Many of us have ambitions to be used by God in incredible ways. But just as many of us feel like we’re not exactly incredible people.
We often fall into the trap of thinking that in order to do extraordinary things we need to be extraordinary people. And since I’m not an extraordinary person, maybe I won’t ever be used by God to do the extraordinary.
But I’m here to tell you that being an extraordinary person is way overrated.
Jesus didn’t come for the extraordinary. Jesus came to use the nobodies of the world.
Here are 5 facts that illustrate to us that Jesus came for the nobodies of this world.
1. The first people to hear that Jesus had come were not well respected.
When Jesus was born, there wasn’t a whole lot of fanfare. He was born in the crowded home of family members, on an ordinary night, under fairly ordinary circumstances. (If you don’t believe me on this one, check out our previous post about it here.)
The story of Jesus’ birth wouldn’t necessarily be featured on the news. There was no discernible intrigue.
But it was the most incredible thing the world would ever see! Someone needed to be told.
So God sent a host of angels to tell some people in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. But who they chose to tell is very interesting. The angels didn’t go to the mayor of the city. They didn’t go to the most influential members of the community. They didn’t go to the people in town who had an incredible Instagram following. They went to shepherds in the field.
That was an interesting choice for one simple reason: no one respected shepherds.
Shepherds were uneducated and not particularly skilled. They were typically young people whose parents sent them out to tend to the flock to keep them out of trouble. And if not young people, shepherds were older people who weren’t able to do any kind of hard labor anymore.
These were not the movers and shakers of the world. And yet these were the very first people to know that God took on human flesh. The long awaited Savior had come to their little town.
Jesus’ entrance into this world was so ordinary that no one even noticed it. The only way anyone did notice was by a host of angels literally coming from heaven to tell them. And the people to whom the angels came to tell were not the noblest or most impressive people in the community. They were nobodies. This was Jesus’ target audience.
2. Jesus’ family was working class.
We can know that Jesus came for the nobodies because, for most of his life, he lived as a nobody. He was not raised in an influential family. His father was a carpenter. He would soon follow in those footsteps. He grew up under the same conditions as any working class family in the area.
Think about that. Jesus is the King of all creation. Even as he became fully human, he was still fully God. He was actively holding the universe together. And yet, he still did the same mundane chores as all the other kids. He went through all the same life events as an ordinary person. He worked in the job that his father did before him. Nothing of his early life seemed to be anything other than ordinary.
Jesus was not a man of means. When he was born, his mother took him to the temple to be dedicated. And it was traditional for the parents of the newborn to offer a sacrifice. So Mary and Joseph offered a sacrifice of two small birds.
Why is that significant? If you go back and look at the book of Leviticus, where God instituted this tradition, you’ll notice that different people were to give different offerings, based on their level of wealth. Two small birds was the smallest offering you could give.
This means that Mary and Joseph were not wealthy. They did not have means. Jesus entered into a life of poverty, even though he created and owns all the wealth in the world.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
3. Jesus was from a town that nobody cared about.
Jesus was from a small town that nobody was impressed with. When Nathanael, who would eventually become one of Jesus’ twelve apostles, first heard about Jesus, he actually got hung up on the fact that Jesus was from Nazareth. He said, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” The implication being, “Of course not!”
And his friend Philip didn’t really have much to counter with. He didn’t even try to defend Jesus’ hometown. He just said, “Well, come and see.” As it turns out, Nathanael was wise to take Philip up on the offer.
Nazareth is such an insignificant city that no Old Testament writer ever mentions it. It isn’t even really brought up among the writings of ancient historians or geographers. The city was significant for one reason alone: Jesus lived there. Among the nobodies of history.
4. Jesus’ own community rejected him.
For a town that didn’t have much going for it, you might expect the people of Nazareth to recognize greatness when they saw it. You would think that they would be easily impressed. Maybe that was true. But they sure didn’t find Jesus to be impressive.
One Sabbath, he went into the synagogue to teach, and was given the scroll of Isaiah. Here’s what he read:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
After reading these words, Jesus sat down to deliver his message. And the message was this: “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Can you imagine? This is what the people had been waiting for!
But then the people realized who they were talking to. Wasn’t this Joseph’s son? Wasn’t this the carpenter’s boy? The ordinary kid from our ordinary town? They weren’t buying it.
Not even Jesus’ friends and family believed in what he came to do. Jesus knows what it’s like to be rejected, disregarded, and mocked by the people closest to him.
5. The people Jesus chose to lead his church were very ordinary.
The people that Jesus chose to lead his movement were vitally important. After Jesus completed his ministry and ascended into heaven, his followers would carry out his mission. They needed to be the right people.
When you think about it, Jesus made some strange choices for his leaders.
In Jesus’ posse, there was a tax collector–which was basically a political traitor that nobody in the community liked. There was a Zealot–someone in a political party that probably wanted nothing more than to get in a fistfight with a tax collector. There were a bunch of uneducated fishermen. And influential among the Jesus movement were many women, which was not exactly a badge of honor in the first century world.
This was something of a motley crew. This isn’t exactly the all-star team you would put together if you intended to change the world. Which is exactly what Jesus came to do.
But these were Jesus’ people. And change the world they did. In fact, they were known to turn the world “upside down” (Acts 17:6).
In the end, everything Jesus did shows us that you don’t have to be extraordinary in order to be a part of something extraordinary. Because it doesn’t matter who you are. It only matters who you put your faith in.
Jesus came for the nobodies. Because, to him, they aren’t nobodies. They are his people. They are his beloved. They are the people he will use to see his kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.