THE “WAY” IN A MANGER
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. (Luke 2:7, NIV)
The baby that Mary “wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger” was the most important person ever born into this world. He would later exclaim, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). The “Way” to God was lying in a manger. The familiar Christmas song “Away in a Manger” might serve to remind us that Jesus was the WAY – indeed the only true way – to God. At Christmastime, we wrap gifts and give them to others. On this occasion Mary “wrapped him in cloths” as God’s gift to us all (2 Cor. 9:15). Notice that He is the:
“WAY” TO SALVATION. The angel announced to Joseph that this baby lying in a manger would be named “Jesus” because “he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). The name Jesus means Savior. The only “way” we can be saved from our sins and go to heaven is through Christ. When the shepherds heard the message of the angel, they reacted with fear, but that fear eventually led them to the “way” of salvation. So it is with us. Some may fear then hear message of the Gospel and to come to the Lord for salvation. You may think that God will not forgive you of your sins, or that you have been too evil for Him to save. But the truth is, if He is calling you to come to Him, there is no way that He would ever turn you away (John 6:37). Then, when you come to Him, you will find that He has the power to forever change your life and make you what you never thought you could be (2 Cor. 5:17). He can take a life of guilt and turn it around for His glory, if you will allow Him the opportunity to do so. We “can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place (Heb. 10:19-20, NLT).
“WAY” TO SANCTIFICATION. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, they lost the perfect standing which they had before God. God’s desire for His children has always been that they reflect His image and glory. While still enslaved to sin, we cannot do that. But Christ came as the perfect reflection of God’s glory (John 1:14; Heb. 1:1-3) and because of what He did, we can be “set apart” – sanctified – to reflect God’s image to the world. In Christ, we are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). And the ones God has saved, He has predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus (Rom. 8:29-30). As we behold the glory of Christ by faith, we are transformed continually into the image of God by the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18). This is what sanctification is – being like Christ and reflecting the glory of God – and the only “way” we can do it is to be in a relationship with the one whose earthly life began in that Bethlehem manger.
“WAY” TO SATISFACTION. When the angel appeared to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus, they said, “Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy.” The birth of Christ is GOOD NEWS! Good news for ALL PEOPLE. The reason is, because everyone has been held captive by Satan and his number one weapon: FEAR. The fear of death has held us all in bondage and we have lived without peace and security in our lives. But Jesus is the “Way” out of that. This is the reason He was born. Hebrews 2:14-15 tells us, “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil– and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” In Christ the fear of death is gone. We have true, living, lasting security.
John McNeill told that during his childhood he had to walk a long distance home every evening and his route led through a forest with a large ravine. Reports said that wild animals and gangs of robbers were often seen in that area. Great fear would seize his heart as he made his way past the spooky- looking trees. He recalled, “One night it was especially dark, but I was aware that something or someone was moving slowing and quietly toward me. I was sure it was a robber. When a voice called out, its eerie tone struck my heart with fear. I thought I was finished. Then came a second call. This time I could hear the voice saying, ‘John, is that you?’ It was my father. He had known of my fear and had come out to meet me.”
It was a word from John McNeill’s father that brought peace to his fearful heart that night. What we fearful humans need is a word from our Father. A word from Him who is able to expel our fears and eliminate our worries. We have such a word from God: the baby who was lying in the manger is my Son whom I have sent as the Way to deliver you from fear.
Three times God sent angelic messengers to the earth with messages connected to the birth of His Son, the Lord Jesus. Each time, they brought big news, news which troubled the hearts of their hearers. However, they also came with a message of peace. Three times angels appeared. Three times they spoke the words, “Fear not”. The “Way,” that was in a manger, is the way for the stranger to be freed from spiritual danger (Read Ephesians 2:13-22).