Guest / Limited Access /

If one makes a statement by the type of entrance one makes, then God made quite a statement with Jesus.

Jesus was born, says the Bible, with a virginal conception—decidedly not in accord with the normal order of things. Then there was a host of angels who announced the birth to some startled shepherds with what will turn out to be ironic words: "Peace on earth!" For the first memorable political act after the birth of Immanuel—"God with us"—is the mass murder of infants preceded by the exile of the holy family. The first sign of God's coming leads to disruption and confusion.

Even in his childhood, Jesus signaled that he was about something startling. He was only 12 when he disobeyed his parents, staying behind in Jerusalem to teach in the temple after they had started home. He flouted one of the Ten Commandments—"Honor your father and your mother"—apparently believing that the fifth commandment was not made for man, but man for the fifth commandment. His parents are naturally hurt at his disrespect: "Son, why have you treated us so?" But Jesus just rebukes them for not recognizing his mission (Luke 2:41–49). Jesus was not a good, well-behaved little boy.

Things get really interesting when Jesus begins his ministry some 18 years later. His opening sermon—the one in which he announces his mission of liberation—sets the tone. He's in Nazareth, his home town. He has an opportunity to win the favor of family and friends, so they can send him off on his ministry with good will. Instead, he picks the occasion to shame them for their parochialism. He notes that God is just as interested in freely sharing his mercy with Gentiles as he is with his chosen people. You know Jesus has touched ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

SoulWork
In "SoulWork," Mark Galli brings news, Christian theology, and spiritual direction together to explore what it means to be formed spiritually in the image of Jesus Christ.
Mark Galli
Mark Galli is Editor of Christianity Today in Carol Stream, Illinois.
Previous SoulWork Columns:
Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueIn This Issue: Our Sustaining Force
In This Issue: Our Sustaining Force
How the gospel truth lightens our load.
Recommended
Subscriber Access Only 'The Purpose of Christmas'
An excerpt on "A Time for Celebration."
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickThe Grace of Church Discipline
The Grace of Church Discipline
We do no one any favors if we ignore or downplay core beliefs.
Christianity Today
Good News: Jesus Is Not Nice
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

September 2011

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.