by Pastor Tim Burt
Luke 2:4-5 (NIV) “So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.”
Joseph and Mary loved each other. They were excited in their new engagement and dreamed of serving God together as one. They knew of the depth of their love for God and hoped that His blessing would be mighty upon their life because of their love for Him. But the looks, the whispering and gossip—it seemed as though the reputation of living righteously before the Lord all their life had been trashed in the eyes of others and they were glad to get away from it.
This journey was long and difficult for Mary. She was so pregnant and uncomfortable. Lord, if I am carrying your Son, is there anything special to help us that comes with this honor? It seemed to be the opposite. No room to stay anywhere. Lord, how can this be? You’ve led us here and I am about to give birth to your child. Surely you have a special place for this to happen. As they drew closer and were finishing this hard long journey to Bethlehem, they talked trying to make sense of what God was doing in their lives. It was so difficult to understand. Their minds could hardly comprehend Gabriel’s revelation concerning the virgin birth of the son of God.
Mary and Joseph were real people—human, like you and I. They loved God and yet they had to walk out their faith moment-by-moment, like you and I. And so they did. Although they were blessed and God was with them at every step, they had those moments like you and I do, where the thought comes, Lord, where are you in all this? He was there. They had to constantly remind each other of this just like we need to. That is one of the greatest blessings of marriage and Christian friendship. They provide the opportunity needed to remind and encourage each other in the promises the Lord has made to us throughout His Word.
Luke 2:6-7 (NIV) “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Just think: Jesus was wrapped in strips of cloth and laid in a manager—an animal feeding trough. I hope you understand how significant this is! It is because feeding is such an important part of the plan of God. Jesus was laid in the trough. Feed is what is usually in the trough. Jesus, who laid in the feeding trough, would become the one who would eternally and continuously feeds us through His Word—to the degree we would seek Him.
As Jesus walked out His earthly ministry, His teachings would bring the listeners that were hungry for God, revelation and insight of God and His plan for man. And it would be the feeding of His Word that would bring the souls of mankind a true joy and peace such as they had never felt before.
We see this in John 6:35 (NIV) “Then Jesus declared, I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.”
We read more in John 6:31-35 (NKJV) “Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He (Jesus) who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” And as God would plan it, Jesus was born in Bethlehem which means The House of Bread.
Jesus said that we would live not just by natural bread but by His Words. “It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” Luke 4:4 (NKJV)
As you think about Christmas, remember Jesus in the manager—in the feeding trough! Let that remind you that He came into this world to feed us His truth. He came to set us free from our fears and insecurities of being consumed by His wrath. came to give us a new and everlasting assurance of His love—that He would always be with us! He came to give us His insight. and His instruction for living. He came so that we could live uprightly and blessed as overcomers over the trials and tribulations this sin-tainted world tries to destroy our life with!
This is what Joseph and Mary did. With faith in God’s promises and by His grace, they walked out each moment step-by-step and day-by-day. Their lives were marked with the reassurance of His love including signs and wonders as they lived by faith and trust in Him. That faith and trust was fueled by His word—Jesus the Word that was first placed in the manager—the feeding trough!
Matthew 4:4 (NIV) Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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