Summary: We look at the adoration on the faces of Mary and Joseph the worship imprinted on the shepherds and the wise men. The wonder that images of angels provoke in us. And we see the Nativity as a sweetly pastoral moment’s peaceful and serene forever frozen in

Why a Manger?

Why the Son of God was born in a stable


Bodie and Brock Thoene. © 1996

Theme: A fresh look at the Christmas story

Title: Why a Manger?

Topic: The Significance of the Incarnation

Texts: Luke 2:1-20, Genesis 3, Genesis 18 and 22:1-19, John 1:26-37

Thesis: Even though Christmas is perhaps the most familiar of Christian Holy Days, we have a sadly inadequate view of its eternal significance.


For many people, Christians and non-Christians alike, the Christmas season is an important way of counting the years. We remember when our children were small. What they did and said. Christmas even carries us back to our own childhoods’ all the sights of lights and trees. The sounds of carols and laughter the aromas of turkeys roasting and pies baking.

Is it any wonder that we love Christmas?

Nor is there any more evocative symbol of Christmas than a manger scene.

We look at the adoration on the faces of Mary and Joseph the worship imprinted on the shepherds and the wise men. The wonder that images of angels provoke in us. And we see the Nativity as a sweetly pastoral moment’s peaceful and serene forever frozen in time.

And that view is so far from conveying what Christmas is all about!

In reality Jesus was born into a world dominated by the Roman ‘Empire and in a country under the close personal supervision of King Herod. Herod was in the waning years of a ruthless rule. He found conspiracies around every corner and plots in every pantry. He even had two of his own sons executed for conspiring against him.

Would you want to be the one to tell this so-called King of the Jews that the true King of the Jews had just been born?

It was far from being a serene, pastoral world.

Nor is it correct to see the Nativity moment as frozen in time. Because Almighty God had seen His plan from eons past. In fact, the stable the manger. Bethlehem is only the culminating instant in a plan already unfolding in human history for 4000 years or more before the Star of Bethlehem appeared.

So why was the Son of God born in a manger? If Jesus is, as we believe, the Only Begotten Son of God’.. Why was He born in such humble circumstances? Why not in a palace? Why did the angels speak to shepherds and not to the powerful rulers in Jerusalem and Rome?


To comprehend how it is that Jesus Christ, the Savior, was born in a stable first requires that we understand why there was the need for a Savior at all.

We see, in very Beginning, in Genesis, that there was a man and a woman in love. And God said to them: “ You can have it all. You can have it all except this one tree. Don’t eat the fruit of it or you will die. (Gen. 2:16-17)

Then the woman met someone who came along Satan who said, “You won’t die. God knows your eyes will be opened when you eat it. You will become just like God, knowing everything, both good and evil.” (Gen. 3:4)

This is actually where the Christmas story begins: Eve reached up and took a bite of the fruit, and then gave some to her husband and he ate as well.

And Adam and Eve who had enjoyed a perfect, personal relationship with God can you imagine it? Suddenly ran to hide themselves from their loving Father.

The Lord God the pre-Incarnate Jesus walked among them and called out: “ Where are you?”

And Adam replied, “I heard you, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” And guilty and full of remorse and full of anxiety, all things Adam and Eve had never ever experienced before. (Gen. 3:8-10)

But instead of making them pay a price that day, because God had said, “On the day you eat thereof you will surely die, “God took an animal perhaps a lamb and killed it, and with its fleece made clothing for Adam and Eve. (Gen. 3:21)

Now don’t miss this--- Adam and Eve though they had sinned did not immediately die. But their sin DID cause a death that of the lamb. The first lamb of sacrifice. Right there, right in the Garden, that soon.


Now we’ll skip forward in time. Even as we do so, remember that in looking at your Bible every word every number somehow relates to Jesus the Messiah.

So in reading thru Genesis we come to man named Abraham. And he and his wife had no children. He had all the sheep he wanted, all the flocks and herds, all the wealth. And he was obeying God; he was walking with God.

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Phil Bruce

commented on Oct 29, 2006

Vivid images. Well crafted words.

Richard Vacha

commented on Dec 14, 2006

Maybe a good devotional book, but not a very good sermon. I found it to be very little help.

Mark Kendrick

commented on Dec 3, 2007

I awoke this morning with the thought, 'Why a manger?", and prayed that the Holy Spirit would teach me something I didn't know that was important and that He wanted me to know. This was the answer to that prayer. Thank you and God bless you abundantly. Mark Kendrick

Steve Morris

commented on Dec 16, 2012

Absolutely the very best and most inspirational story of sacrifice I''ve ever read! It perfectly ties together creation of man, sin, the need for a savior and the birth of Christ. Thank you for your preparation in this way!

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