Job said “naked I was born, and naked shall I depart this world.” It’s a verse oft-quoted at a graveside where somebody notes there ain’t nobody taking it with them. Our earthly goods end at the grave. If there’s anything left of our lives, it’s whatever our kids and anybody else gets to tell.
I wonder if anybody ever thought about Jesus as the man without an inheritance. Think about it. He walked away from his profession around age thirty. The rest is history.
When the Apostle Philip ran beside the chariot of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-40), he saw that the man was pondering the book of Isaiah. The place in the text is noted, because the eunuch can’t understand it. Why would he follow a confusing prophecy about a guy in a bad state of affairs? The passage quoted speaks of the Messiah as the one who would suffer so badly that we would be ashamed even to look at him. Isaiah chapter 53 is oft quoted and should be familiar to our ears.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation?
That’s what jumps out at me: “who shall declare his generation?” Translation: who’s going to make the birth announcement? Nobody, because the guy in the passage had his lineage cut off. Nobody left to tell his story. No kids to visit his grave. Forget about the money part. This guy has no earthly remembrance left behind. Cut off from living memory.
But Scripture is all about reversal. If you have prophecies about the Messiah as suffering servant, the flip side to that is conquering king. In Daniel chapter 7, we see the place where we get the term “Son of Man”. In Daniel’s end-of-days vision, the Messiah comes back to take his rightful place. The suffering is what threw people off. They didn’t expect a plot reversal.
“Behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
Daniel 7: 13-14
Remember that song “What if God was one of us?” The reason we couldn’t recognize Jesus as God, is that he came disguised as one of us. It’s the plot twist where the loser becomes the winner. Jesus didn’t get a regular lineage bearing the family name, he got EVERYBODY. In terms of plot twist how’s THAT for a turnaround? In writing, this kind of story is called a U narrative. It takes us all the way down to the bottom, and then turns a corner and ascends to unexpected victory.
I’m like everybody else, I like a good story. The gospel reads like a war novel where the hero invades enemy territory, is given up for dead, then comes back to save the entire platoon. All that’s foretold about the Messiah, is a story about the guy who comes from behind. In terms of inheritance, Christians get the very best. We get to be part of this story- the Good News. The original turnaround plot, authored by God.