Summary: Consider for a moment this miracle of the manger and the astonishing claims made regarding this child. Into the humblest of circumstances Jesus is born. His mother is an ordinary, young girl named Mary. His birthplace is a stable, a barn in a small, obscu
Christmas Sermon- The Miracle of the Manger - John 1
Scriptures: John 1:1-5, 9-14
John's Gospel describes for us in beautiful and poetic imagery this miracle of the manger.
(Read John 1:1-5, 9-14)
I. Astonishing claims
Could He be who He claims to be?
Consider for a moment this miracle of the manger and the astonishing claims made regarding this child. Into the humblest of circumstances Jesus is born. His mother is an ordinary, young girl named Mary. His birthplace is a stable, a barn in a small, obscure little town called Bethlehem. Yet, Jesus came making astonishing claims that centered on His identity. He claimed to be sent from God, the Son of God, and even One with God. The angel announced to shepherds that this baby was Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11).
As an adult, Jesus claimed to be the Bread of Heaven and Living Water that alone can satisfy our deepest hungers. Jesus claimed the authority to forgive our sins and to offer freely His grace and mercy. Jesus claimed to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life, the Resurrection, the only hope of escaping God's judgment, the only path to eternal life. Jesus claimed all authority in heaven and earth, and He promised to return to judge the world in righteousness.
What do you make of such radical claims? There are some who would ignore them altogether. There are those who, while being very respectful of Jesus, don't take His astonishing claims seriously. The religion of Islam teaches that Jesus was a prophet and teacher. The Hindu religion teaches that Jesus is one way of many to find God. Many people want to admire Jesus from a distance, but when it comes right down to it, He's just a nice man with a beard.
C.S. Lewis explained that Jesus did not leave us the option of just respecting Him as a good, noble teacher. His own claims leave no room for that position, even though it is very popular. We really only have three options concerning what to make of these astonishing claims of Jesus. Either He was who He claimed to be, the Lord of all. Or, He made these claims knowing they were false and therefore He was a liar. Or third, He made these claims because He believed them to be true but in reality they were not, which makes Him deceived or a lunatic. When it comes to the astonishing claims made by Jesus, there are only three conclusions that we can choose from. He is the Lord, a liar, or a lunatic. He cannot be just a nice man with a beard.
II. Staggering implications
What if He is who He claims to be?
Do you believe? What about this child born in Bethlehem? What if His claims are true? Think for a moment about the incredible implications. What if there is that awesome Someone who knows your name, who knows when you are sleeping, and knows when you're awake? And yes, He knows when you've been bad or good, and yet, He loves you and longs for you to know and love Him.
What if this child in Bethlehem really is the miracle of the manger? What if this Jesus really is who He claims to be? If He is, then you and I have a decision to make. It is a matter of eternal significance for each one of us. What we decide about this child born in Bethlehem not only determines our eternal destiny, it also determines our earthly direction as well. We cannot accept His claims without also recognizing that He has staked His claim on our lives. If He is who He says He is, then all of His promises are true. He really can wipe away a painful past and take away our burden of guilt and regret. He can give us a whole new reason to live and fill us with the fullness of His love, His life, His grace. It means it's all true.
III. A fateful choice
Do you believe?
We must all consider the question and answer for ourselves. No one can decide for us when it comes to this miracle of the manger. Jesus put the question to His disciples one day: "When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, 'Who do people say that the Son of Man is?' And they said, 'Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' 'But you,” He asked them, 'who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!'" (Matt. 16:13–16). How will you answer that question? Is Christ who He claimed to be? Do you believe?
But when we consider this child born in Bethlehem, there is an important change, an awesome reversal, a dramatic change of roles for you and me. When we come before Christ, we do not sit in judgment of Him. It is Jesus Christ who is Lord and King. This miracle of the manger is God in the flesh. He is judge of all. We do not determine His fate. It is Jesus Christ who will determine our final destiny. Scripture records, "For we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or worthless" (2 Cor. 5:10).