Here's this week's Bible study post:
Stories of unlikely heroes, unlikely champions, and even unlikely happy endings make for the best books and films. The story of a likely winner who ends up . . . winning doesn’t have the ability to hold an audience. Just think if the main character in “Rudy” had been a star football player who simply wanted to play well. Or what if the character of Neo in "The Matrix" had always known exactly what to do to defeat the machines? Good storytelling needs an underdog and a victory to give the audience what they want.
In Jesus there’s a true, and great, underdog story. In this week’s reading from John 1:1-18, Jesus is described as the one who is most important, yet who takes on the role of the unknown underdog. It’s a familiar view of Jesus, present in his rejection in his hometown in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It’s also a familiar story of an anointed one, echoing the words of an underdog savior found in Isaiah 50-53.
The question I have through all of this is, however, why couldn’t Jesus have been someone who is the savior of the world without being an underdog? Is it because by becoming a suffering human he is better able to identify with all those who suffer? Is it because if he had been a person of wealth or power on earth that no one would ever believe that he came to bring good news to the poor?
Or is it maybe because God gets good storytelling better than humankind ever could?