God’s ways are not our ways. Perhaps nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the incarnation of God’s Son, Jesus. His birth was that of a commoner and his death was that of a criminal. He was born in the company of animals in a stable. He died in the company of thieves on a cross stained with his blood. The political leaders of his country tried to murder him as a baby. But it was the religious leaders 33 years later who finally succeeded where Herod had failed. His family fled to Egypt when he was a toddler. His friends fled from him at his trial.
Despite a humble birth and a disgraceful death, Jesus did what he set out to do. He began life with a pure heart. In death he offered up a pure life for the wretched likes of me and you. The angels burst into praise at his birth. The earth shook at the inequity of his death.
The world, just like today, was not impressed by Christ’s birth or death. Our culture cares little for the incarnate Son of God. It cares even less for his commands. Jesus did not leave a record of sound bites and campaign slogans that could be formed into meaningless mantras. He didn’t hang out with the rich and famous. He led a life of purity, perfection, and worship. He obeyed when we would not. He loved what we hate. He hated what we love. From the manger to the cross he lived not for our praise, but for the praise of his Father. From the manger to the cross he lived a life that was truly life, so that by his life you have life.