The Promised One had finally come but the world did not herald His appearing. The angels of Heaven looked on with wonder but the world still carried on without a care. The only people informed of this glorious event were humble shepherds, who were in the field at night, tending their flocks. How appropriate that the Great Shepherd of the sheep was first seen by the shepherds of lowly Bethlehem. The shepherd was not considered to have an occupation of prestige, nor is he highly esteemed by the world's eyes; yet God chose those shepherds to witness the greatest Shepherd who would ever live. Shepherds have always had a special place in the Bible. Abel was a shepherd; David was a shepherd; Moses was a shepherd. How fitting it was for those shepherds to get the first glimpse at the very One, who years later would say, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep" (John 10:11). How awesome that the shepherds were the first eye-witnesses to see the One, of whom John the Baptist would later say, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Yeshua! Jesus Christ-- the Savior, the Lord, the Good Shepherd, the Lamb of God, is also the King and His Kingdom shall have no end. Yet our Messiah-- the Lord of Glory-- was born in a humble stable and laid in a manger.
Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Isaiah's prophecy, given seven centuries before, was now fulfilled:
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
The long promised Child had come. The Seed of the woman was here:
Isaiah 9:6,7 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Micah's prophecy was fulfilled:
Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
The child who was cradled in a manger is the root and offspring of David-- The eternal Son of God-- the Lord Jesus Christ. No wonder all of Heaven were rejoicing that night when the Virgin-born Son of God had appeared, and the Heavenly host, innumerable and mighty, led by an angel of the Lord, were praising the God of infinite love, and said in Luke 2:14, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
The Child in the manger is the eternal Word, by whom all things were made, sinless and holy, without the slightest taint of sin in His human nature and physical body, with which He had clothed Himself. He came to do the will of Him who sent Him into the world. While the Father sent Him, He also came of His own will. When still in the bosom of the Father, when the smoke of sacrifices was risen from Israel's altars, He had said to the Father, "Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God." (Hebrews 10:5-7)
What did He come to do? What was the will of God? The Lord Jesus came to glorify the Father among men! He came to finish the work the Father gave Him to do!
After living in perfect holiness for thirty years, the life which in its fragrance was known to God alone, He appeared in public to manifest God, His Father, and to finish the work He had come to do. Remember the announcement to the shepherds in Bethlehem? "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."
The people beheld His mighty works of power, the credentials of His Deity and Messiahship. The lepers were cleansed, the eyes of the blind opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped, the tongues of the dumb loosed, the lame men walked and the dead were raised back to life! The water was turned to wine, the multitudes were fed, the winds and the waves obeyed the voice of Christ Jesus.
We see Him walking in all the lovely holiness of the God-Man. What moral glory is about Him and displayed in every step, in every word, and every action! In meekness and charming lowliness, in kindness and patience He walked among men. The Lord Jesus served in perfect devotion, never seeking the glory of man, but His only aim was to glorify the Heavenly Father.
We read Jesus' words and His words witness to His own Deity, His eternal relationship with the Father-- His oneness with Him...In Jerusalem, during the Feast of Hanukkah, Jesus said, "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30).
What the Father is in holiness and love is made known by Christ Jesus. The Lord invites men and women to come unto Him and promises rest. As the friend of sinners, He ate and drank with them. He manifested His divine power to forgive sins on earth. He gave and still gives the assurance and comfort, "Go in peace. Thy sins are forgiven thee."
Even His own enemies witnessed, "Never a man spake like this man." And His own disciple, the Apostle Peter said, "To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life."
Neither Christ's miracles, His moral glory, nor His words can ever be fathomed. All is like Himself-- INEXHUASTIBLE! Yet great as this life lived on earth was, it was not the goal of the manger. The Lord Jesus Christ came for something infinitely higher. The goal of the manger was the cross of Calvary. He was born to die! He was born to redeem fallen, sinful man!
Let us stop! We are born to die because we have sinned. He was born to die because we have sinned. The Lord Jesus knew no sin, there was no taint upon Him whatsoever. For this reason the cold hand of death had no right to lay hold on Him. Yet He was born to die, because the Father's will was that He should be the substitute of sinners. Jesus would take our place. The wages of sin is death. The wage (or earnings) of every person who sins is eternal separation from God but Christ, being the sacrificial Lamb-- took our place upon the cross and paid our sin debt. The Lord Jesus came to give His life a RANSOM for MANY. Of His life He spoke as follows: John 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
In the Messianic Psalm 22, we find that the Lord Jesus was called of God from the womb. Of us, the Bible says that we are shapen in iniquity (Psalm 52:5) even in our mother's womb but yet for Jesus, the Bible says that He was holy. In Luke 1:35, the angel said to Mary, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
The Lord Jesus speaks in Psalm 22:9,10 But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly.
Hebrews 1:6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
As a boy, He knew that He must be about His "Father's business." Our blessed Lord Jesus saw the goal of Calvary on the Mount of Transfiguration, when Moses and Elijah spoke with Him about what He must do. Many times, the Lord Jesus spoke with His disciples about how He must die and be raised to life.
When His Hour had come, the hour fixed before the foundation of the world, our Lord went up to Jerusalem. Nothing could hinder Him. He knew what had to be done to redeem fallen man-- He did not turn away but went as a lamb to the slaughter. The Lord Jesus knew He would die for the sins of many and for this cause came He into the world.
At Jesus' arrest, Peter cut off the ear of one of the High Priest's servants and the Lord Jesus healed the man instantly and what did Christ say to Peter? Matthew 26:52-54 record our Lord's thoughts: Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
The Lord Jesus died the sinner's death. He finished the great work of redemption. He suffered the punishment upon the cross that should have been ours. He redeemed us by His precious blood. He saved our souls and whoever receives Him, receives eternal life. The baby laying in the manger...was to become the Lamb of God...Christ Jesus the Lord who shed His precious blood for our sins and became the Passover Lamb.
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1John 4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
The manger was just the beginning of the eternal Kingdom that shall never end. Christ died for our sins upon the cross but His story does not end there. He arose from the dead three days later-- having victory over the grave. And because He lives, believers in Him shall live forever also. This, He promised. The Lord Jesus is the eternal King, with an eternal kingdom-- and a glorious inheritance awaits all who have put their trust in Him! Our Messiah is seated at the right hand of the Heavenly Father, waiting until His enemies be made His footstool. As sure as you read this, there is a glorious Kingdom coming, where Christ Jesus will rule and reign forever! The manger was the beginning and an eternal righteous kingdom is the future! Let us never forget what the angel, Gabriel, said concerning our Lord:
Luke 1:32,33 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
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