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The Wrong One for the Job?

The Wrong One for the Job?

Written by John Stumbo or the C&MA National Office Chapel December 2018

If you did not know who he truly was, you would not think that he was the right person for the job.

The world’s second major war in just a few decades was in full heat. Hitler’s Nazi troops were marching across Europe, raising their flag everywhere their boots landed.

Inside the German government, deeply buried under cloaks of secrecy, were scientists commissioned with the task of developing the weapon of all weapons—a final tool for world dominance: the nuclear bomb. No one had ever created such a monster, but if it could be created, it would put the advancing nation, not only at the leading edge of science but also of world power.

Meanwhile, on American shores arrived two new immigrants: Hungarian scientists, Leo Szilard and Eugene Wigner. They had information that the President of the United States must know, but Franklin D. Roosevelt seemed out of reach to them. German scientists created a nuclear chain reaction making a bomb of such nature possible. This development created an urgent response. They could not allow the Nazi's to advance. Something had to ensue. How could they reach Roosevelt in a manner that he would listen to them? How could they sound the alarm?

Meanwhile on Long Island, was a 60-year-old vacationer poorly navigating a 15-foot sailboat he had whimsically named Tinef, a Yiddish word meaning worthless or junk. The wind in his face, the bob of the boat, the independence, the solitude were all gifts to him.

Despite his brilliant mind for science, he could not put together the correlation between wind, sail, and rudder. More than once, locals had to rescue him, assisting him to shore.

A picture remains of the novice sailor and his watercraft. There he sits cross-legged in blue shorts, a white golf shirt and his ever-unruly hair flopping at the mercy of the very wind he could not control with his sail. 

Most notable in the picture are his shoes. Notorious for never wearing socks in any season, he certainly wasn’t going to do so on the beach. None of the shoes he owned were suitable for sailing life, and so he had wandered into a department store and asked the owner, Ron Rathman, for a pair of sandals. The shopper’s accent was so thick that Ron thought he wanted to buy a sundial. The man pointed to his feet and Ron led him to the shoe section. Ron only sold women's sandals. This sales history made no difference to the shopper. He had come for sandals, and he would leave with sandals and so he did. Simultaneously and more importantly, a friendship formed between the two men and the picture of our windblown sailor in his new sandals also contains Ron in his business suit with socks and men's shoes.

If you did not know him, you would not think that he was the right person for the job—his hair and the boat at the mercy of the wind with shoes no man had ever worn on Long Island before.

However, for those who did know him (or know very well for who he was), he was the perfect man, perhaps the only man for the job. Before he was thirty, as a lowly patent clerk, he had already turned the scientific world upside down overthrowing long-held Newtonian theories and adding more of his own. His brilliant mind, his eccentric winsomeness, his bold political views—with the help of lecture series and newspaper publicity—had turned him into a national celebrity.

He could have access to Roosevelt. The US President would read a letter signed by him.

So it was, that the windblown sailor, a disheveled genius, met on Long Island with Leo and Eugene, the two Hungarians. Convinced by their appeal, he signed the letter to Roosevelt, who took it seriously—it is the first recorded evidence that the President learned of the possibility of a nuclear weapon—and the Manhattan Project launched.  America jumped out in front of the Germans, and you know the rest of the story. Our scientist friend never participated in the development of the bomb, and we may or may not have an opinion about what America did—but, suffice it to say, we are not wearing Swastikas today in part because of none other than Albert Einstein. You may not have selected him as the right one for the job.  

Photo of Einstein and Ron (shoe salesman)

If you did not know Him, you would not think that He was the right one for the job: a king—not just any king—but the King of Kings. A lord, in fact, the Lord of all Lords. A Savior, not just from societies woes or political foes, but from our greatest of enemies: sin, bondage, satan, hell, even death. That is a big job—the biggest one we could ever imagine.

For thousands of years, the faithful had looked to heaven and hoped. Long told and oft-repeated were the promises, 

One is coming who will preach good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, to the captive He will proclaim freedom, to the prisoner, release. He will declare that the year of the Lord’s favor is here, comforting those who mourn…bearing our iniquities, carrying our griefs. O come, o come, Emmanuel (Isaiah 61:1-2; 53: 4).

The story sounds good, who would not long for one such as that? The prophecies about Him were hope-giving. Could there be One coming into the world who could do all of that?

What a magnificent, sensational, and glorious One He must be!  He had to be something mighty to behold…or maybe not?

Mary and Joseph believed—with some help from a few angel visits. Elizabeth believed—she had already experienced her miracle. The shepherds believed—again with some help from angels. The Magi believed—bringing expensive gifts as evidence.  Anna and Simeon believed—being sensitive to the Holy Spirit as they were.

However, most of the people did not; and why would they? I cannot blame them. You would not naturally assume that this son of a teenage peasant, now nestled into a feeding trough, would ever grow to be any different from the masses of people filling the streets of Bethlehem. 

They had gathered in town under Caesar’s order. The took a  census of the commoners (and taxed, no doubt). This newborn was just one number on Rome’s roles. Every hour of every day somewhere in the Roman empire another child was born, and many arrived with far more impressive credentials than the newest Nazarene.

No, if you did not know Him, you would not think that He was the right One for the job. You would have needed a revelation, divine insight.  We would have missed Him, too.

So, it still is today. Many miss the Christ.

His story is nothing more than mythology; like Zeus with lightning bolts, Mercury with wings, or Jesus with a halo. It is all the same. 

His seemingly archaic message is devalued or degraded as hate speech.

His miracles? Ah, the product of an unlearned people in a superstitious culture adding oral traditions and imagination to create a storyline that only the naïve and foolish believe.

Besides, "I do not need a Savior nor am I  looking for One. I do not need salvation from anything; I am fine the way I am, thank you".

Meanwhile, the enemy of their existence marches with uncontested progress across the dry valley of their souls and makes them slaves, while convincing them that they are free.  With every enemy boot-drop their souls become more hardened, their minds more convinced, their wills more determined. They do not, and they will not believe it. 

However, we count ourselves among those who see who He really is, this one who looks lost out on the waves. Yes, His boat looks out of control. No, you would not recognize Him at a glance—but this is just as the prophets had foretold!

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by man. He was like someone from whom people turned away. He was despised, and we did not value Him.

He was easy to miss or misunderstand! He still is today. Until you know or see Him, or understand His authentic story, He does not look like the right one for the role,

That baby in the hay—unlike any other child ever born—came into the world with a backstory, a very long, compelling and beautiful backstory. He was One with the Father and Spirit in heaven. Before Him angels bowed and to Him, they sang. By His Word, He created the world, and by His will, it remained. At His command, visible light appeared and, now, into this world He, the Light had come.

Through Him all things were made; without Him, nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him (Jn. 1:3-5;11-13).

He did not look like the right One then. To many, He still doesn't today.

Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God (Jn. 1:12).


 


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