Jesus Understands: Injustice at Birth

The gospel of Luke provide the most historically comprehensive records of the life of Jesus. One of the most obvious examples is his record of the birth of Christ. It’s detailed and gritty. The passage that I find most striking is Luke 2:4-7:

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” (NIV)

If you really stop and think about it, the fact that a woman in labor was turned away from an inn and was forced to give birth in a stable (this detail is insinuated from the mention of the manger, or feeding trough), would be considered a social injustice by today’s standards. Adequate medical care wasn’t available, nor was a safe postpartum environment. In his very first hours on earth, Jesus was faced with significant health risks and an extreme lack of safety. Mary and Joseph did what they could given the circumstance, but the injustice was clear.

I think acknowledgement of these details are important for one reason: Jesus lived through injustice his entire life. When it came to the circumstances of live, He experienced the lowest of situations. He knows the pain, the trauma, and the hardship that comes with social injustice. Poverty, lack of healthcare, corruption, and racism were all things he had to live through.

In the developed world, I think we lose sight of those details. I’ve never personally had social injustice directed my way. If you’re reading this online, there’s a good chance you haven’t experienced much either. I hope that doesn’t change. Through my various travels, I’ve interfaced with hundreds of people who have lived it however. There are millions, if not billions of people who suffer under social injustice on a daily basis. That’s why I think one of the most compelling attributes of Christ is the fact that he actually knows what social injustice feels like. Therefore, anyone who knows Christ and faces injustice can take comfort in knowing that their savior understands. Furthermore, those who know Christ but haven’t faced injustice can carry this message of hope in confidence to those who need it.

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