2010-12-16 - Moving the Pieces Across the Board
Luke 2:4-6 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. (NASB)
If the idea of a trip alone to Bethlehem when Mary was expecting her baby any day was crazy enough, then the idea of taking her with him was unthinkable. But Micah 5:2 said that Messiah would be born there. And so the timing of the census called for by Caesar Augustus was perfect. Joseph and Mary would go to Bethlehem and arrive in time for Jesus' birth to complete the prophecy made four centuries before. Another move of the board of history was completed.
The wise men from the Persia were probably preparing to be on their way though they would not arrive for 18-24 months. They knew the prophecy left from the the Jewish captivity in the time of Daniel and had seen the promised sign. The star that was the sign of the new king that hung over Israel. Another facet of the promise fulfilled. Daniel ruled and advised the kings of that great empire with such wisdom and insight as he followed his Lord that the legacy remained centuries later. Israel's captivity, this move on the chess board of history, was part of the plan.
Just like any chess master there was a plan behind the bold moves. God had clearly invaded the territory the enemy of our souls had claimed. The enemy moves Herod stirred by jealousy to send soldiers to murder children under the age of two in his vain effort to retain his throne. Nothing surprises God. He created time and space that we live inside with its restrictions. He lives outside knowing the end from the beginning of each thought, act or story. He sees our hearts more clearly that we can know them. God had warned the Magi not to inform Herod of Messiah's location as the little family fled to Egypt to wait until God would remove Herod from the throne. Move and counter-move.
The pieces continue to move to this day and hour. Who crosses our path at this time of year that needs to know the saving grace of Messiah? The longer I live the more and more I see the hand of God moving these pieces. From the hour that Jesus was born the end-game was never in doubt. Jesus had come to give us a clear picture of the heart of God and to walk the streets of Jerusalem carrying a cross and die in our place. This was the only way to satisfy the unflinching Law that required perfection that we are not capable of achieving - to love God with all our hearts, and to love our neighbor as ourselves at all times in our thoughts and actions.
The game moves toward a close - one step closer every day. As Jesus has touched our lives whose life will we touch? What impact will our words and actions have on those around us? Few things are as inconsequential as we might think.
The pieces continue to move. Selah.
Grace & Peace,