Summary: The manger is empty as well as the grave. We are not dealing with a child.
He’s Not A Baby Anymore!
We are in the season where everybody gets all mushy. Maybe it is because a baby in a manger brings out the paternal instincts in people. Maybe it is because a baby is not threatening. There is something about the Christ child that gets more attention than the day we look at the Crucifixion. Maybe it is because birth is more appealing to us than death even though His death and resurrection overcame death itself. I believe it gets more play because there is a strong commercial interest as we buy a lot more than jelly beans and chocolate rabbits during this season.
For whatever reason we like the babe best we must come to grips that He is not a baby anymore. We are not dealing with the cute bundle in the manger. We do not deal with the two-year-old toddler the wise men saw when they arrived. Nor do we deal with the precocious and exemplary twelve-year-old in the temple confounding the rabbis. We do not even deal with the gentle preacher and teacher that healed people and implored people to allow children to come to Him. We deal with the One who has risen from the dead and is the Alpha and Omega in whose glorified presence John fell as one dead to worship. No, He is not a baby anymore.
Now, we deal with Him as a risen and glorified Saviour reaching out His hands in love to bring us forgiveness of sins, salvation of soul and body and everlasting life with Him in Heaven. However, He will not strive with men forever and the time is coming when we will have to deal with Him as Judge if we have not met Him as Saviour and received His gift. Isaiah gives us a glimpse of the future.
1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
Jesus is that rod. Because of the sin of Jechoniah, a curse fell upon Jesse and David’s seed so that no man would prosper or be king. It appeared that God would not keep His promise to David. God worked it out through the Virgin Birth so that Jesus would be in David’s lineage through Mary and Joseph. God would supply the seed so the curse would be null and void though the stepfather Joseph was from David’s seed in the line of the curse. He was a small twig that would bear fruit out of the cut off stump.
We saw the Spirit of the Lord descend upon Jesus in Matthew at His baptism by John. We see that spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, and knowledge throughout His life. It was briefly displayed in the Temple at twelve years old. He knocked the socks off the rabbis and astounded His parents. He knew what every person He came into contact with needed. He gave them the counsel to fulfill that need. He outwitted all those who tried to trap Him in speech or deed through His knowledge of the Word because He was the Word and they knew Him not. He could show his power through that knowledge when He spoke with His enemies and ran the moneychangers out of the temple for their violation and sacrilege.
Fear or reverence of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. He reverenced His Father from the beginning for He was here to do the will of the Father. That will was His very meat and reason to live. In that reverence was wisdom as no one else could have for He and the Father were one. His life taught us how we should live and the purpose for which we were created.
Israel had many judges including Solomon the wisest man that ever lived. Yet, they could only judge by what they saw and the testimony they heard. A human judge, in the heat of the excitement, might have overlooked the fact that the man was not presented for judgment when the woman taken in the very act of adultery was brought before him. Jesus did not miss that fact and if one would go free so would the other. He "saw" and "heard" more than the masses or their leaders and He judged with equity they could not attain and indeed they did not even want to strive to attain.