not the real McCoy.

Just two witnesses

When John announced that his cousin from Bethlehem (birthplace) and Nazareth (current residence) was God’s answer to the human sin problem (John 1:29) he shook the world and the we are still shaking today. Teamwork shifted into high gear when John’s cousin began to call himself “Bread from heaven”, “Light of the World”, “Beautiful Shepherd”, and “The Way”.

We are strange when God is our Father. Just imagine the heaven-slide when we embrace the voice of God as it comes to us, even from the womb, the very lap and bosom of humans just like us. It only takes two individuals in perfect agreement to bring about the will of God from day to day. It only takes two individuals who know that the king has arrived to conduct life and die as an unbeatable team.

For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him. Matt 21:32

Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. Matt 21:24 The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ Matt 21:25 But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” Matt 21:26

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Mark 1:9