There is nothing that I can do that no one else can do. There are a couple of things that I can do better than most. There are a lot of things I can do that countless numbers can do better than me. There are a lot of things others can do that I can’t do at all. But I can’t think of anything that I can do that no one else can do.
My guess is that you’re the same as me in this regard. It’s sort of a humbling thought. If I were to disappear, there is someone somewhere who has the capacity to do whatever it was that I was doing, to contribute where I was contributing to society, to church, even to my family. They might even do it better than I was doing it. There may be a sense in which this reality takes the pressure off, but I tend to find it a little disappointing.
As a culture, the idea of having a capacity that no one else has captivates us both individually and corporately, even if the captivation is only vicarious. It is why I stay glued to the TV during the Olympics. It is why superhero movies are so successful. It is why we are so quick to make celebrities out of people, only to drop them for the next “latest and greatest.”
But this is all an echo, a shadowy resonance of something deep in our souls and so ancient it would be impossible to diagnose if Scripture didn’t tell us what it was.
The One who made us in His image and for Whom we are made is the only one who has the capacity to reconcile us to Himself. And just in case we might doubt God’s uniqueness in this regard, He begins the lineage of His incarnate Son with Abraham and Sarah, a man aged to impotence and his elderly barren wife. The history of our salvation truly is His-Story, for the seed of the family tree takes root where only the Creator could speak life into it. It is impossible, even laughable, as we see in both Abraham’s and Sarah’s reaction to the thought. But God makes it happen.
He would make an impossible birth happen again, many generations later in that same family, as the Holy Spirit would overcome a young virgin named Mary, who would bear the Son of God to life. So the beginning and the climax of salvation history both occur through otherwise impossible birth scenarios, made possible through the only One who has the capacity to save.
Just as He initiated the covenant with Abraham and just as He sent the angel to Mary without her bidding, so He has initiated salvation in us apart from any capacity that we might wrongly imagine ourselves to possess. Salvation is something I cannot do, but thanks be to God, He can.