“An Unlikely Cast of Characters”
Throughout the story of Scripture, the Lord uses unlikely people to accomplish his purposes in the world. In Jeremiah 39, we read of God’s promise to preserve the life of Ebed-melech, the Ethiopian eunuch who serves in King Zedekiah’s house, even as King Zedekiah and his officers face a tragic end when Jerusalem finally falls to the Babylonians. Why is the Gentile Ebed-melech spared while the Jewish ruling class is decimated?
Jeremiah 39:18 states that Ebed-melech is saved because he trusted in the Lord. Ebed-melech displayed his trust in the Lord back in Jeremiah 38, when he risked his own life by pleading with the king to spare Jeremiah by delivering him from the cistern that would have surely been his grave apart from Ebed-melech’s intervention. What ultimately matters is not a person’s ethnicity or position of power, but whether a person will trust in the Lord.
The story of Jesus’ birth reminds us of this same truth. In the people who are featured in the story of Jesus’ entry into the world, it is the most unlikely folks who trust in God’s ability to accomplish salvation through the baby born in the Bethlehem manger. Elizabeth was barren and advanced in years, Mary was a virgin, the shepherds were outcasts who made a living on the fringes of society, and the wise men were foreigners from the east who came and bowed their knees to King Jesus. This hodge podge of humanity, composed of Jews and Gentiles alike, would not have been the folks voted most likely to be used by God. However, what mattered most was not their resume, but whether they would trust in God’s provision.
This Christmas, you may be someone who occupies a position of authority in this world or you may feel like you are an outcast overlooked by everyone in the world. But, what matters is not where you are from or what you have accomplished in this world. What is most important to the Lord is whether you have placed your trust in God and received the free gift of salvation he offers to all who will place their faith in Jesus Christ.