A Lesson on Fulfillment

Are you easily convinced? Or the skeptical type?

One of the things that keeps me from going off the rails from the Christian beliefs I hold is that my skepticism is met with the strangest and truest-feeling evidence.

Over and over again the stories around Jesus, his arrival, his teachings, his sufferings and death, and the movement described after his departure--they all seem to have an unfaked quality. A compelling oddness. They didn’t seem to get passed through the senior editor’s desk.

One of those is the story of the visiting astrologers that we refer to as the “three kings.” They wouldn’t be the type to validate a first century Jewish appetite for a spiritual figurehead. They would be considered outsiders, gentiles, unclean, irreligious and unacceptable before God. It just doesn’t feel like the kind of welcoming party you would include in a story you were attempting to use to validate a religion in that place at that time.

This happens over and over for those of us who have given the Jesus stories a real listen. We find ourselves in gritty, human, unpredictable descriptions about someone that lived and breathed with qualities that people found utterly unexpected and wonderful.

It would be wrong for the skeptical type to go first to the church and see if holes can be found. You will find massive chasms. Hypocrisy abounds. All manner of human shenanigans are there to confirm your greatest suspicions and cynicism.

Don’t start there. Start with the stories those people claim as their foundation. Who was this child born to a teenage virgin in a barn, visited by shepherds and foreign magi, inherited by a man whose DNA didn’t match?