Not only was Jesus’ human experience humbling, it was humiliating. Born in a barn, judged the illegitimate son of an unvirtuous teen mom, a child refugee with a labouring class father, living in a town of ill repute, any hope of greatness was certainly countered by dubious circumstances. Aside from the events surrounding His birth and the visit to Jerusalem’s Temple at age 12, the first 30 years of Jesus life are couched in mystery and obscurity. His parents were desperately poor, bringing the base rate offering of two pigeons to dedicate their son. The riches from the Magi’s gifts would be depleted during the family’s escape to Egypt. Hints of nobility from a birth in the City of David, the reports of angel choirs and foreign sky-readers seeking a Prince, dissolved with the Boy’s disappearance. The Child grew to adulthood in the backwaters of lower Galilee earning instant disregard by association. Skepticism and disdain drip from Nathaniel’s words recorded in John 1:46 “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” It was not in synagogue schools under established Rabbis but in quiet retreats to wild spaces that Jesus studied the scriptures and nature to gain His spiritual insights. The Creator and Commander of Heaven knew what it was to be a misunderstood and isolated teen.
It takes a lot to become a household name or famous influencer today. Not even 1% of the population could claim this achievement and those who do have the advantage of family reputation, wealth or extraordinary beauty, talent or charm in their favour. There was no promise of the “American dream” dangling in Jesus’ sights. No chance his unique personality, work ethic or dangerous labour would find recognition on a hit reality show like “Deadliest Catch” or “Ice Road Trucker.” Beneath the surface of His human flesh was divine power never once tapped to ease the strain or escape the daily grind. From the manger to the cross, Jesus was well acquainted with human struggle in the face of disadvantages and dismissal. Still He changed the world by His presence and the history of humanity would pivot at His death. It was “for our sake He had become poor, that we “through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9) Jesus faced every day with intention, to share the love and grace in his heart. If we pattern our lives after His, we’ll find our purpose is not dependent on place or prosperity either.
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