Let’s imagine you want to buy two pounds of Golden Delicious apples. Unfortunately, you are too busy to go to the grocery store yourself, so you send your son to buy the apples. Now, suppose that instead of going to the grocery store and buying the apples, your son goes out and finds a dozen strangers, tells these dozen strangers several stories about the types of food you enjoy eating, and then tells the strangers to go out and buy you some food. Does it seem very likely that they will buy you two pounds of Golden Delicious apples?
Now, let’s imagine you are God. Imagine you have realized (in your infinite wisdom) that the laws of the Old Testament aren’t working very well, so you decide to make a new covenant with the people of earth. Unfortunately, you are too busy to go to earth and tell them this new covenant yourself, so you send your son, Jesus. Now, suppose that instead of just going to earth and telling the people of earth what you want written in this new covenant, your son goes out and finds a dozen strangers, tells these dozen strangers various stories about the type of new covenant you want, and then tells the strangers to go out and, in their own words, communicate your new covenant to the people of earth. Does it seem very likely that they will accurately communicate this new covenant?
Have you ever played the game of Telephone? The game of Telephone consists of making a line of people, whispering a story to the first person in line, having that person whisper the story to the second person in line, having that person whisper the story to the third person, etc., until the story reaches the last person in line. The last person in line then tells the story out loud so everyone can hear, and then the original story is read out loud so everyone can compare the original story to the story that reached the end of the line. There’s a good chance the story has changed a lot.
So, here’s my question: why did God play a game of Telephone by sending his son to earth, having his son find a dozen strangers to tell God’s new covenant to, and then having those dozen people go out and communicate God’s new covenant to the people of earth? Wouldn’t it have made a whole lot more sense for God to simply communicate his new covenant directly to the people of earth? Couldn’t God have…oh, I dunno…just broadcast his voice over the entire planet, so everyone could hear directly what God wanted in his new covenant? Why all the hassle and delay of conceiving a son, raising that son to be without sin, putting that son through all sorts of tribulations with pharoah, crucifying that son on a cross, raising that son from the dead, etc.? Why not just go straight to the people and tell them what you want? Indeed, wouldn’t that have made a much bigger impression on us earthlings — everyone on the planet suddenly hearing the same voice (in each person’s own language) with the same message? People would have been asking each other, “Hey, did you hear that voice? Yeah, I did, too. Wow, there’s no doubt about it now — God really exists, and now we know just what he wants!”
But even if God didn’t want to go that route, why didn’t he at least have Jesus write his own book of the Bible: the autobiographical gospel of Jesus? If God wanted a written record of the life of Jesus and of the new covenant that God wanted to create, then why not simply have Jesus write it? Wouldn’t that have made a lot more sense than playing an elaborate game of Telephone with a dozen strangers?
I can tell you one thing: if I were God, I’d have gone directly to the people with a nice speech…maybe some fireworks for entertainment…helium balloons for the kids…maybe even a fancy PowerPoint presentation highlighting the main features and benefits of my new and improved covenant. Sure would be easier than raising a son to do the job for me.