A theologian once asked her class for biblical metaphors for waiting. The men spoke first and listed growing plants, harvesting and farming.
The theologian nodded but kept asking for more suggestions. Finally, a woman spoke up. ‘Pregnancy,’ she said, and cited Romans 8:22, which describes all of creation in labour pains.
The men looked at her in astonishment. That metaphor would never have occurred to them.
There must have been a similar jaw-dropping moment when the Magi pitched up at Herod’s palace and announced the Messiah had been born (vv1–3).
For centuries, the Jews had been focused on waiting for the Messiah. The chief priests and scholars knew all the signs to look out for, and they could quote Micah, that the Messiah would come from the line of David, be born in Bethlehem, and would be a good shepherd to rule Israel (vv4–6).
The religious and academic people knew, intellectually, to expect the Messiah, but when He came, they blinked and missed it.
They needed foreign stargazers to inform them that the Messiah had arrived. All the Magi needed to know was where to find Him.
That’s the way God’s sense of humour works, at times. We are all limited by our experience and theology, and sometimes we can have crucial weaknesses in our faith.
For the whole counsel of the Lord, we need the whole people of God. Today, ask God, ‘What’s right in front of me that I’m missing? Who might help me understand?’
A Prayer To Make:
‘Dear Lord, thank You for the wonderful diversity in the whole of humanity. Help us to be challenged and stretched theologically by other perspectives and cultures. Amen.’
An Action To Take:
Next year’s challenge is to listen to sermons or read Christian books by folk different to you by race, country and culture, gender, sexuality, age, disability and class.
Scripture To Consider:
Josh. 2:1–14; 2 Chr. 9:1–12; Matt. 8:5–13; Acts 10:1–33