From the Manger to the Cross

God is faithful and keeps His promises. The coming of the Messiah was promised 800 years before the Christmas story took place and in most vivid terms, “The Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will conceive a child. She will give birth to a son and will call him, Emmanuel, God with us”. In Isaiah 9:6 we are told “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”

When we see the record of the nativity in both Matthew and Luke, we also see His role as Savior and Redeemer. The connection between the beginning and end of His life on earth, his divine mission is portrayed, and reflect events associated with Jesus’ atoning sacrifice.

Herod called himself ‘King of the Jews’ and he probably felt personally challenged by the wise men’s announcement of another “King of the Jews.” This scene in Matthew begins the political drama of Jesus’ mortal life. It is not complete until his Crucifixion, when Pilate writes the title “King of the Jews” for Jesus’ cross.

In Luke 2:34, Simeon saw Jesus at the Temple and prophesied to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

God also kept His promise in Isaiah 53, where it speaks of the Suffering Servant: “He was pierced for our offenses, He was crushed for our wrongdoings; The punishment for our well-being was laid upon Him….He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth”. The Son of God did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. When Jesus walked the streets of Palestine He never forgot His mission, to bring salvation to us all. He is the door by which we can enter the gate of grace.

When we look at the baby in the manger, may we never forget that God is faithful and keeps His promises. The shepherds, wise men and angels worshipped the Christ child at His birth. He died so we can live, and He deserves all our worship.

The shadow of the cross looms over the manger. When you understand that, you understand Christmas. John McArthur