The Manger Leads To The Cross! A Word from THE WORD!!! #51
“For unto you is born this day
in the city of David
which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you;
Ye shall find the babe
wrapped in swaddling clothes,
lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly host
14 Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace,
15 And it came to pass,
as the angels were gone away from them
the shepherds said one to another,
Let us now go even unto Bethlehem,
and see this thing which is come to pass,
which the Lord hath made known
16 And they came with haste,
and found Mary,
and the babe
lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-16
Just as this amazing news of The Messiah was told to shepherds, they went to see this child and found him “lying in a manger” because “there was no room for them in the inn”; amazed, like the shepherds, we come to the manger during this wonderful season of celebrating Jesus our King! Yet we must not be distracted from the truth that Jesus didn’t stay in that manger. He grew to be the man who was nailed to a cruel Roman cross for my sin and yours! That is why HE came! This precious baby endured the trials of all flesh without sin, HE was/is the perfect “lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”! He came to be born that He could be the perfect sacrifice for sin–He was Born to Die–for our sin, to be raised from the dead, and ascend back to heaven where HE ever intercedes for His own!
“For we have not an high priest
which cannot be touched
with the feeling of our infirmities;
but was in all points tempted
like as we are,
yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly
unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy,
and find grace to help
in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16
Yet, there’s more–more that points us to the pain of the cross, so let’s go back to Luke’s account, and while this is a bit lengthy, I think it worth our time and effort!
“And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem,
whose name was Simeon;
and the same man was just and devout,
waiting for the consolation of Israel:
and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
26 And it was revealed unto him
by the Holy Ghost,
that he should not see death,
before he had seen
the Lord’s Christ.
27 And he came by the Spirit
into the temple:
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus,
to do for him after the custom of the law,
28 Then took he him up in his arms,
and blessed God, and said,
29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant
depart in peace,
according to thy word:
30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31 Which thou hast prepared
before the face of all people;
32 A light to lighten the Gentiles,
and the glory of thy people Israel.
33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled
at those things which were spoken of him.
34 And Simeon blessed them,
and said unto Mary his mother,
Behold, this child is set
for the fall and rising again
of many in Israel;
and for a sign
which shall be spoken against;
35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through
thy own soul also,)
that the thoughts of many hearts
may be revealed.” Luke 2:25-35
Then we see this prophecy played out at the foot of the cross!
“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus
and his mother’s sister,
Mary the wife of Cleophas,
and Mary Magdalene.
26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother,
and the disciple standing by, whom he loved,
he saith unto his mother,
Woman, behold thy son!
27 Then saith he to the disciple,
Behold thy mother!
And from that hour that disciple
took her unto his own home.
28 After this, Jesus knowing
that all things were now accomplished,
that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith,
29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar:
and they filled a spunge with vinegar,
and put it upon hyssop,
and put it to his mouth.
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar,
It is finished:
and he bowed his head,
and gave up the ghost.” John 19:25-30
Like some of you, I have experienced the death of a child, and it is like a sword piercing your heart, leaving a hole that seems to always be there–even when the immediate pain subsides, the hole in your heart is ever-present with you! I can’t imagine the pain that Mary felt, knowing that this was God’s plan for her own salvation; the wonder and questions that flooded her soul, are the same questions that often come to our hearts! BUT GOD! God was working His perfect plan for the redemption of mankind, for all who would repent of their sin and trust in the substitutionary, atoning sacrifice that Jesus offered at Calvary. It’s all about the cross, so don’t linger at the manger and miss the cross, but trust to the sacrifice that this baby came to BE! And as Paul so clearly reminds us, and which I try to convey in all I write and teach:
“And I, brethren,
when I came to you,
came not with excellency of speech
or of wisdom,
declaring unto you the testimony of God.
2 For I determined not to know any thing
save Jesus Christ,
and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-2
And Paul’s words ever resound in my heart as my hope, my goal, and my encouragement! May it ever spark us on to greater hope and victories as we walk in the power of the precious Holy Spirit whom Jesus imparts to each of His own!
“I am crucified with Christ:
nevertheless I live;
yet not I,
but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I now live in the flesh
I live by the faith of the Son of God,
who loved me,
and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
May you draw near to the cross, remembering the greatest gift of all, Who was laid in that manger in Bethlehem; enjoy your celebrations but don’t forget the price that baby came to pay for you and me!
Amen and Amen!!!