Today, we have a Rebel Commando with the Advent calendar. The Rebel Commando was a special forces personnel, first seen in Return of the Jedi. They accompanied Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia to Endor to help disarm the shield generator operating for the second Death Star.
Other than being out-performed and saved by a primitive tribe of short, pseudo wookies on Endor, the Rebel Commandos were good. (Or not.) They kind of just took up space, and did nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, your Rebel Alliance Special Forces!
Unfortunately, many of us can often be like the Rebel Commando.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”
–Matthew 2:1-8 (ESV)
What’s amazing to me about this passage is the response of the Jewish leaders and community-at-large. After centuries of history and prophecies of a coming Messiah and King, you have a tangible sign that something may be coming to fruition. What is their response? Nothing.
Who are the ones that pursue Jesus, pursue a God they don’t know intimately like the Jewish leaders? The Magi, who some consider astrologers. Primitive, and yet who are the ones that found Jesus? The Magi.
The Jewish leaders even identify where the baby would be born, and they do nothing. They don’t even send a team, or an emissary, to check on the situation. They are more than content to align with Herod out of self-interest.
You expect Herod’s response, and the Magi’s faith is challenging and inspiring, but the cold response of the Jewish leaders should give us pause. How many of us know the truth and teachings of Jesus, and yet we are content to go with the flow of the world around us? Out of self-interest, and not wanting to endure scorn, we slink back. We do nothing despite the truth we know, and we just take up space in this life.
In the end, who do we know that showed up at Jesus’ birth? Some foreigners looking at the stars, and some shepherds low on the unspoken caste system. The rest of Jerusalem? Minding their own business. All talk, no action with responding to or following Jesus.
This Christmas season, may we pursue the King like the Magi did even if we don’t fully understand what it means. Because if we do, I believe God will reveal himself more to us.