Leave it to the Naked Pastor (David Hayward at http://www.nakedpastor.com) to boil it down to the essence.
Jesus wasn’t born to a prosperous family in a McMansion in a manicured suburban neighborhood or gated community, much less anything like a rich family in a Trump Tower in a great New York-ish-type city.
The gospel of John tells us that Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
“Nazareth???!!! Are you kidding me? Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (See John 1:43-51 here.)
The vulnerable Jesus was born in a no-count backwater place, far from any important trade center or route, in a barnyard, no less, to humble parents who were on the lam as homeless folks for a good long time.
That’s the essence of the birth and incarnation story. The Messiah wasn’t the sword-wielding, Roman-killing King David type that everyone was expecting the Messiah to be.
Jesus was this vulnerable child, reared by humble parents, who grew up to be a rabbi who definitely didn’t fit the strongman savior profile.
That’s not to suggest that he wasn’t strong; he was the strongest and most fearless man who ever lived.
But certainly not strong and fearless in the sense of some kind of cartoonish American action figure.
He was born in a humble and vulnerable setting.
And then, he died willingly on a piece of wood in what in his Jewish faith was considered the most scandalous and humiliating way to die. A Messiah hung on a cross was unthinkable–a scandal. The Jews regarded a cross as the Roman version of a tree and this was their law:
“Utterly cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” (Deut. 21.23).
Utterly cursed. Wow.
Anyone in biblical times tortured and crucified was not just being punished by the Romans as a criminal–he was considered a sinner cursed by God Himself/Herself.
We find strength and salvation in our weakness, our vulnerability, not in our using money or power or even the Bible like some kind of sword.
That there weren’t any armed people puffed up with power in the barnyard outside the Inn speaks volumes about the birth, life, ministry, and death of our Lord.