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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


 

Daily Boost

December 15, 2011 - The Humble Birth of the Lord of Heaven

By Ron Johnson

Luke refers to the historic circumstances surrounding Christ’s birth when he writes that, “a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered” (Luke 2:1, ESV).

Because of the Roman decree, Bethlehem would have been crowded. Apparently the best available rooms where already taken by the time Joseph and Mary had arrived. Therefore they had to stay with the animals in one of the public shelters.

With all the circumstances perfectly in place, the most important birth in human history occurred. I would imagine that Joseph and Mary both felt uneasy as the hour of delivery arrived. Possibly Joseph held Mary’s hand throughout her labor, or perhaps soothed her forehead with a cool cloth. As a loving, caring husband, he whispered words of comfort and encouragement to his young wife as she labored through the pains of childbirth.

Finally the moment of delivery came, and Mary gave birth to her child. In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman. (See Galatians 4:4.) At that very moment, the God of eternity stepped down into earthbound time and space. As the apostle John wrote, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). This was the humble birth of the Lord of heaven.

Luke 2:7 contains other details that are familiar, yet nonetheless fascinating. For instance, have you ever wondered why some translations say Mary wrapped Him “in swaddling cloths”? Swaddling is an Old English word that describes wrapping with cloth. The ancient custom was to wrap the arms, legs and body of the baby with long strips of cloth to provide warmth and security. Parents in those days also believed that wrapping the child in this fashion helped their bones to grow straight.

God did not provide His Son with royal robes, but, rather, Jesus was wrapped in the cloths of the common newborn child.

We are told then that He was laid in a manger. A more literal translation of the Greek word for “manger” is “feeding trough.” The first bed for the King of kings was a feeding trough for livestock. When the Lord of heaven entered this world as a human being, He came to a place that had some of the smelliest, filthiest and most uncomfortable conditions known to man. Isn’t that part of the wonder of divine grace? When the Son of God came down from heaven, He came all the way down. He did not hang onto His equality with God; rather, He set aside His heavenly glory and completely humbled himself (Philippians 2:5-8).

Jesus did not merely humble himself and agree to be born in a smelly stable, but He humbled himself to be our substitute and our sacrifice. He bore the stench of our guilt in His own body on the cross. He stepped down from the throne of Heaven to walk among the common people in order to bring us His glorious salvation. The picture of the infant Son of God tolerating a stable’s filth is a fitting metaphor for the later scene of the Savior bearing the stench of our sin as He died on Calvary’s cross. What a miraculous picture of God’s love and grace.

— Ron Johnson ministers at Gospel Publishing House at the Assemblies of God national offices in Springfield, Mo., and attends Central Assembly of God.

 

 

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