The kids and I bought Mike a complete set of Star Trek movies on DVDs for his birthday. This has resulted in me having to watch a Star Trek movie per night for the past two weeks. I don’t mind really. Spock quotes Sherlock Holmes in a line that I’ve come to love. With his superior intellect challenged in times when he cannot see the solution, he says, “When you have eliminated the impossible, that which remains however improbable, must be the truth.”
This quote challenged me as I was preparing to write this week’s Monday devotion on Who is your life? There are times in life when things just don’t make sense. Let’s consider the prophecies of Jesus the Messiah. We’re entering the Christmas season so therefore it seems logical (Star Trek humor) for me to begin my introduction of Jesus by what the prophets spoke of Him. These prophecies were all the people at that time would have known to expect. Based on the following passage from Isaiah, they were expecting a king to save them from oppression and restore the grandeur of the Hebrew nation.
Isaiah 9:6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, reestablishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
Isaiah wrote of an eternal King of kings. So then, what went wrong? Jesus was born to a poor family in a manager among animals. He didn’t get whisked away to be raised in the Egyptian king’s household as Moses the first deliverer. He was whisked away to Egypt, but as a refugee. Nothing in His childhood pointed to a promising future as a world leader except at age 12 he stunned the religious leaders with His wisdom. Even His ministry being full of the supernatural was marred by the hatred of His own religious leaders. How then, do we rationalize being the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace with the reality of dying a hideous death on a wooden cross? He was to rule over all the governments from the Throne of David forevermore. Now He is deadand buried in a borrowed tomb. This is not probable.
To add to the confusion or maybe to begin the solution, we return to Isaiah.
Isaiah 52:14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him–his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness.
53:2-5 He grew up before him like a tender shoot and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrow, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed.
How can both extremes be true at the same time? With God all things are possible. Everything hinges on the improbable: He arose! God is the master of the paradox. Death brings life. Death to self is life in Christ. His power is made strong in our weakness. What appears to be bad is in His hands made good. So often our greatest defeats are His greatest victories.
In order for us to know Jesus, we must be willing to see beyond our preconceived ideas. We must allow Him to take us past our confusion to that place of impossibilities where He reigns supreme. One thing I know for sure, with Jesus, there will always be a new astounding, mind-expanding truth to every encounter. Jesus is not what you expect whether you are a first century Jew awaiting a Messiah or a 21st century American searching for peace.
Therefore, next time you’re struggling with something in your life not making sense, pray.
“Jesus show me how You make the improbable probable. Open my heart, mind and eyes so that I can see You be God. Arise and reign supreme in this.”
Stay on your knees for I promise, you will be amazed.
Friends, it’s Thanksgiving week and we are all abundantly blessed. I know you have special plans with your families. So enjoy.
I will not post on Wednesday or Friday. Our family is spending time together and without the intrusion of computers. We’re heading to the mountains and if I have my way, we’ll even leave cell phones behind.