And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)
If you were a storyteller and tasked to write a story about God coming to earth to save His people, you would probably have Him descend from the Heavens on a cloud or loudly announce His entrance by going to the biggest city and living in a Kingdom. That sounds like a fitting setting for a King and a Savior, right? How would you expect the Messiah to come? The one prophesied to save God's people. Maybe He is born into the royal family and inherits the throne. Most of us, if not all, wouldn't have sent Jesus to earth to be born to a virgin in the little town of Bethlehem in a manger since there was no room for them elsewhere. This is not how you would expect God to send His Son into this world. However, this is the magnificent story that God chose to tell.
Why did Jesus have to be born?
We are almost to Christmas. Which means many of you are reading the story of the birth of Jesus in church or on your own as we celebrate and remember Christ coming into our world. If you are anything like me, you are curious and ask a lot of questions. One question I am asking this December is why did Jesus come into the world this way? Why was he born to a virgin in Bethlehem?
John 1:14 says that the Word, the eternal God Himself, became flesh and dwelt among us. When this happened, the eternal God stepped out of eternity into time to become a man of flesh and blood. The Creator became His creation. He is both fully God and fully man.
Being born shows us Jesus's humanity. In order to save us from our sins, He needed to be like us in every way. He needed to live the human life perfectly from start to finish. Jesus being born makes Him more relatable. Sometimes, it is hard for us to relate to God. We can't see Him. He is our creator. He spoke everything into being. It is a lot easier to relate to a child. Jesus experienced everything we did. He cried, laughed, grew up, went to school, was tempted, needed food and shelter. We can come before Jesus and hand him our fears, failures, struggles, life experiences and temptations knowing He has lived the human life and can relate to us all!
Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; (Luke 1:34-36)
Being born to a virgin shows God's power and glory. It separates Jesus from all other humans. It shows He is not a product of this world but rather comes in from the outside - pure and clean. The virgin birth is a sign of His divinity - It is impossible. However, with God all things are possible. He is the God of miracles! Rob Kaple, Grace Midtown's pastor, put it this way on Sunday, "Advent tells us the story of the miraculous birth and the birth of the miraculous." Jesus's life begins with His supernatural conception and ends with His supernatural resurrection.
Jesus came down from the heavens and into the form of a helpless, crying, vulnerable human baby. Jesus, "who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied Himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:6-8). Being born in a manger, into poverty, and in an unknown small town of Bethlehem, Jesus's birth points towards God's selflessness and overwhelming love for His people. Though He was rich, he became poor, so that you and me by His poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).
The Birth of Jesus into our world is miraculous and profound in so many ways. God, the highest and holiest, came and entered this world through the humblest of doors.
God's love and intentional design
The Christmas story is a perfect picture of sacrifice, love, and humility. The story God decided to tell is so counter culture to the way we think the Son of God should arrive, but it lines up perfectly with God's character. He is selfless, intentional, and cares about every detail of our lives. The Christmas story fulfilled every prophecy in many intricate ways, such as having the current ruler of the land order everyone to their home town.
Another example of God's intentional design of this story is there being no room in the inn. That wasn't just bad luck. People needed a sign. The Angels told the shepherds that they would find the Messiah wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger. How many other babies in Bethlehem do you think were laying in a manger? God intentionally placed Jesus there so the Shepherds would know which baby was the Son of God.
He did all this so that Jesus could bridge the gap between God and His creation. Jesus was born to give life to those who had none and to be the light of the world. The light shines in the darkness but darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5). As the lyrics of Hark the Harold says;
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die:
Born to raise the son of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King!"
Just as God was intentional and caring about Jesus's birth, he is intentional about your life as well. He knows and cares about every detail, every hardship, every interest you have, and has created you by design. Just as Jesus was born into this world for a purpose, you were made with specific purposes in mind. You were not born a mistake, you are not forgotten - God has a plan for you. His timing is perfect and true. He loves each of us so much that He sent Jesus into this world! The greatest gift of all - wrapped in swaddling cloths and laying in a manger.
Author | Kyle Pickett