ancient world into which Jesus was born was a pretty rough place.
Life was short. The average lifespan was 40 years.
In the international sphere, Rome was the imperial power that ruled a large part of the known world.
||And yet decay was setting in. A third of the city's population were slaves. The powerful and rich were bored and entertained themselves with blood sports and whatever else they fancied.|
|Life indeed was poor, nasty, brutish and short for many. And so it must have been for the poor shepherds who watched their flocks in the cold Judean night near Bethlehem (Lk. 2:8-20). And to them was announced the good news that the Messiah was born.||The angels appeared and sang about divine glory and human peace. The shepherds went into Bethlehem and found the baby lying in a manger. Though the stable where Jesus was found was the humblest of places, the shepherds knew in their hearts that this was a special baby. They were convinced that what they saw when heaven opened and the angels came, and what they heard were true.|
Shootings, killings, wars what a messy world this is. - CNS picture.
In spite of all the advances in science and technology, and the
depiction of life in glossy brochures and the feeling that we
are in control of our lives, it still appears that we live in
a messy world. Any alien (if there was one) who spent a week
on earth might probably come to that same conclusion.
The apostle John describes the condition of the world as "darkness". Paul, another apostle, describes the human condition as living "without hope and without God in the world". (Eph. 2:12). Imagine reading our newspapers and watching the evening news, without hope and without God in the world. What a terrible and frightening thought!
Jesus the Messiah came to a messy world. He was not afraid of the mess. He did not stay at a safe distance to deal with the mess. He could have tried to save us while remaining safely in heaven. But He came down. "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us." (John 1:14). He emptied Himself and took the form of a servant. He became vulnerable. He touched lepers without gloves. He took on a life of poverty. He had no place to call His own. He did not even carry cash with Him. He experienced what it means to be homeless and poor. He experienced being beaten up violently. He was spat upon and called names. He was stripped and hung on a rough cross to die a public and humiliating death. He knew all about the human mess in this world. He entered the mess as the Messiah.