One Comment to “Jesus in a Manger”

  1. Donald McMahon
    December 26, 2018

    “Jesus in a Manger” (Luke 2:1-20)(12.24.18)
    Luke 2:1–20 (NIV84)
    2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register.
    4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
    8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
    13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
    14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
    15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
    16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
    The word of God for the people of God.
    Title: Jesus in a Manger
    12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
    Three times in this account of Jesus’ birth, Doctor Luke emphasizes that Jesus was in a manger. What is a manger? It is a feeding trough for animals. Jesus was born and placed in a feeding trough.
    Eating is a major activity of life and in scripture. Eating properly is a major point in theology. The fall of the human race and original sin are connected to eating improperly. God gives very specific instructions to humankind about food in Genesis 2:16–17 (NIV84) 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
    And when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit they experienced spiritual death. They were cast out from the Garden of Eden into a cursed world; cursed because of their sin. So, Jesus came into this world as an infant child and was placed into a manger, a feeding trough, as a sign to all humanity. This is the way of salvation.
    God heard the cry of His people enslaved in Egypt and his heart was moved. He sent Moses to bring them out of bondage into the Promised Land. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened even after many plagues. Finally, the Angel of Death was sent. Moses instructed the Hebrew people to sacrifice an unblemished lamb; mark the doors of their houses with the blood of the lamb; and then; consume the lamb. Wailing and cries of mourning echoed throughout the night in every home not protected by the Lamb of God.
    John the Baptist testifies that Jesus is that sacrificial Lamb of God: John 1:29 (NIV84) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
    The Apostle Paul states it plainly in 1 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV84) Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast [which represents here represents sin]—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. If we have received our Passover Lamb, then we are found to be without condemning sin.
    When the people of God had escaped slavery in Egypt, they complained about no water. They complained about no food. Then they complained about no meat.
    Numbers 11:4–6 (NIV84)
    4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”
    Manna was heaven sent bread. Only enough for each day was provided. It could not be stored up. It met their every physical need but their appetites could not be satisfied. Surely you can see the application for today. For too many people, their appetites are never satisfied. They can never get enough long enough. Even if it means living in bondage, they pursue the things of this world that can never satisfy for very long.
    Jesus seemed to be eating wherever he went throughout the Gospels. He met with friends in their homes. He ate with the curious and he ate with his enemies. In one of his more well-known miracles, he fed five-thousand men, plus women and children, on an obscure hillside.
    Mark 2:16–17 (NIV84)
    16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the “sinners” and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
    17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
    In John 4:13–14 (NIV84), Jesus engages a Samaritan woman at the well. She lives on the fringes of her society and has been married five times.
    13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
    A couple chapters later, Jesus speaks to a crowd.
    John 6:32–35 (NIV84)
    32 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
    34 “Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this bread.”
    35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
    Jesus clearly defines eating properly in order to attain eternal life: his body and blood. When we go to a local diner, we are given a large multipage menu. There are literally hundreds of items to choose from. Nowadays, they may have a heart healthy section or they might put little hearts next to the healthier choices. Jesus doesn’t give us choices. He says you must do this one thing. No alternative is given.
    John 6:53–58 (NIV84)
    53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.”
    At the Last Supper, which was the Jewish celebration of Passover, Jesus established our sacrament of Holy Communion. 1 Corinthians 11:23–26 (NIV84) 23 For I [Paul] received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
    This gospel theme of the theology of food, connects our earthly nourishment with our heavenly reward.
    In Luke 14:15 (NIV84) When one of those at the table with him [Jesus] heard this {that we should be hospitable to those who cannot be hospitable in return}, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
    In Matthew 22:1–2 (NIV84) 1Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.”
    In the ministry course I just finished, we were asked to choose a metaphor that is prominent in our particular context. The metaphor I chose was a table. We have Fellowship Hour every Sunday after worship because food and conversation creates relationship and connection. We have seen a lot of fruit come from our Free Community Dinners each Tuesday. We connect to the household tables of those in need through our Food Pantry. AND, we frequently celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Yes, this means of grace blesses and nourishes this Body of Christ.
    We take our church name, Emmaus, from the last chapter of Luke. On that first Easter afternoon, two dejected disciples of Jesus were trudging back home to Emmaus from Jerusalem. As of yet, they knew not the joy of the resurrection. Jesus joins them on their walk but his identity his hidden from them. He explained to them that all that had happened was the fulfillment of prophecy; and yet, they still did not know him.
    When they reached Emmaus, they invited Jesus to stay with them. Luke 24:30–31 (NIV84) 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
    We invite everyone home to Emmaus. We invite everyone to meet Jesus here at Emmaus. Our table is your table. Our home is your home.
    We have come here tonight because of the Christ Child. We have come because of Jesus in a manger, in an animals’ feeding trough. We have come to be fed with the bread of life. Let us now prepare our hearts to partake of the Lord Jesus, who came to us as a baby in a manger.
    Amen and amen. Let us pray.


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