Don’t you love a good adventure story?
You know, the stories that keep you up reading long after you should be in bed. The stories made into movies that you watch repeatedly because they are that good. Years ago I largely stopped reading fiction adventures. Instead, I have maintained steady diet of true-life adventure stories. Stories about Ernest Shackleton and the great explorers. About first ascents, plane crash survivors, and great disasters. Stories about not just surviving great hardships but of accomplishing great achievements.
Christmas is the celebration of just such a bold and daring adventure. Jesus was sent to earth on a vital mission, born a helpless human into a world controlled by those who would kill Him. His childhood was spent at times on the run or more commonly in a hostile social environment. His life and ministry were characterized by risk-taking. His message of yielding to God was at odds with the religious elites and the government minions in Palestine. Enemies gathered around Him, trying to find ways to trip Him up so they could kill Him. Knowing their designs, He sets himself “like flint” to go to Jerusalem, knowing they would kill Him there. Upon arriving He begins boldly proclaiming the truth and exposing the lies of His enemies. His story has all the plot twists, the evil characters, and the close calls of a great novel. Except there is no daring rescue at the end. He willingly goes to His torture and death on a cross. For love. For the higher purpose of redeeming us all.
Risk. Adventure. Non-conformity. All these characterize the Savior of us all, Jesus Christ. He was not wrapped up in the expectations of culture. His mission was not to make men and women nice, well-behaved, un-offending, or safe. His mission was to offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice for us, and to enable us to follow Him, to live in His kingdom. This includes following His example. Living a life like His, a life of risk, adventure, and non-conformity.
Could it be we have lost the true essence of the call of our God upon our lives? I mean, what church today would hire Jesus as a pastor? Few if any, I think.