My friend and former colleague, Carl Trueman, has posted some seasonal reflections on the reformation 21 blog. I like this thought in which he underscores the great biblical principle, “Salvation is of the Lord”.
The choice of Abraham, the choice of Isaac, the choice of Moses, the choice of David: in no case did God opt for the strongest or most powerful person in order to accomplish his purposes. He chooses the weak, the marginal, the exiled, the least in the social hierarchy, and thus the glory of their work is not theirs at all – it is his. Then, in the incarnation, we see the supreme example of the Lord using the most unpromising material to achieve his goal. A slip of a girl, a virgin, bears a child; he is born in a stable; he grows up in a minor town in a land of little importance, and that under foreign occupation; as an adult, he lives a life which, outwardly, has all the appearance of an itinerant of no fixed address; he eschews military force; and finally, betrayed by a close friend, he is beaten and crucified; and, even then, he depends upon the generosity of another for his tomb. Every step of the way, salvation is wrought by God, in contradiction of the expectations and standards of this world
Not only does God not regard our human hierarchies of power, wealth, health, and beauty; in the incarnation, he contradicts them. Luther summed this up in terms of the theology of the cross, but that is too restrictive. It is the theology of the virgin conception, the theology of the manger, the theology of the whole Incarnation.