THE TERROR OF THE MANGER

Matt.2:1-3 – Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

The weakness of God always defeats the power of the most powerful men and empires. Think about it, Herod and his soldiers fell before the power of the manger. Rome itself, ultimately fell before the manger and the cross. God has hidden His omnipotent power behind the weakness of the cross. His weakness destroys the power of this age. Today’s scripture says that all Jerusalem was troubled at the news of Christ’s birth. For those who have eyes to see, they tremble in godly fear before the manger, the lost lash out in fear trying in vain to stop the kingdom of God. Here is how Bonhoeffer describes the powerful in this world and their response to the cross and the manger.

“For the great and powerful of this world, there are only two places in which their courage fails them, of which they are afraid deep down in their souls, from which they shy away. These are the manger and the cross of Jesus Christ. No powerful person dares to approach the manger, and this even includes King Herod. For this is where thrones shake, the mighty fall, the prominent perish, because God is with the lowly. Here the rich come to nothing, because God is with the poor and hungry, but the rich and satisfied he sends away empty. Before Mary, the maid, before the manger of Christ, before God in lowliness, the powerful come to naught; they have no right, no hope; they are judged…”

In today’s world, not much has changed. The powerful and the self important ignore the cross and the manger as they go about their daily agenda. They may give lip service to some belief In God and may even attend a church but their hearts are far away from the cross. They may have some sort of Christmas celebration but the message of the manger is far away. Only the humble can bow before the manger and only the broken can yield to the cross. This Christmas season let’s take time to humble ourselves before the Lord and His revelation of Himself in the birth of His Son.

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