Sunday, December 20, 2020

From Heaven to the Manger: God the Creator Born as a Baby

No copyright infringement intended
Somebody shared this wonderful insight: Jesus became flesh on His own volition and lived among us! And without ceasing to be God, He became a human being like us. This is the main reason whenever we display a manger. 

The apostle Paul explained it this way: Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:5-7. NKJ). In a nutshell, Jesus, the Creator of everything, came as a baby, born in a poor stable and grew up in a poor carpenter’s home. From a spiritual standpoint, Jesus came as a poor man to make us rich: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9, NKJ).

Why does the manger's story matter now? Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, Micah accurately prophesied Christ’s birthplace and His preexistence: But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times (Micah 5:2).

Let me share specific reasons why the manger matter today. Primarily, the manger matters because of the revelation of Jesus and His incarnation. John Stott shared, “If Jesus was not who the apostles say he was, then he could not of done what they say he did. The incarnation is indispensable to the atonement.” Read the lyrics of “God rest ye merry, gentlemen” and you’ll know what I mean: 

God rest ye merry, gentlemen

Let nothing you dismay

Remember Christ our Savior

Was born on Christmas Day

To save us all from Satan’s power

When we were gone astray

O tidings of comfort and joy

Comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy

Next, the manger matters because this is how we understood the revelation of God’s plan of salvation for humanity. Jesus became the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world as John the Baptist proclaimed (John. 1:29). Most importantly, becoming part of humanity is an unavoidable circumstance in fulfilling God’s plan of salvation. This message of hope was fulfilled in the birth of Christ and the establishment of His eternal kingdom as you read the lyrics of “Hark! The herald angels sing” and you’ll understand what I mean:

Hark! The herald angels sing

"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!

Hail the Son of Righteousness!

Light and life to all He brings

Ris'n with healing in His wings

Mild He lays His glory by

Born that man no more may die

Born to raise the sons of earth

Born to give them second birth

Hark! The herald angels sing

"Glory to the newborn King!"

Finally, the manger where Jesus laid as a baby in the manger became an indicator of His nature, as the God-Man and His purpose, as the Messiah of Humanity. Rather than coming to earth with pomp and majestic arrival, the King of Creation and God's own Son chose His birth among the animals in a stable, having lowly shepherds from the fields, as His first visitors. However, this humble God-Man would grow up to one day sacrificing His life on a cross for sinners, rise again, and then return to His Father's side in power and glory. Thus, from a woman’s womb and a manger, the story of God’s salvation started. The story began in Genesis, fulfilled in a manger and God’s plan of salvation through the birth of Jesus unfolded. From the manger, Jesus started His journey towards the Cross of Calvary. Billy Graham summarized it wonderfully: The very purpose of Christ's coming into the world was that He might offer up His life as a sacrifice for the sins of men. He came to die. This is the heart of Christmas.

Let’s talk again!