Summary: How the manger demonstrates God’s grace
(adapted from a series from Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, KY)
SERIES: “IMAGES OF CHRISTMAS”
TEXT: LUKE 2:1-7
TITLE: “THE MANGER: IMAGE OF GOD’S GRACE”
OPEN: A. Most of us have heard the story of the first Christmas more times that we can remember.
1. I’d like to give you a little test this morning
2. Take out a #2 pencil and a sheet of clean paper….
3. Actually I’m not going to make you take an essay test
--Simply a fill-in-the-blank test. I’m even going to let you go “open book”
4. Let’s see how well you know the part of the Christmas story we’re going to look at this morning
5. Lk. 2:1-7 – “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the
entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of
Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. 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. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to
him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,
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.
B. Someone not very familiar with the might have trouble with one item – the manger
--Why would God’s Son be born in a feeding trough?
1. Shouldn’t he have been born in a palace or at least a really nice house?
2. Why wasn’t there some provision made so that the Son of God would be received in a proper
3. One thing we know as Christian is that God’s ways are not our ways
--Whereas we would have sent Jesus into a rich family or have Him born into a king’s family,
God chose to do things differently
C. Why did God choose a manger?
--Four things I want you to consider:
I. GOD WANTED TO IDENTIFY WITH OUR STRUGGLES
A Scripture tells us several things in this area:
1. Jn. 1:1 &14 – “1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
“14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the
One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
2. Is. 7:15 – “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give
birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
--Immanuel means “God with us”
3. Heb. 4:15 – “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we
have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.”
4. Clearly, Jesus was fully God and fully
--He walked in our shoes, he struggled with life’s problems, and did so in a way that was blameless
5. The manger tells us that God knows what it’s like to be human
B. When family lets us down, when we’re treated unfairly, and when life hasn’t turned out how we thought it
would, we can take comfort in the fact that God is able to sympathize with us.
II. GOD WANTED TO SET AN EXAMPLE OF HUMILITY FOR US TO FOLLOW
A. Jesus didn’t tell us how to live from His throne in Heave
--He came to Earth and showed us how
1. Jesus said that if you want to be the leader, you have to become the servant
--And He lived His earthly life doing just that
2. Jesus understood that example is the most important teaching tool that could ever be used
3. So, unlike some earthly leaders, Jesus didn’t sit in His office in heaven and utter rules and decrees
--He came to earth to be our example
B. Let’s pick up our Christmas scripture where we left off just a few minutes ago:
--Lk.2:8-12 – “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks
at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and
they were terrified. 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. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ
the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’”