Introduction: Luke 2:1-12

1. In verse 7 of our text the Bible says, “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manager, because there was no room for them in the inn” (KJV).
2. Instead of “swaddling clothes” the NIV has “cloths” and the NLT has “strips of cloths.”
3. The swaddling clothes were part of a sign to the shepherds that Jesus was the Savior. The angel said, “And this shall be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manager” (Lk. 2:12 NKJV).
4. The swaddling clothes serve to signify to the shepherds that Jesus was the one they were looking for and those clothes can also signify some things to us.
5. When we think about the swaddling clothes, and Jesus being born in a barn, I am reminded again that God’s thoughts are not my thoughts and His ways are not my ways. (See Isaiah 55:8ff)
6. If it were me, and I was going to send my son into the world, I would have waited until the twenty-first century and announced it at half-time during the Super Bowl.
7. He would have been born in the very best hospital in the world, and would have had the best doctors to help deliver Him.
8. But God’s ways are “past finding out” and I do not expect to always understand why He does things as He does. (Romans 11:33). But I do know that Psalm 115:3 says, “But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.”
9. And when I think about the swaddling clothes I not only think about God’s ways, but I also think about the Savior’s will. Jesus wanted to be the Babe in Bethlehem. He chose the swaddling clothes.
10. He chose to be “poor” that we “through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).
11. On one occasion He said, concerning His death, “I lay down My life that I might take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself…” (Jn. 10:17-18).
12. It is vitally important to understand that THE SAVIOR CHOSE THE SWADDLING CLOTHES. He was not only willing to come and be our Savior, He also wanted to come and be our Savior. (See Romans 12:2)
13. In this study we will observe that in choosing the swaddling clothes:

a. He chose HUMANITY.
b. He chose HUMILITY.
c. He chose HOSTILITY.



1. Isaiah predicted, long before it happened, that “Unto us a Child is born…a Son is given” (Isa. 9:6).
2. The “Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1:14) which means “the Word became human and lived here on earth among us”(NLT).
3. Jesus came “in the likeness of men” and was “found in appearance as a man” (Phil. 2:7-8).
4. But why did He choose humanity? Why did He choose to become a man? Why did He choose the swaddling clothes? Why did He choose to be dressed like that?
5. Because “…He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Heb. 2:17-18).
6. God, as God, cannot be tempted with evil (James 1:13). Therefore, He does not know by experience what it is like to live in a human body on earth and be tempted as we are. But Jesus chose to become a human being so that He could understand exactly what it is like and, since He understands, He can help us when we are tempted.
7. Illustration: My mother died June 10, 2004. Before she died I had preached numerous funerals for mothers of others. But never really understood what it was really like until my own mother died. Now I know, at least to some degree, how one feels because I have been there and done that. I know the pain. I know the regrets. I know the feelings. I know the “I wish I had.” Now, I can not only sympathize, I can also empathize in a way that was never possible before.
8. So, this is the way it is with Jesus. THE SAVIOR CHOSE THE SWADDLING CLOTHES and now He knows.


1. The Bible says “….He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death…(Phil. 2:8).
2. Jesus said, “…for I am gentle and humble in heart…” (Matt. 11:28-30, NIV).
3. We sing about it. In the song “Why Did My Savior Come To Earth?” we ask,
“Why did He choose a lowly birth…?”
4. Pride is hard to hide. It cannot be denied. And it does abide in all of us to some
5. As Mac Davis sings, “O Lord, it’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in every way. I can’t wait to look in the mirror; I get better looking each day. To know me is to love me, I must be one [“whale”] of a man. O Lord, it’s hard to be humble, but I’m doing the best that I can.”
6. Of course, we change the words around a little. We sing, “O Lord, it’s hard for me to be humble, since I am keeping most all of Your law. I can’t wait to look in the Bible. I beat all that I’ve ever saw. To know me is to admire me, I must be a near perfect man. O Lord, it’s hard to be humble, but I’m doing the best that I can.”
7. Do you see how hard it is to simply admit how sinful we really are? We want to think that we can get at least part of it together. We must contribute something that helps merit our salvation! We think: Jesus had to come, but He only came so that He could show me how to live, and now that I know, I can handle this job all by myself. Jesus really did not come to save me, He only came to give me a law to keep, so that I can keep it and save myself.
8. It is hard for me to be humble. It is hard to simply admit that I am helpless, hopeless, and horrible. It is hard to admit that Jesus is the only hope for me. But our pathetic attempt at perfect obedience (which is the only kind that God will accept as the means our justification) is just that….pathetic. (See Rom. 4:2; Jam. 2:10; 3:2).
9. It is hard to admit that He had to do it for me. But it is His obedience (Rom. 5:19), His knowledge (Isa. 53:11), His righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30), His wisdom (1 Cor. 1:30), His sanctification (1 Cor. 1:30), His redemption (1 Cor. 1:30), and His death ( 1 Cor. 15:3) that make salvation real.
10. And, since He was human, He had the same inclination toward pride as we do. He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15).
11. When HE CHOSE THE SWADDLING CLOTHES, He chose to “humble Himself” (Phil. 2:8).


1. Long before the events occurred, the Psalmist said, “The kings of the earth set themselves…against the Lord and against His Anointed” (Ps. 2:2-3).
2. Therefore, Jesus knew that He was coming into a world of hostility. He knew that it was in God’s plan that He come to the earth to be killed for the sins of man (Rev. 13:8).
3. In his sermon on Pentecost, Peter said to those who crucified Jesus, “Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death…” (Acts 2:23).
4. Jesus knew that He was coming to the earth to be “stricken…smitten…afflicted…
wounded…bruised…etc., etc.(Isa. 53:4-12). He knew He would, “..pour out His soul unto death” (Isa. 53:12).
5. Jesus dreaded the cross. He said, “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say?
Father, save Me from this hour? But for this purpose I came to this our”(Jn. 12:27).
6. Illustration: Suppose you had to go to a foreign country to fight for our country, and you knew for sure you would be captured by the terrorists, tortured, and then beheaded. Would you want to go? Jesus knew that He was choosing hostility when He chose the swaddling clothes and, yet, He chose them anyway.
7. We sing about it, “Why did He drink the bitter cup of sorrow, pain, and woe?
Why on the cross be lifted up?” Answer: He loved me so!
8. He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, for the transgressions of His people He was stricken (Isa. 53:4-8).
9. The Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isa.53:6).
10. It is by His stripes that we are healed .(Isa.53:5).
11. The angel said to the shepherds, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you: You will find a the Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger”. (Lk. 2:11-12, KJV)
12. THE SAVIOR CHOSE THE SWADDLING CLOTHES to suffer hostility in order to pay the penalty for our sins.

Conclusion: The swaddling clothes were part of the “sign” that pointed the shepherds to Jesus. They can also be a sign to us to remind us that Jesus chose HUMANITY, He chose HUMILITY, and He chose HOSTILITY. And the truths should cause us all the trust Him as Savior (Eph. 1:13), receive Him as Lord (Col2:6&12), and seek to serve Him in life. This Christmas, when we think about gifts, we need to remember that Mary “wrapped” the greatest gift ever given to anyone, and she “wrapped Him in swaddling clothes” that He Himself chose. (Jn. 3:16; 2 Cor. 8:9). Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15)..

Wayne Dunaway

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