I’ve had a chance to think about this a lot over the past couple of weeks. A little over a week ago I was having this terrible burning feeling in my lower back. At the end of the day I decided to try to stretch out as best I could before I called it a night. Big mistake! I woke up the next morning and I couldn’t walk, couldn’t even sit up without excruciating pain. Seems like my attempt to relieve the burning pain in my back by stretching and twisting only led to more intense pain the next day. (Too many water balloon wars, roller coasters, and laser tag outings for this old fossil.
Anyway, the next day, while my pain meds attempted to soothe my angry nerve endings, I drifted off to sleep with that “why me” question still ringing in my ears. Why me? Good question. Why not me?? Probably a better question? Years of trying to act like you’re still a kid, when you’re clearly not, will catch up to you sooner or later. But what happens when your pain isn’t caused by something you’ve done? Think about someone who might have uttered those same words about 2000 years ago.
Think of Joseph. You know, the father of Jesus of Nazareth. (Sorry, the step-father of Jesus…. right?) Do you suppose he said a couple of “why me” statements throughout his life? First … why me? I’m just a carpenter. Why would you pick me to care for Jesus? Why Mary? She was just an ordinary young Israelite girl. Why bring Jesus into the world in such a humiliating way? Why the king of the universe beginning his earthly walk as the son of an unwed mother? Didn’t it look that way to her family? To her community? Even to Joseph at first? Why? Why? Why?
I’m sure you could add a half dozen or more questions to this list. So why did God choose to bring about his fulfilling promise of salvation in this way?
Well, for one thing, who could this king NOT redeem? After all, He was born to about the lowest of people in what would have been considered one of the most degrading circumstances. The family of Jesus would have had to live with ridicule all their lives. Mary would have been an unwed mother, unless the angel had not visited Joseph to convince him otherwise. Perhaps they were falsely accused or maybe laughed at or spit on. At the very least, Joseph and Mary would have been looked down on by most. Maybe that’s why there was no room for them in Bethlehem…. No room for THEM. Those people.
Why me? Why not me?? Maybe that’s a better question? Why not use a poor innocent girl and a God- fearing young man to do the impossible task of caring for the Savior. They had to care for him while he was teething. They had to watch in wonder as he waddled through this messy world, experiencing all the pain, filth, misconception, loneliness and brokenness that any or all of us might go through at some time in our lives. Maybe this was the only real way to save the world.
When Jesus came to this earth as a tiny baby, He came to get something. He didn’t come here for the fame or fortune that so many of us sacrifice everything to possess. He didn’t come here to be liked or loved. His purpose wasn’t to be spit on, cursed, ridiculed or praised. He came to pick up a package that had been waiting for him from the ancient days. He came for the one package no one else could sign for. He came for my sins, and yours. He came for all the sins you and I might inadvertently or willingly do, past, present, and future. He didn’t love us because we were worthy, but because He was worthy. And sometimes, often, it’s not until we’re flat on our backs unable to do anything but pray, that we remember the answer to that “why me” question. It’s because He decided long ago, that when this world is over, or our bodies have finally rung out their last breath, to prepare a beautiful place for all those who would take Him at his word. He didn’t come to steal anything from this earth. He came to get that which was His own. He came for you, and He came for me.
“For God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:17
Why Me? Why You? Because we are His children, and He wants ALL of us to one day come home. During this Christmas season, if you or a loved one, a family member or friend, does not know for certain that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, don’t wait any longer to get those questions answered. He came for the rich, the poor, the blessed and the broken-hearted. He came for us all. He wants to exchange the sins you and I carry and the penalty for those sins, with grace and forgiveness, with eternal life and peace.
The only why left to ask, is “Why not me”? What could possibly be worth more than your very life? Jesus was willing to set aside all His power and glory to humiliate himself on account of your sin and mine. It’s as if God the Father wrote on Jesus; Gossip, Liar, Bigot, Cheater, Adulterer, Murderer, Idolater, and every other vile, abusive trait we have mustered the courage to produce in our humanness. You might say, He poured out all of His wrath on Jesus that day, punishing him for the sins we chose to pursue. If that doesn’t bother us, then we’ve forgotten ‘why’ we need a savior. So, why not you? Why not me? Why not that friend or neighbor? Let them know that this gift of freedom IS free, but it wasn’t cheap. After all He’s done for you, why not come home?
God’s most precious gift at Christmas is His forgiveness and grace. It has your name on it. Pick it up. It reads, to: _______________, from: Your Father, forever. Welcome Home.