God’s unexpected vessels
It all started with Mary, a seemingly insignificant, teenaged girl. She was probably just minding her own business when one day the angel, Gabriel came to her. He told her she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit, and that she would give birth to the Savior of the world. It’s crazy, but Mary’s experience was prophesied in the book of Isaiah about 700 years before she was born: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”
WOW! Ok. Nine months later, and great with child, Mary and Joseph (her betrothed husband) had to travel to Bethlehem (about an 80-mile journey; 4-7 days walk) to participate in the census that Caesar Augustus had decreed for all of his subjects.
Bethlehem was a small village at the time of Jesus’ birth. But even though it was tiny, it was famous for being the birthplace of King David. Here is the prophecy of another King that was to be born in Bethlehem: “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity. Therefore He will give them up until the time when she who is in labor has borne a child.” (Micah 5:2-3)
The Barn/Maternity ward
Because of the Census, the tiny village of Bethlehem was packed to the gills. After a very long journey, Mary and Joseph arrived only to find that all the hotels were full. That must have been a brutal challenge for them. It seems like the all-knowing God would have foreseen this problem of too many people being in Bethlehem on this particular night, wouldn’t HE? I mean, He could’ve planned this better right? Actually, we see that GOD absolutely did orchestrate all of these details so that Mary and Joseph would be in Bethlehem, giving birth to the son of God in a barn, perfectly following the SCRIPT-ures.
After Jesus was born, He was laid in a feeding trough, which is significant because He would later call Himself, “the Bread of Life that comes down from heaven.” This manger, this feeding trough in Bethlehem (aka the House of Bread) had been ‘chosen’ since before the foundation of the world to be the first-bed Emmanuel-God in the flesh would be laid in. It sure seems like the Almighty regularly chooses the smallest, the most insignificant, seemingly unimportant, unpredictable, and least honored things of this world to do the most amazing feats! (1 Cor. 1:27-28)
Where are you today in God’s great plan? Do you feel insignificant in this big world? Feel forgotten by the Sovereign One? Does it seem like if God were really leading you, your path would be all rosy and cheerful, or at least not as crazy? I assure you today that if you are a Christian God is using you in His grand plan. Remember how strangely (in our minds) God works in and through people’s lives, it’s all through the Bible. If you’re born again, you are part of God’s plan! No matter how small (as we measure things), or how big His use of us, we were saved to be used as instruments of righteousness in the hand of the one and only AWESOME GOD! (see Eph.2:10)
God’s ways are higher than ours. Most of the time they seem to be upside down to our logic. The King of all kings, Jesus, came into the very world HE created, He came as a helpless, humble, tiny, little BABY. That human baby would grow up to become a sinless man. The only God-Man worthy to die on a cross to save us from our sins. Jesus was the gift given on that day in Bethlehem.
If you don’t know the Savior this Christmas, I urge you to open this present from God and receive the gift of eternal life.
No, Jesus didn’t look like a hero, but He came to save the world. And God chose some pretty unlikely vessels to put it all into motion: an unknown girl to give birth to the Savior of the World, the tiniest town to be His birthplace, men of no reputation to herald the message of God, a dirty barn to celebrate His first birthday, and a feeding trough filled with hay to be His bed.
Can God use YOU? Oh yeah, He sure can, and He wants to. You and I may not feel like heroes, but then, as we’ve seen, God chooses some truly interesting and wildly unexpected ways to accomplish His will. As Christians, we have the GIFT of LIFE through the message of the Gospel, and almighty God wants to give His Presence to the world through us this Christmas.
I say, “Yes, Lord, use me! I’ll be an unlikely hero this Christmas!”
Watch this! Praise Him, Praise Him (Parody of Carol of the Bells) https://youtu.be/v1jh-PT39nw
need hope? “just hold on”