Summary: This sermon focuses on the location of the Christ - in the manger - and what significance that has to us today as we prepare for Christmas.
December 14, 2005 The Third Sign of Christmas to Come: Lying in a Manger
Luke 2:12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
People don’t normally do their Christmas shopping at Burger King. They go there to eat a Whopper and some fries and usually don’t expect much more. You don’t expect to find true love at Burger King or vacuum cleaners for sale. If I told you as much, you would think I was nuts.
How much more strange is this third sign of Christmas to come? To find the Messiah of the world - not only as a baby - wrapped in common cloths - but also lying in a manger? Humans don’t normally go rummaging through mangers. A manger was a man made trough either carved into some stone or made out of wood - in which they placed hay for animals to eat out of. The cattle and the donkeys would go there looking for hay - because that’s what mangers were made for. They weren’t made for babies - much less future kings. The angel had just told the shepherds that this baby was the Savior, Christ the Lord. Since David was a shepherd and was found out among the animals - this might make some sense. Yet David was also a king - so you would expect more of his offspring. Yet today we’ll see how ~
The Manger is the Perfect Place for the Messiah to Be Found
I. It is a filthy place
2 Samuel chapter 7 shows King David living comfortably in his palace, while the ark of God remained in a tent. He didn’t think that was right, because God promised to be present within the ark. He was living in a palace while God was “living” in a tent. He wanted to build a temple for the ark. That night, God replied to Nathan the prophet,
“Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’. . . I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. . . . When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
The answer of God was, “I don’t need a house to live in - but YOU do. I will send an offspring through you who will have an ETERNAL kingdom.” From a first read, it would appear that this kingdom of David and his reign would go on forever. Yet history proved different. As David’s seemingly last successor - Zedekiah - had his children put to death in front of him before his eyes were plucked out and he was taken into captivity (Jeremiah 39:5), it seemed painfully obvious that David’s physical kingdom would not last forever. The future Messiah would not be able to be born in a palace, because the kingdom of David did not have a palace to be born in. The natural conclusion, then, would be that either no Messiah was coming, or that Messiah would have to be born in a house of some sort - to at least have a nice roof over his head with a little children’s mattress. Something even more humbling happened. The Messiah was born in a cattle stall. That which was built to hold hay - filled with bugs, dirt, and cow slobber - was used to hold salvation. There was no where else to put Him - so a manger had to do.