Start at the Manger… then go to the Cross
1At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2(This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3All returned to their own towns to register for this census. 4And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5He took with him Mary, his fiancé, who was obviously pregnant by this time.
6And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn. Luke 2:1-7 NLT
A. Why the Manger?
Couldn’t the Savior of the world, couldn’t God, if He is God, done better? Why not be born on a romantic beach, somewhere in the Pacific? Why not in a more sanitary place?
Finding a lamp on a beach, Bob began cleaning it, so he rubs it, bam! Out comes a genie. For setting me free, I will now grant u 3 wishes. “Cool” says Bob. “OK Genie dude, I want a billion dollars.” Poof! As the smoke clears, there in his hands, Bob was holding a paper with Swiss bank account numbers in his name.
“Cool” he says.
“Next, I want a Ferrari” Poof! Parked next to him was a brand new red Ferrari with vanity plates that says “Bob”! Again Cool!
“Finally” Bob says, “I want to be irresistible to women”
Poof! Bob turns into box of chocolates.
Irresistible… I wonder if that’s the reason…
Show pictures of babies. Illustrate. How inviting, How beautiful, cute, how approachable? Are they saying “c’mon let’s play, let’s enjoy… let’s have fun”
Is it not true when u see a puppy or a kitten, there’s almost an irresistible urge to come near it and touch it, but if it’s a full grown pitbull or a tiger, you will pull away sensing danger, protective cause u don’t want to lose a leg or an arm?
Is it not possible that’s the point of the manger scene? Does it not say “God wants to draw near” and come and see you won’t lose your limbs, God is not going to bite you”,
See, The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Is that really true? That God wants us to enjoy Him, that He knows the only way we can do that is when we are not sacred out of our wits by Him or fear of being blown away by Him – for no one is scared away by a baby – The Manger scene bears has no secret, it has no arms secret agenda, no secret factory building nuclear arms or weapons of mass destruction, it has no secret desire to destroy, it only says “welcome”
That’s His signature, that’s His M.O., That’s His mission, that’s His goal. And He’s inviting us to come near. Do u hear what I hear?
Furthermore, the manger destroys the charge of arrogance that we may have against Him. God you must be arrogant to think You can save me, yeah savior of the world.
Is God arrogant? What does the manger say, the humility of being born, not even in a hotel room or an inn? Can u see - The manger speaks powerfully of a God that refuses to wield His power for fear it will drive people away. The manger speaks powerfully of a God who wants to identify with the poor and the humble, the unfortunate ones, the struggling mothers, the homeless, the fearful, the hurting, the classless, the regular guy on the street. The manger speaks to every one who feels insignificant, that there is One whose eyes are on us and feels He’s got to be with us. The manger makes a statement – there’s Someone who cares enough to enter the muck and mire of a living hell, a place of struggle and suffering and disease and war called earth. No, this God is not gonna watch from a distance. He comes near enough to be touched and wrapped snugly in strips of cloth. He comes near enough to be laid in a manger in an insignificant hole really, a cave, and in a town so insignificant that today we sing of it in a carol “O little town of Bethlehem.” Wouldn’t it be awesome for the Lord of the world to be born in the capital city?
Born among animals, laid in a manger?
Remember when the movie maker James Cameron shouted “I’m the King of the world” when he won the oscar for his movie Titanic well, no one liked that. The arrogance? Baby Jesus in a manger, born among the animals, says it all doesn’t it?
See -have come as an adult Bill Gates, Wayne Gretzky, Elvis, James Bond, some superstar celebrity, with all their fame, influence, glory, riches… but no he came via the birth canal of a woman when he was born he was wrapped in cloths then placed in a proper cradle fit for a king right? But in a manger where animal have their meals. Arrogant? No way! Lk.2:7
B. Why the Cross?
50Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph. He was a member of the Jewish high council, 51but he had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other religious leaders. He was from the town of Arimathea in Judea, and he had been waiting for the Kingdom of God to come. 52He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 53Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock. 54This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation for the Sabbath. Lk.23:50-54 NLT
When Jesus was born in the manger he was wrapped when he died at the cross, once again, he was wrapped this time in burial clothes. Why go to the cross? One word - grace…
Principal Takes Student’s Punishment
A modern parable: At a parochial middle school, a boy
stands with back arched and hands clenched. "Go ahead, give
it to me," he says.
The principal asks, "How many times have you been to my
The boy says, "Not enough, I guess."
"You’ve gotten the belt each time."
"Yeah, and I can take whatever you dish out."
The principal pauses for a moment to think and then quietly
says, "Today you learn about grace."
The boy asks, "You gonna let me walk?"
The principal replies, "Yes, I’m going to let you walk."
The boy studies the face of the principal. "No punishment
"Oh, there has to be punishment," says the principal. "What
you did was wrong, and there are always consequences to our
"I knew it," says the boy as he holds out his hands. "Go
The principal takes hold of a belt, folds it in two, and
then hands it to the boy’s teacher. He tells the boy, "I
want you to count the blows." The principal then extends
his own hands toward the teacher and says, "Ten strokes."
The belt snaps across the outstretched hands of the
principal. Shock registers on the boy’s face. By the fourth
stroke, tears well up in the boy’s eyes. "Stop! That’s
enough!" the boy yells.
But the belt continues to crack across the principal’s
hands. The boy counts out loud,
"Five...six...seven...eight...nine...ten." The principal
stands with sweat glistening on his forehead, his hands
swollen and red. He reaches over, puts his swollen hand on
the shoulder of the boy, and says just one word: "Grace."
Adapted from "Mikey’s Funnies" (7-19-02); submitted by Mike
Herman, Glen Ellyn, Illinois
The cross speaks of one word – grace!
Will of the Father: Jesus came so we can focus, and not be bewildered.
Have u ever felt confused, when u go to Safeway, Superstore and want to find soap
There’s about 30different brands, the choices, the confusion, - the different prices, the different ingredients, is this one good for soft skin, this good for washing grease, to get rid of my pimples, right fragrance, no fragrance, 99 and half percent pure, liquid or bar soap, environmentally friendly or not? So God made it simple… boils it down so we can easily see the Manger the Cross, see only Jesus.
Light diffused is wasted energy but light focused is power, great eg laser cut through rock, diamonds.
Jesus is that focused light!
Jesus is that laser beam pointing to God. God says u matter to him, he does not want to lose u. U are precious enough, loved enough, for him to come down and to suffer through those horrible moments of torture, pain, death on the cross. He says it was worth it, I believe if He has to do it all over again He’d do it. But he does not have too, his one death cleared the way for all time. Read 1 Peter 3:18…
Christ died once for our sins.
An innocent person died for those who are guilty. Christ did this to bring you to God, when his body was put to death. 1 Peter 3:18 (CEV)
We know what love is because Jesus gave his life for us. John 3:16 (CEV)
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.
18 “There is no judgment awaiting those who trust him. John 3:16-18 NLT
The manger and the cross says – no need to fear, that your sins wrong deeds, awful thoughts, your shame cannot disqualify u for heaven. Grace says the punishment has been taken by God, …
Story is told… Years ago in a large city in the far west, rumors spread that a certain woman was having visions of Jesus. The reports reached the archbishop. He decided to check her out. There is always a fine line between the authentic mystic and the lunatic fringe.
“Is it true madam, that u have visions of Jesus?”
Yes said the woman.
“Well the next time you have a vision, I want u to ask Jesus to tell u the sins that I confessed in my last confession.” The woman was stunned. “Did I hear u right, bishop? U actually want me to ask Jesus to tell the sins of your past?”
“Exactly pls call me if anything happens”
10 days later the woman notified her spiritual leader of recent vision. “Pls come” she said.
Within the hour the archbishop arrived. He looked her in the eye ‘you had a vision of Jesus. Did u do what I asked?”
“Yes bishop I asked Jesus to tell me the sins you confessed in your last confession.”
The bishop leaned forward with anticipation. His eyes narrowed. “What did Jesus say?”
She took his hand and gazed deep into his eyes.
“Bishop”,she said, “these are his exact words: I CAN’T REMEMBER!
God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. Colossians 2:13,14 NLT
God is not keen on blowing us away like a bad action movie, God wants to take away the hate, the darkness,
So he took the punishment,
He says do not fear just come, just believe…
Work God requires is: Believe John 6:28-29
28 They replied, “What does God want us to do?”
29 Jesus told them, “This is what God wants you to do: Believe in the one he has sent.”
38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do what I want. 39 And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them to eternal life at the last day. 40 For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life—that I should raise them at the last day.”
47 “I assure you, anyone who believes in me already has eternal life.
Patch Adams M.D. in House Calls said:
Faith can have a profound impact on health. It is a very personal experience of thought and surrender, which can comfort in every situation. Faith is free and available to all people at all times. It requires only that one fully embrace possibility, and the ultimate value is in the depth of the embrace.
Ask u to fully embrace Christ, embrace the possibility God has come and is extending His arms to you when He went to that cross, and bled and suffered for you – GRACE.
c. Your response:
Will u take the risk that God really does love you? Will u see the manger, the cross, what that means for you? You can come to Jesus just as you are, He came for u, do u want Him?
Bible invites us gently to consider this babe born in the manger, who went to the cross, and he hung there and died and he did it for love. Do u believe?
I want to lead you to trust in Jesus Christ, if u would allow me the privilege and make this a Christmas to remember.
If you are ready to believe pray with me:
Lord Jesus, I know what Your grace is all about. You came for me, as I see the manger. Then You went to the Cross. You took my place and died for me. Thank You for doing this to tell me that You love me. I want to trust Your leadership in my life. I surrender my heart to You. Amen.
Take out the green card, and please indicate your choice.
If you have other questions, write it down will u, it would be our privilege to dialogue with u or answer your questions.