Who is the Babe in a Manger?

At this time of the year, the world celebrates the birth of a Babe born in a manger. The story is recounted for us in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Why would Magi- wise men, travel hundreds of miles to present this Babe with gifts? Why would King Herod try and kill Him? Why did the heavenly host sing praises over His birth? Who is this Babe, named Jesus?

Jesus is the Son of God. Through all four gospels, all the Apostles, Gentiles and Jesus Himself testify that Christ is the Son of God. The gospel of Mark declares in Mark 1:1… The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Jesus is God Who became flesh. Jesus is both fully man and fully God. The deity and humanity of Jesus are displayed throughout the gospels. The gospel of John tells us in John 1:1-2, 14… In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. Jesus is the promised deliver of the nation Israel, and all humanity from the curse of sin. The Gospel of Luke proclaims in Luke 9:20… And He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.”

Jesus came to save sinners. Jesus’s purpose on earth was to save sinful humanity, by taking the penalty of sin upon Himself. The Gospel of Matthew tells us in Matthew 9:13… But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus has authority over death. He has conquered death forever through His perfect life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection. This we see in Matthew 28:5-6… The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6 He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.

So, this Babe in the manger worshipped by Magi, threatened kings and honored by angels is the only hope for humanities eternity. We celebrate His birth… because of His death, His burial and His resurrection.

The angels sang in Luke 2:14… “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” This wonderful season, if you want true peace on earth… trust in Jesus as your God… your Messiah… the forgiver of your sins! Amen.

 

Agree to Disagree…

My oh my… doesn’t it seem as though our government is in the midst of a civil war? Red vs. Blue… Dem vs. GOP… Conservative vs. Liberal… President vs. Congress. It’s crazy, there is no civil discourse taking place. Only seeds or hate and anger seem to be planted. Very sad.

So, how is a Christian to conduct themselves in these days of division? Well, back in the first century, we see a couple of prominent brothers in the faith… Paul and Barnabas, in a heated dispute.

You see, these brothers were getting ready to set out on their second missionary trip. They had taken John Mark along with them on their first… and Barny wanted to bring him along for the second. But John Mark, he had struggled on the first trip… and had left in the midst of the journey to go back home (baby Christians can do that from time to time- bite off more than they can chew). And now, Paul… focusing on the journey ahead, didn’t want to have that happen again and didn’t want John Mark to come along… let’s read the details in Acts15:36-40…

After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also. 38 But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. 40 But Paul chose Silas and left, being committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord.

Sharp disagreement. Who was right, who was wrong? The answer: neither.

They were just focused on different things that the Lord had put on their hearts. Paul was focused on follow-up ministry to churches that had been planted. Barnabas was concerned with restoring John Mark and having him grow in discipleship. Neither was right, neither was wrong. They just had different callings from the Lord.

The end result? The Holy Spirit created two different , very successful ministries from this disagreement. Also, we see the healing hand of the Lord in the relationship… when at the end of Paul’s days… as he sits in a Roman prison, awaiting his execution… he writes Timothy, his son in the faith… and he tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:11… Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. 

You see there was no lasting resentment… no “my way or the highway” mentality between the three of them… no, just a recognititon that the Lord was doing different things in each of their lives.

That should be our approach in life as well, I think. We don’t want to build walls and alienate people. We want the Lord to use us in sharing the gospel- in a loving, Christ like manner. As Paul tells us in Romans 12:18… If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men…

Amen.

The Good with the Bad…

In many churches today, I am of the opinion that it is being taught that once a person becomes a Christian… that with enough faith… enough name it and claim it… that a follower of Jesus will not experience difficulties in life. That life will be good, with no bad.

But my friend, that is not sound biblical theology. In fact the Apostle Paul teaches us in 2 Timothy 3:12… Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. So, the life of a Christian is going to experience some hardships and difficulties.

Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us… The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law. The secret things which are the LORD’s, refers to the specific way in which God  carries out His will in our lives. Good things and bad things happen- but in a believer’s life, they are all being used for God’s purposes.

A wonderful example of that is our brother Job. He was a great man of faith, faithfully and diligently serving God. Job seemingly had it all family, wealth, a good name. Then in the period of one afternoon, he lost it all. And on top of that, Satan was allowed to personally inflict sores and boils upon the man. Physically, he was in a terrible shape.

The only family left to him was his wife. And in Job 2:9 we are told…Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!”

But our brother’s faith was a bit deeper than that… for we read in Job 2:10… But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

You see dear Christian, Job lived out his life… through words and deeds, his confidence that God was in control and had a plan and a purpose in every aspect of his life… and he leaned heavily upon that trust in the crisis time of his life.

I know that some who are reading this are at this very moment are struggling with difficulties in their lives. Stay strong in the LORD. There is a reason for it, it has not taken God by surprise. Lean on your faith. If you do not, it will get ugly… depression, stress, anxiety will set in and stay… and that is the place where Satan dwells.

Philippians 4:6-7 tells us… Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

You want peace? Pray, take it to the Lord Jesus!