Who matters?

I’m working my way through the Gospel of Luke at the moment. Luke is keen to anchor his account in history. So he identifies the rulers of the time. But as David Garland points out,

In Luke’s account, the kings and governors play no direct role in the story’s action and serve only as chronological ciphers (see 3:1 –2) or as those issuing decrees from afar (2:1). Busy with their own affairs, they take no note of the birth of John or of Jesus that will turn their world upside down. 

The vital characters in the story are unknowns: an ordinary priest and his aging wife; a young peasant girl and a Jewish man, who has to register to pay his taxes; shepherds, a despised class; and two prophets, male and female, who hang out in the temple waiting for God’s intervention.

How preoccupied we become with politics and power. As though they are the ultimate reality. How fearful angry and we have become.

Meanwhile, God is working out his purposes. He has his people in place. Ordinary people, far from the corridors of power.

God laughs at the rulers of this world. He has them in the palm of his hand.