The Usual Suspects

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         If the game show category were “Famous Parents,” you know Joseph and Mary would make the cut. Chosen to raise the Son of God from infancy to the cross of our salvation — what an honor to be selected for such a prestigious position. Some religions even elevate the parents to the highest ranks of spiritual status, right under God Himself.

         We sing the songs of the beautiful town of Bethlehem and the honor of the shepherds to be the first to hear the proclamation of the birth of the Messiah.  Understandably, kings would come find the baby and bring Him precious and valuable gifts! They seemed to be the only ones in the story who even come close to the honor due this occasion.

         Many have speculated as to the anonymity and ordinariness of Mary and Joseph and of shepherds and small-town stables. I know I have. The King of the Jews should have been born in a palace. The Son of God should have had all the luxuries this world could offer. The most renown prophets should have been given the news to proclaim to the world. But we know that is not how the story happened.

         Satan is not omnipresent. He is not spirit and he is not all-knowing. Satan knew as much about the prophecy as the people of the day knew and they all expected the Son of God to come with great fanfare. It stands to reason that Satan was watching for the coming of Messiah for another reason — he wanted to thwart God’s plan and destroy the representative he knew was coming.

         Perhaps the mystery of prophecy was not meant to be confusing but rather to give the plan an outline and not a black and white target of certainty. God did not give the world an exact date and time for a reason. Satan read the signs and set up his minions to observe the usual suspects — religion and government.

         Think about it — no one knew who, where and when the Messiah would come; and because of this, they were able to bring this baby into the world quietly and under the radar. The least likely place and the least likely ones to receive the announcement and revelation to the kings of a faraway land, all kept the now vulnerable Son of God safe. When the head of government became aware of the birth of a king, so did the forces of evil. 

         Matthew 2:16 says, “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the Wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the male children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under…”

         You can blame Herod for his arrogance and jealousy, but I see the fingerprints of Satan.

         I know we wish we knew more about Jesus as a child and Jesus as young man, but had His early life been anything but nondescript, then Satan and his followers would have also been on the attack. We see Satan work through religion and government because those are the two greatest areas of influence for a society. God knew these would be the usual suspects and He used those same arenas to make the way of salvation for all of us!

         While the religious leaders thought they were destroying a heretic and the government thought they were removing an instigator — God knew He was paying the payment for sin and eliminating the power evil has over all those who would accept His beloved Son.