Long before any Social Justice Warriors arrived on the scene, God was already busy breaking down all sorts of cultural barriers.
Today’s activist left speaks as though they are the leading edge on inclusivity while the Church sorts us all into neat little categories of ‘us’ and ‘them’. If anything, they have it completely backward.
God had a guest list at that first Christmas that would have broken all kinds of social norms expected of that day and age, especially the norms of the religious ruling class — the Pharisees. We don’t exactly have Pharisees today, but we have an equivalent in our generation that gets every bit as outraged as they did in Jesus’ day.
It’s no secret that today’s far left is a rigid, unforgiving, humorless group ready to throw anyone failing to march lockstep to their latest demands to the wolves. They don’t merely disagree with such a person, they insist on public humiliation and personal destruction.
Just ask Roseanne Barr. Over a single tweet that the left declared damnable, her award-winning (and culturally forward-thinking) sitcom was expunged from history. Her show was canceled, her character killed off, and all of the episodes from the 90s were pulled from circulation.
This ‘cancel culture’ is not so far removed from how the first-century Pharisees treated anyone who broke THEIR moral rules.
The birth of Jesus would have ‘triggered’ the cancel culture of his day every bit as much as Roseanne Barr did hers.
Jesus was, both metaphysically and literally, of royal blood.
He is the direct descendant of King David.
But when the LORD sent word to proclaim the birth of the coming king, who showed up?
Shepherds, Magi, and an unmarried couple expecting a baby were the only featured guests named in this momentous occasion.
Let’s look at them each in turn.
The angels announced the birth of the long-awaited Messiah to Shepherds in the middle of the night. Whether they were actually the social outcasts some claim they are is disputed, but it’s worth noting that they are about as far from being the ruling class as you can get. They aren’t politically powerful like kings, and they didn’t hold any MORAL authority of the educated class and religious elite either.
They’re just simple peasant folk doing their work and living their lives. And God interrupted them in the middle of the graveyard shift.
What about the Magi? Sorry to burst the bubble of any traditionalists, but they probably were NOT ‘Three Kings’.
The magi were probably Persian or Arabian astrologers who charted the stars and attached religious significance to their movements. They were not kings, as is sometimes supposed.
While some have doubted the historicity of this visit, it bears the marks of credibility. Many people in the ancient world believe that stars announced the birth of great people. The Roman historians Suetonius and Tacitus even speak of an expectation that a world ruler would come from Judea.
It is not surprising that Eastern astrologers would see in a particular astral phenomenon the sign of the birth of a Jewish king. — Biblegateway
Pagan foreigners got the news, but the Jewish king and the religious elite did not. (And did we mention ‘pagan’? That’s kind of a big deal to observant First-century Jews.)
We learn that when the king DID find out, he flew into a jealous rage (he wasn’t even Jewish, and understood the significance of this threat to his throne) and slaughtered every male child under two in the region.
This takes us to the uncomfortable fact that Mary and Joseph are unwed parents in a day and age where that is an absolutely scandalous event.
It was hardly a secret, later in the gospels, Jesus was mocked by Pharisees when they said they knew who THEIR fathers were… a not-very-concealed reference to the assumption that Jesus was born a bastard, and Mary was a woman of dubious reputation.
Scripture goes out of its way to affirm the miraculous nature of Jesus’ birth, but that does nothing to lessen the cultural stigma all three had to bear.
Imagine the daily interactions and humiliations Joseph had to put up with since would be assumed to either be ‘raising some other dude’s kid’… or have been married because Joseph couldn’t keep it in his pants.
And that’s the guest list.
Poor, working schlubs stuck with the night shift, foreign pagan religious leaders, and a morally suspect family.
Seems an odd way to kick off a project to redeem all of mankind, doesn’t it? Not really, when you think about it.
This is, after all, the same God that had women be the first witnesses of the Ressurection.
This is the same God who told a parable of going out into the highways and the byways, to compel the poor, the blind, and the lame to come to his wedding feast.
This is the same God who turned a hated ethnic rival with a corrupted version of their religious faith — the Samaritans — into the hero of the story. Who met with a sinful woman who currently shacked up with guy #6, showed his grace and revealed his true mission of redemption to her.
This is a God who is SHOCKINGLY inclusive.
It was HIS holy Scripture that gave us the paradigm-shattering phrase that made true equals of rival factions:
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. —Galatians 3:27-29
It was HIS gospel that led the abolitionist movements.
It was HIS gospel that led the REVEREND Dr Martin Luther King to change the world.
Today’s activist wokescolds don’t just demonize the wrong people — they don’t even have the self-awareness to realize whose ‘Inclusive’ morality they borrowed.
And they would be seriously offended by him if he had come in their generation.
Maybe instead of tax collectors and sinners, he’d be meeting with such scandalous people as coal miners or oil field workers and maybe even investment bankers.
You know, the sort of people that TODAY’S Pharisees would look down at as the scum of the earth.
The point of Jesus hanging with even the most scandalous of people is to show just how inclusive his offer and forgiveness and redemption really is… you just need to accept it on HIS terms and not the terms you WISH he had offered.