Summary: A good sign catches our attention and sends a clear message. What was it about the savior Jesus being wrapped and laid in a manger that God wanted us to see?
I’m going to introduce a few interesting billboards that I saw recently, but before I do, I want to point out that the mark of a good billboard/sign is that– 1) It should catch your attention and 2) It should give you a clear message.
In progression I showed a billboard from KitKat candy that had the hand of God come down from the sky; a bi-plane looking like it’s broken through the top of billboard; a seatbelt ad that has a man imbedded in the sign (he obviously wasn't wearing a seatbelt); a fitness billboard that has a fat man on the edge being so heavy that the sign tilts; a fishing tackle advertising a “minnow” with the words “Obiwan minnoba”; a sign from the Submarine Museum of Alberta Canada featuring a periscope running up from the ground to the top of the sign; a creative warning on another billboard about tailgating; and a sign from a College of the Arts that declares “This Is A Sign”.
Let me repeat: the mark of a good sign us that–it should catch your attention and it should give you a clear message. Our text today has a message that’s almost exactly like that last Billboard we showed: “THIS IS A SIGN!” The angel said… “And this will be A SIGN for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12
There was something about the Savior being wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger that catches our attention and gives us a CLEAR MESSAGE of what God wants us to know about Jesus.
But first, we need to point out the importance of that word “Savior.” The Angel said “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a SAVIOR, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) The SIGN that the angel spoke of, pointed to THE SAVIOR.
So, what does it mean that Jesus is our Savior? Well, Jesus came to save us from our sins. When the angel appeared to Joseph, he declared that Mary would have a son and “you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) Jesus Himself said “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:32
When someone dies, folks will often say “they’ve gone to a much better place.” Or they’ll say “I hope they Rest In Peace.” But if that person died without Jesus, the place they’re going won’t be a “better place/heaven.
Our sins would rob us of heaven. It wouldn’t matter how nice we’ve been, without Jesus we wouldn’t rest in peace
Romans 5:8-10 explains how important this is: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”
You see, this isn’t about God choosing to send people to hell, because everybody deserves to go to hell anyway. Ephesians 2:3 says that before we became Christians “(We) were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
Someone once noted: “If you don’t follow Jesus, you’re not going to go where He went.”
So, we need to realize how important Jesus is to us. If we could go to heaven without Jesus, then Jesus didn’t have to die. And the announcement by the angel that Jesus was born to save His people from their sins … is a lie. If Jesus didn’t really come to save us from our sins, and we could do it all by ourselves, and we didn’t need His help - it was ALL a lie!
But it wasn’t a lie.
Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was literally… a matter of “life and death” - OUR life, OUR death… the eternal kind. We needed Jesus to be our Savior for, without Him, there would be no hope!
So, what is this about THE SIGN of Savior in Swaddling Clothes? What is it about this sign that God wanted us to understand?
Well the focus of the SIGN was “you will find a baby.” When we think of God, babies aren’t the first things to come to mind. Babies are cute, and innocent, and … comforting. But God doesn’t often come off that way in Scripture.
In Exodus 19:16-19 we’re told about the Israelites gathered at the foot of Mt. Sinai “On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder.”