Discovering the Christ

Day 1

New Delhi

Since I’m in India I got a twelve-hour head start on our 61 Days of Discovery. This morning I had breakfast in the veranda of the Imperial Hotel and after breakfast I read Matthew 1 and 2 slowly over three cups of coffee. Here are some of my thoughts…

It seems the New Testament opens in an absolutely underwhelming way, at least according to our modern sensationalist way of thinking. No screaming headlines: MESSIAH HAS COME! Instead the greatest story ever told opens with a genealogy — the 42 generation record establishing the royal bloodline of Jesus and authenticating Him as the Son of Abraham, the Son of David. We tend to think individually, but God thinks generationally.

It’s very easy to read this genealogical record without thinking; you can read it in one minute. But it took 2,000 years to happen. And it’s not 42 names, its 42 lives (84 really). Think about the first three words of the second verse of the New Testament: “Abraham begot Isaac.” You can read it in one second, but it took a lifetime to live! How much faith, hope, pain, sorrow, disappointment, struggle and long years of just plain living it took to be able to say, “Abraham begot Isaac”! The purposes of God are accomplished through human lives, not by abstract plans.

And who do we find in the genealogy of Jesus? We find patriarchs and kings and heroes and reformers. We also find the obscure and the unknown. We also find murderers and adulterers and prostitutes and wicked despots. And so it is that God accomplishes His purposes through (and despite) the good, the bad and the ugly that is the human condition. Which is another way of saying there’s hope for you and me.

Some other thoughts:

I noticed how both of the famous Josephs of the Bible were dreamers. In Matthew 1 and 2 Joseph has four dreams (in three, angels speak to him and in the fourth, God Himself speaks to Joseph).

I noticed that we find four prophets whose prophesies are finally fulfilled: Isaiah’s prophecy of the virgin birth, Micah’s prophecy of Bethlehem, Hosea’s prophecy of the Christ being called out of Egypt and Jeremiah’s prophecy of the slaughter of the innocents. It seems God always assigned the most grievous prophecies to the weeping Jeremiah — but this too is part of the story.

Since I am the East right now I particularly noticed that a delegation of wise men from the East came to discover the Christ. After the Resurrection, the gospel began to move predominately westward; but now the time has come for the East to discover the Christ. And it is happening!

So the Gospel comes differently than we might suppose. It does not come with sensation and glamour and it does not come through peace and perfection alone. Instead it comes through real human lives and quietly moves through long periods of apparent nothingness and it comes through lives that are so far from perfect that it seems impossible that God could use them and it comes even in the midst of the most horrific tragedies — but it comes!

So I am encouraged this morning by the discovery of a realistic perception of how the purposes of God are accomplished. And so I am persuaded that if I stay connected to God by the tether of faith, His purposes will be accomplished in my life.

I’m spending the day preparing messages and meeting with two or three people. I check out of the hotel at 9:00 tonight. Then I’ll spend the next 22 hours in airports and on airplanes. I’ll write my March 2 blog during the 16 hour flight from New Delhi to New York and I will try to post it when I reach New York (if possible).