By Alan Bailey
The wonder we feel when looking at a new-born baby is perhaps the potential of its life. All being well, there stretches before this little bundle decades of living out a unique existence.
In older times, relatives would make their suggestions about his or her career. Long fingers meant a pianist, for example. Looking at his first-born, poet C J Dennis wrote in The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke, "I think we orta make him something great, A bookie or a champion heavyweight, A callin' that will give him room to spread, A fool can see he's got a clever head."
About 2000 years ago, an old man called Simeon held a baby boy in his arms, saying that the child would have a far-reaching influence on his nation and meet with significant opposition. How true his words would prove to be! The baby was Jesus.
An array of opinions
In the district in which He grew up, Jesus caused a stir by the claims He made about Himself. But the crowds concluded "He's just the son of a carpenter." Just one of us. Yet His powerful words were accompanied by powerful deeds – healing and even raising the dead. Extraordinary!
Then others said that He must be a deceiver, a magician fooling the crowds with clever stunts. But how far out was that idea! He undoubtedly exercised supernatural powers. Lives were blessed, and people were forever grateful. A deceiver does not change the lives of others for the better, turning thieves and liars into upright citizens.
So some leaders came up with the accusation that He was in league with the devil! Yet all that Jesus did was good. He challenged His critics to point out sin in His life and they couldn't. A sinless man doing all He did to the glory of God doesn't fit their accusation. The lengths people will go to avoid the truth!
Another opinion was that He was simply deluded or self-deceived. Well, that does not match with the wisdom He showed in all He did and said. Never did He lose an argument, never was He embarrassed, never caught out. On the other hand, He was always loving, understanding of others, willing to suffer and die in the place of sinners.
No man-made category fits
The commentators then and now try to place Jesus in a category other than the correct one. He simply doesn't fit whatever they come up with. His own claims stand firm. He said He was one with the Father (John 10:30), that He was Saviour of the world (John 14:6), and the Judge of all mankind (John 5:22). Great claims indeed! But there He fits, and His death and resurrection substantiate the truth of it all.
So, this Christmas, give Jesus the honour He truly deserves.