As a child, I saw the baby Jesus lying in a manger. He was small. He was helpless. He was adorable. As I grew older, it became harder to actually see *Him.* While Jesus in the manger is important for us to see and accept, for some reason we keep Him there.
Radical: That would probably be what He’d be called here. Where is His respect for tradition? Has He even read the Torah? Who does He think He is? Doesn’t He even know who is in power?
Tradition only deserves respect if it follows the will of God. While I’m sure He read the Torah, people came…and come…first. He didn’t have to think about who He was (and is). He knew. He is the Son of God. Who is in power? That’s easy. God. That hasn’t changed from Creation to now.
Scofflaw: He didn’t obey the rules. He consorted with tax collectors. He ate with sinners. He spent a lot of His time with the not so “in” crowd. When He went to the Temple, He drove out the merchants and bankers. How do you think the “officials” felt?
I bet the people felt better. Exchanging Roman money for Temple money probably wasn’t all that equitable. Buying a “perfect” lamb (or other sacrificial animal) probably wasn’t cheap. Oh, you brought yours; well there’s this little flaw…so the guy behind you buys your “imperfect” lamb.
Why is this important? Sometimes it’s a lot easier to leave Jesus in the manger, forget about His mission and gloss over any events that make us uncomfortable. After all, He was a convict. Maybe it wasn’t according to Rome’s standards but it had to be somebody’s. He was scourged. He was hung on a cross. He died. How can we leave this out of our faith?
So now what? First “now what” is that He rose from the dead. That is a bigger event than any involving His birth. He died, true. He died to bring us forgiveness. Without mincing of words, all of us are sinners. It doesn’t matter…if you are human, you sin. I sin. That used to cut us off from God. Jesus’ death bridges that gap. Why do you think the curtain between the holy of holies and the more regular temple area was ripped in half? God *wants* us to have greater access to Him.
More important, He rose. We celebrate it at Easter. There have been times when I did not feel what Easter really means. It’s hard to feel it unless you are looking for it. Easter isn’t one Sunday in the calendar. Easter is every morning. Easter is every evening. When we approach the end of our lives, Easter is where we are going. It is oneness with our Lord and Savior.
Jesus came to call the outcasts. I look at my life and see how I could be such an outcast. I’m not perfect. I don’t follow the Law. I am a sinner. You know what? Jesus came to call me…and you.