Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | December 10, 2008

Start at the Manger

   The good news the angel proclaimed to the shepherds was about the birth of a child in Bethlehem, “the city of David” (Luke 2:11). Bethlehem, which means “house of bread,” was located about five miles southwest of Jerusalem. Seven centuries before the birth of Jesus, a minor prophet named Micah made a major announcement about the Messiah. Micah foretold that the Messiah would be born in the humble Judean village of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Jesus fulfilled this and other many specific prophecies concerning the Messiah. The angel also used three titles to refer to Jesus (Luke 2:11).

   Savior | Jesus came to our world on a divine rescue mission (Luke 19:10). He alone was born with all of the qualifications to “save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). All other alleged saviors throughout history share a common condition that disqualifies them from being saviors — they themselves are sinners like the rest of us! Christ alone is the sinless virgin-born Savior whose birth specifically fulfilled the words of the prophets. He has no legitimate competitors and absolutely no successors.

   Christ | Christ is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew term “messiah,” which means “anointed.” Christ serves as a title for Jesus and later became a personal name for Him. The child born in Bethlehem was the Messiah — the One for whom all Israel had been waiting.

   Lord | This title signifies His deity and is the title Luke used most often for Jesus. The words “Jesus is Lord” would later form the earliest Christian confession of faith (Rom. 10:9; 1 Cor. 12:3). By the end of the first century the blood of countless martyrs would be spilled because of their refusal to abandon the confession “Jesus is Lord” under great pressure to say “Caesar is Lord.”

   The angel gave the shepherds a “sign” so that they could clearly and unmistakably identify Jesus (Luke 2:12). They would find the “baby wrapped snugly in cloth” — the common way to care for a newborn. But, they would find the newborn baby “lying in a manger” — something quite uncommon. Mary had given birth to Jesus in a stable and placed her newborn baby in a manger (Luke 2:7). Jesus might not have been the only baby in Bethlehem wrapped in cloth, but He was the only baby lying in a manger.

   As Christ-followers, we must be able to unmistakably identify Jesus. In the interest of tolerance, our postmodern culture has stripped Jesus of His deity and significance and placed Him alongside a pluralistic pantheon of impotent gods. Others have redefined Jesus in ways not consistent with the teachings of Scripture. People today are far too ready to embrace counterfeits. While we cannot know everything about the counterfeits that lead people astray, we must learn everything we possibly can about what is genuine. The best way to spot a counterfeit is to be thoroughly acquainted with the real thing.

   This Christmas, start at the manger. Take a good look at the baby. Carefully study every line of Scripture that uniquely defines Him. Then tell the world that Jesus is the genuine article and that “there is salvation in no one else” (Acts 4:12).


Responses

  1. I am reading through all the verses in the page of ‘Start at the Manger’ I have found 9 places in the Bible that you have given references for us to understand. Is it better to me to know well the words from the holy bible.

    Here are those places that you have mentioned.

    Luke 2:11
    Micah 5:2
    Luke 19:10
    Matt 1:21
    Romans 10:9
    1 Cor 12: 3
    Luke 2:12
    Luke 2:7
    Acts 4:12

    I am study’s each one from the scriptures. this is helpfully for me to study’s the bible verses by my self.

    Thanks,
    Mortuza
    Dhaka


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