LUKE CHAPTER 2
An account of Jesus, the Lord and Savior of the world, should be a glorious thing, right? There should be fanfare, tons of music, lavish riches and gifts brought to His cradle, hundreds of caretakers and even more military to preserve His life in case of an attempt to dethrone Him in some way, and millions of witnesses to validate His existence.
If I were to make up a story about Jesus, it’d be easy to believe in Him.
The story of Jesus’ birth is indeed bizarre and altogether unbelievable. He is born in a fringe society (v. 4), on the move (v. 3), in a feeding trough (v. 7), the witnesses being a bunch of low-life shepherds and smelly sheep (v. 16). If I were to make up a story about how Jesus was born, He certainly wouldn’t have been born in such terrible conditions.
It can be said that the timing was terrible as well. Joseph and Mary take off to register for the census, and Mary is running around knocked up by the Holy Spirit (imagine having to tell everyone that story), unmarried in a Jewish society. I’m sure every time someone congratulated the pregnant Mary along with her fiance Joseph, the scene became exceedingly awkward. It is unfortunately common that children are born out of wedlock today, but this was a huge no-no in this time period. If I were to make up a story about under what circumstances Jesus would be born, it wouldn’t be in a cloud of shame.
On the eighth day, when it was traditionally time to circumcise the child, He is given the name Jesus. Historically, this is like calling your kid Matt or Michael or something similarly common and generic. Why would God choose to give the Savior of the world such a run-of-the-mill name? His parents didn’t even have the option to make it unique. If I were to make up a story about how Jesus was named, it would definitely not be told like this.
In verse 27, Jesus is presented at the temple, and a guy named Simeon who served his entire life waiting to see the Christ (it makes you wonder how old he was) shows up to bless the child. Instead of stating that He would live a long, prosperous life full of joy and reverence among men, He makes a blatant reference to the boy’s eventual suffering and death (v. 35). Imagine taking your child to a family friend and being told that “a sword will pierce your soul” because of this kid. Horrible. If I were to make up a story about how Jesus’ life would be foretold by a holy authority of a sort, it wouldn’t be that He is destined to die.
Jesus grows up in good standing (v. 40, 52), which is refreshing, but yet another odd situation comes up when He’s about twelve years old. Jesus is at the Passover Feast (ironically, the location and occasion He would perform the Last Supper and eventually be arrested), but His parents somehow leave Him behind (or he pulled one of His mysterious disappearing acts, as described in John) and He is found hanging out with the smart religious guys having conversations and blowing their minds with His wisdom. They ask Him why He would pull a stunt like this, and Jesus says something that you would only hear a kid say when addressing his hated stepfather: “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” They have no idea what He’s talking about – if I were Joseph, I’d be asking where Mary had been thirteen years ago and to fill me in on why my son decided to disown me. Awkward. If I were to make up a story about some of Jesus’ public appearances as a child, it wouldn’t pan out like this did.
Luke 2 goes contrary to what would seem like a logical good start for the Son of God. And this, to me, validates Luke’s account – if it were up to man, the story would be a lot smoother. But it’s not. But for a man that would make Himself the servant of all, it was quite fitting to have such a humble beginning.