It’s hard to trust in promises. And we hear them all the time. Bosses. Politicians. Spouses. Children. Friends. When promises are broken, hurt and disappointment set in. Do we tend to allow the unreliability of a few to stain the reliability of others? Are we slow to risk placing ourselves in a position of being hurt or disappointed by not trusting others? Do we get angry ourselves by daring to trust again?
What about our relationship with God? Are we slow to trust His promises? The concept of God’s grace is like enticing fruit hanging from a tree and ready to be picked. We do not own the tree, but the Owner regularly invites us to pick from His tree. Am I worthy? Does guilt prohibit us? Do I dare open my hand and receive this gift? It just seems too good to be true.
Two thousand years ago, the Israelite people were certainly banking on God’s promises. They had been waiting, watching, longing for a Savior. They were waiting for a King from the line of David to save them from their enemies. They longed for a Messiah to bring peace to their land and to start a new and glorious reign. Each Passover marked another year of waiting, remembering, watching, and hoping.
The nation of Israel was longing for a superhero. And God provided one. He kept His promise. But God delivered to His people a far different Messiah than they were expecting. Instead of a Messiah that jumped off the pages of a Marvel comic book, He came in the form of a child — a baby, born in the outskirts of a village.
Really, it was a brilliant plan.
Instead of a royal birth trumpeted by the masses, it was a humble one celebrated in the heavenly realm.
Instead of a fierce warrior, God brought forth a suffering servant.
Instead of a superhero fully exercising his divine powers to crush a visible enemy, He was an innocent baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.
The Messiah did not come to restore, but to redeem. He did not come to rescue people from the Romans, but to save the world from our sins. We needed God to be made flesh, born from a mother’s womb, to be a perfect substitute and to conquer not just the enemies on earth, but the essence of evil itself — death and the devil.
It must have been really something being up in the heavenly realm during that glorious night in Bethlehem. The Savior was born. The plan that was hatched at the creation of the world had finally arrived. The promise given by God so many years ago was kept. He is now with us. Immanuel. It’s a message that a chorus of angels could proclaim from the heavenly realm.
To them, a superhero did arrive. He had come to conquer. God had kept His Word – and His Word was born.