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The Mystery Of The Manger Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
December 23, 2021 1:00 am

The Mystery Of The Manger Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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December 23, 2021 1:00 am

Why do people make a big deal about a baby in a manger at Christmas? There seems to be other more pressing problems and conflicts in life. Yet, there is no weightier division than that between a holy God and sinful man. Two thousand years ago, that dividing wall was breached in a feeding trough in the tiny town of Bethlehem. There was no room for Jesus then. Will you welcome Him now?  Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)

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Between problems and Jews is as old as the Bible.

This division is symbolic of another division between a holy God and sinful man 2000 years ago that Walt was breached in a feeding trough behind in the tiny town of Bethlehem from the Moody Church in Chicago. This is running to win with Dr. Erwin Blitzer was clear.

Teaching helps us make it across the finish line elixir as you continue teaching about the mystery of what what's our focus today will once again they were going to talk about the incarnation, of course were going to speak about the Christmas story, but hopefully in a way that will be compelling convicting and enlightening and you know I'm so glad and I'm sure that you are glad as well that we don't have to understand the mystery in order to appreciate it. In order to worship the baby in the manger. God of very God. Well, my dear friends today is the last day, we are making available to you a book entitled the Bible code finding Jesus in every book of the Bible and that every one of these sections is two or three pages long.

It's a wonderful book to give to your friends. It's one that you can enjoy as we think about the new year. The title again is the Bible code and we make this resource available because we think it will help you on your spiritual journey and help others as well.

As we come to the end of the year we were reminded of the opportunity to give to ministries.

We know that there are many ministries that we can all give to them that we support.

But thanks in advance for helping us as we speak the word of God.

In 20 different countries in three different languages would you connect with us today. Here's what you do go to RTW that's RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337 thanks in advance for helping us together. We are making a difference and we rejoice in the mystery of Bethlehem, all of us love to sing Christmas carols and I think a favorite not just among children but among all of us is the one that speaks about Jesus being in the main away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down had we sing it every year and we sing it many times every year and we still love it as we do the other carols.

We heard the stories many times, but today I'm going to take a fresh look at a very familiar passage of the Bible it may indeed be one of the most familiar to all of us and that is Luke chapter 2 verse seven. If you want to turn to it in your Bibles. You may chapter 2 verse seven. Many of you will know it by memory. The first of all, let's go to the city of Bethlehem.

Bethlehem is in commotion.

There are many different people and they are all trying to find a place to stay because remember the very same decree that brought Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem is the same decree that brought many other people to Bethlehem as well. We look at a couple and we notice that they are very ordinary. The man clearly is an ordinary tradesman and his wife is about to give birth and we see them walking around and there is no room in and in now.

You must understand that Bethlehem was often a place where caravan stopped. They preferred even to stop. There may be, rather than in the big city of Jerusalem and these caravans needed a place to stay and there would be animals in a cave and that there would also be an in for the people state. Sometimes the two were very close together so the Bible says, and now were in our text today.

Chapter 2 verse seven, the famous verse and she brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no room or no place for them in the in you know there is no reference in the Bible to an innkeeper.

We as preachers and myself included, used to preach against that guy you know that innkeeper he Jesus out to because Mary and Joseph were looking for a room and he said no, but we don't know whether or not there was an innkeeper. I hope that if there was, he made it to heaven and all of us ask his forgiveness for what we've said against him.

I do have to say however that you have done it ignorantly because he would need to know that Mary was bearing the son of God, you and I do deliberately what he did in ignorance. Jesus said whoever receives a child in my name receives me. You want to receive Jesus. There's room in your heart for Jesus, then there should be room in your heart for a child. He also said that if we go into prison and clothe those that are naked and get food to the hungry done it for him. So we have an opportunity to do what that mythical innkeeper apparently had an opportunity to do but we have more knowledge. I'm very interested in the manger's story and it will be looking at the manger. In just a moment but first of all, let's spend a few moments to analyze this question. Why was the manger necessary why this stable rather than the in you know, even though it says there is Luke chapter 2 verse seven last phrase.

There was no room for them in the in even though that's a reference to a specific historical event. I can't help but think that it's also a metaphor of the life of Jesus. That's the whole story of his life, and it's still true. No room for him. For example, there was no room for Jesus in the religious world as a matter of fact, his most ferocious enemies were the religious establishment because he was always revealing their hypocrisy. He was always telling them that they were emphasizing externals rather than what was going on in their heart and so they hated him they made him look bad and when it came time for Jesus to be crucified.

Pilate asked the question, who do you wish that I release on to you, this man or Barabbas and they said release Barabbas but as for Jesus crucified him no room for him in the religious world and is still true. All I know people like to talk about Jesus buddies and no frills. Jesus he's a Jesus who has been humanized and downsize and so you have references to Jesus as the one who taught us to love no reference to Jesus as God coming with flaming fire upon them that obey not the gospel of God. People are interested in Jesus of the manger not the Jesus of the resurrection, not the Jesus of the ascension and certainly not the Jesus of the glorious blessed return.

So Jesus basically had no room in the religious world. They had no room for him and it still true today, but there was also no room for Jesus in the political world. You know the Jews of the time they were looking forward to the coming of the Messiah fact, it is said that Jewish virgins hope that they would be the one who would bear the Messiah but they were looking for a king. They said to themselves.

We want someone who is going to rule and is going to throw off Rome. The Roman occupation and to give us political freedom. That's why Jesus was such a disappointment to the people because Erie was saying my kingdom is not of this world, and of course there were those who didn't want to make him a king after he fed a multitude with five loaves and two fish. They wanted a king who would supply bread they wanted someone who would give them all that they needed to live so that they wouldn't have to worry about bread again but Jesus said note that and he was not welcomed in the political world of the day, and he still isn't. He still isn't just this past week I was told about a man who, in uniform and military uniform. An American citizen prayed a prayer at an event in the name of Jesus and he is being prosecuted for doing because of the separation of church and state.

As a matter fact in America.

Jesus is not welcomed in the legal world is not welcomed in the political world is not welcome in the educational world is certainly not welcome in government. As far as that world is concerned still to this day. We could put up a sign would say no room for you. Jesus had no room they had no room for him in the religious world in the political world and there's certainly no room for Jesus in the business world, certainly not know Jesus said the foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nests where they can rest but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.

Jesus so far as we know owned nothing.

Could you imagine even hiring Jesus as the CFO of some business and it would be on thinkable because he wasn't into that he wasn't into that as a matter of fact he irritated the money lovers. In fact, it says that those who hated money hated him because he said that which is greatly esteemed among men, and he speaking about money is that testable God. How would you like to put Jesus into business goals. Jesus would not be welcomed. Which really leads me to an interesting question that I've often pondered and it's deeply troubling to me and that is the question of how would Jesus today, how would Jesus a great Christmas. What does he think of his party and just imagine this a multibillion-dollar party being thrown for you. Supposedly.

And yet nobody really to speak of is giving gifts to you, everybody's giving gifts to everybody else and the success of the party is totally dependent on how much is spent so that every day during the Christmas season we hear that we are now 1% more than last year or down from last year and that's the evaluation of the party. That's it. So here Jesus has a party thrown for him and he's not invited to his own party.

He can't show up at the celebrations. He is unwelcome, yet supposedly it's all about him. Did you know that there are teachers in the United States of America today who are being told that they cannot mention to their pupils that Christmas is a religious holiday, you know, because after all, you can't drag religion into the classroom. So Jesus clearly is not welcomed at his very own party. No room no room in the religious world the political world, certainly not the business world.

Now there was room for Jesus in one place so that was on the cross. That's where some people would like to see him and that's where they would like to keep him crucified him crucified him, get him out of here. Yes Luke chapter 2 verse seven there was no room for him in the end, but it's was really the story of his life and it still is well, because there was no room. That's why you have the beginning part of verse seven she brought forth her firstborn son and she wrapped him in swaddling cloths and she laid him in a manger beautiful verse in its simplicity, let's think about the manger for a moment. This manger interests me. First of all, obviously it was a manger for animals.

I grew up on a farm in Canada.

I know exactly what mangers are like at least the ones that we had, we would put hay in the manger.

We would also put grain in the manger for those animals that a grain the cattle. Yes, some grain and that's what mangers are for now we come to this passage and we can't get her mind around it. When we think of the fact that this is not only Mary's firstborn son, but he is the firstborn of all creation is the one who created the world he created the manger and all the materials that went into it. It is so difficult for us to get our minds around that we have sanitized the whole the whole scene. Evidently I don't know if it's still true, but I know the Christmas cards when they have a picture of the baby Jesus always have a little halo above his head.

The manger in which he is looks as if it's just been constructed by some very fine lumbar and that the manger is there. The straw is pure and clean, and then what is always amused me is that little donkey that's looking on freshly shampooed and freshly shampooed and dry blowdried and there is no he's watching and sometimes you see that this manger is even on the carpet.

Let me speak to you plainly that stables smell like a pet shop. This was reality. Even the even the wonderful Carol that I like so much away in a manger is a sanitized Jesus you member the cattle are lowing the baby awakes but little Lord Jesus, no crying, are you serious.

Of course he cried. How else would Mary know that he was hungry and is little swaddling clothes they had to be changed were talking here about a real baby 100% man yes with the divine nature that was invisible to the human eye, but this was a manger for animals. I can almost see it I can reconstruct the whole scene in my mind, here's some animals. There are number of different mangers that have had a number of mangers, primarily, probably for sheep and I can see some of the shepherd saying okay okay so you have a new baby you gave birth over there in the corner of the stable.

Here you can take the baby and that here's a manger will will show all the sheep away on this side. You can use this manger to put your baby in yes my friend was used by animals and possibly sheep and Jesus of course becomes the good Shepherd and frequently talks about us as his sheep something else though about this manger and that is it was not only used by animals.

It was also borrowed. You don't you don't go shopping for a manger for a baby you go shopping for a crib not a manger, so it was borrowed and we can see here that the scene is indeed reconstructed as someone lends Mary and Joseph. This manger for at least a little while. Isn't it interesting that Jesus, as I mentioned who said the foxes they have holes and birds of the air they have nests but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. Isn't it interesting that he begins his life by being delayed in a borrowed manger and he ends his life by being laid in a borrowed grave and that's the way he lived here on earth. Jesus coming into the world being laid in a manger.

It was a borrowed manger was also improvised improvised you know of poor people know all about this, if you're rich, you know you're not gonna get this because rich people can buy whatever they like.

But if you've been brought up in poverty. You know that you can improvise a mean their mothers who have taken down curtains and use the cloth to make clothes for their children and they know what it is like to improvise prep to been in situations where a box becomes a chair because that's all that you have and you have to make do. That's the case here. Did Mary use straw or hay. We don't know. Maybe.

Maybe she had enough clothes with her. Maybe a couple of blankets, but she had to improvise this. This wasn't built for babies's bill for animals, but when you're poor you make it work somehow.

You even these clauses, you know, the swaddling clothes, swaddling clothes were actually pieces of cloth ripped from a larger piece of cloth ripped into strips and then taken and the baby was wrapped in this together child a sense of security and that that's the way in which Mary and Joseph handled their challenge and handled this little one who is here. I'm interested in the manger. The question is what does the manger teach us what is it's a great lesson. Why should the Luke chapter 2 verse seven not only be historical fact, but what do we draw out of it, but should be life-changing for us. First of all, of the manger reminds us of how silently he came how silently Rebecca and I have been to Scotland and we have been in the very room where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to James who ended up being James I of England who ended up being the one to commission the king James version of the Bible, but I remember the room. It is a large room and very high ceiling and then gold jilted ornamentation all throughout the room and the guide told us that is Mary Queen of Scots was giving birth to James that there were a number of midwives and there were also people there to make sure that the baby wouldn't be switched with another baby.

The baby was born dead. Sometimes they took another baby and I would be about the same age and substitute, so there were people there to make sure that wasn't happening and then outside of the building. There are a whole bunch of people waiting, wondering whether or not it was a boy or a girl, wondering whether or not the child was alive and wondering whether not Mary Queen of Scots was still alive and here's Jesus who in the world was paying attention to the fact that Mary and Joseph were there. This couple that few people knew came from Nazareth. Nobody was paying attention is was not a big deal.

Babies are born all the time and I am amazed and that's why we sing how silently, how silently the one is given and what this story reminds us of is that God sometimes works mightily in very ordinary way. Very ordinary. Everything about this story was ordinary that we know of course that Jesus was conceived of a virgin and that had to be so that he would not be tainted with even Original Sin so that he would be totally sinless, but the fact is that everything else is ordinary. Yes, my friends, everything else appeared ordinary, and yet you and I know that the event was extraordinary. What Christmas is indeed just around the corner.

I want you to get a pencil right now because I'm going to give you some information so that you can connect with us.

I'm holding in my hands a book entitled the Bible code finding Jesus in every book of the Bible. And as you go through this book, you'll notice that as Seminole verse from each of the books of the Bible is taken to show that Jesus is really part of the entire storyline. I'm opening it up arbitrarily. For example, finding Jesus and Ezra.

He is our faithful scribe finding Jesus in Nehemiah, he is the rebuilder of our broken walls and again this is the last day that we are making this resource available would you write this down so that you can connect with us and thanks in advance for helping us as we near the end of the year were so thankful for our many partners. RTW As you might suspect RTW offer is all one word you can go to that, of course, or if you prefer you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 now because this is the last day that we are making this resource available to you. I'm going to give you that contact info again.

RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337 what you call right now 1-888-218-9337 you can write to access Remington when 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 running to win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. It's hard to imagine a more humble place to be born. Then, in a dirty barn with animals next time. Join us to hear more about the contrast between the King of Kings and his not so tingly entrance into our world. Thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin lutes are this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the teacher

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