“Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Have you ever had in mind exactly what you wanted to happen and then things did not go that way? I suspect so. I suspect so not because I know you, but because that’s common. That’s the root of all disappointment, and in a world broken by sin, disappointment is par for the course. But, when things didn’t go the way you wanted them to go, did they ever turn out better than you imagined? If you are a follower of Jesus, you serve the God who specializes in doing just that.
We laud the birth of Jesus in high and noble language and rightly so. It is the event most singularly responsible for the way the world looks and works today. It literally marks a turning point in human history. The calendar changes based on that one event. We celebrate everything about it. But when it happened, it was not at all when anyone was expecting.
The people of Israel had been waiting for the Messiah for many generations. Everything about their regular life rhythms was aimed in the direction of the Messiah. Every time someone declared he was the guy, he could count on attracting huge followings and quickly. They were on edge with it all the time.
Then He came. And nobody noticed. He wasn’t born in a palace. Great men weren’t invited to see Him. The only public announcement was to a bunch of nobodies. And as He grew, while He eventually attracted a huge following, He never claimed any power or position for Himself. He didn’t challenge political power structures. He hung out with sinners. And His teachings constantly set people on their heads. In other words, He was nothing like anyone imagined He would be.
He was better.
Jesus wasn’t just the political revolutionary of the Jews, He was the Lord of all creation dwelling among people and save all of them. He encouraged and healed the downtrodden and sick. He invited non-Israelites into the kingdom of God. He broke with the Pharisees and other teachers of the Law on seemingly critical issues. He was nothing like anyone was expecting.
Instead of leading Israel in a civic renewal and restoration, He died for everyone so that we might all live in the pure and sweet light of the Father all the time. Instead of mixing it up with the righteous and the wealthy, Jesus intentionally sought out people who were nothing like Him and who were considered trash at best by most of His culture. Instead of judging outsiders, He welcomed them. Instead of assuming on common interpretations of the Scriptures, He kept insisting on putting them back in their original contexts.
Nothing about Jesus was what anyone expected. It was better.
It was better because that’s the kind of God we serve. He is able to do abundantly more than all we could ask or imagine, and He’s able to do it right through our lives by the Holy Spirit. We simply need to adjust our lives to it.
As we draw ever closer to the grand celebration of Jesus’ birth, may you know in abundance the power of this amazing God to whom belong all the glory, honor, and praise for ever and ever.