To me this becomes apparent when I read certain accounts in Scripture. Just consider the account and circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus.
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 1:18)Matthew is so "matter of a fact" in his account about the circumstances surrounding the birth of the Messiah. When you think of all the ways God could have come to this earth I would not naturally zero in on how he actually did. I would have never been able to predict that he would have come as a defenseless baby born to a seemingly unimportant poor Jewish father and mother living in a small town of little apparent importance. Yes the birth of Jesus was truly a remarkable miracle, but for the vast majority of people to ever live only in hindsight and with the help of the Holy Spirit through the written words in the Bible. Seems to me that even the virgin birth was not obvious to very many people. Really, at the time the only two to actually truly believe that Mary became pregnant while remaining a virgin were Mary and Joseph. If it wasn't for a message from God through an angel during a dream I think Joseph probably would not have believed it. I am sure most everyone else thought they were lying and there was really no miracle.
Now you do have a star appearing in the sky at the time of Jesus' birth. A star that is recognized by the Magi as the star of the King of the Jews. A star that brought these gentile Magi to Jerusalem to find this new King and worship him. Something about this star must have been remarkable enough to attract these gentile foreigners to Jerusalem. But we don't get a sense from any of the accounts that the star was universally seen by all as a sign from God of a miraculous and historic event.
Angles appeared to some shepherds in a nearby field and told them what had just happened. I am sure a very incredible and remarkable experience for these shepherds, but still not a universal demonstration by God. Aside from Mary, Joseph, the Magi, and some shepherds very few people that were living at the time knew that the Savior of the world had just been born. Very few knew that the Son of God had just entered the world. God was living and breathing here on earth as a human, as a baby boy and hardly any one noticed.
God taking on the form of a man and coming to earth, the most incredible event of all history, and it happens in a way that very few really even noticed at the time. This most awesome event was outwardly unremarkable to most people living at the time. One would have expected a massive earth shattering event. A spectacularly powerful scene. Something that would overwhelm all of our senses. An awesome visual event that would have been seen by most people, perhaps all. But it wasn't. It was very real, none the less, just not outwardly, visibly, remarkable. Really at the time, to most of the people around, it appeared as just a normal slice of human life. Just another couple having a baby.
Actually this is a pattern throughout the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments. A pattern where God works in ways that appear to us as unremarkable, but in reality are totally awesome.
- The way God chose to speak to Elijah - a low whisper or a sound of a soft breath. (1 Kings 19:11-13)
- David when selected by God through Samuel to be king was not outwardly remarkable to those around him. (1 Samuel 16:1-13)
- The Kingdom of God Jesus spoke of in the parables started very small and unremarkable. (Matthew 13:31-32)
- The 12 disciples Jesus selected were unremarkable by the standards of the world. Just regular people with very regular standing in their society. (Matthew 4:18-20)
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let those who boast boast in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)Are you unremarkable? I know I am and I long to see the Kingdom fully come in a completely, unbelievably, totally awesome, and remarkable way.
| More on the Essential Jesus journey. |photo credit: The photo in this article is title "discovery v2" and was uploaded to Flickr.com by concretecandy on Feb. 5, 2006