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Wednesday: The Manger of Bethlehem — 15 Comments

  1. How amazing it is to see God's timing and the fulfilment of prophecy!

    Jacob predicted the coming of the Messiah when the 'sceptre' would depart from Judah, and here, when as proof of their submission all had to register with the Roman government, Jesus is born. Gen 49:10

    It was a perfect time for Jesus to come into the world, there was 'peace' Roman ruled 'all the world' thus the news could be easily spread.

    This assures me, Jesus came on time the first time and therefore He will come on time the second time. I believe that the Bible predicts that His Second Coming will be to a world in chaos with the ability to spread the news easily. I pray that like the shepherds I am awake and watching the flock when the time of deliverance happens, how about you?

    Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, Luk 2:6 And while they were there, the days for her deliverance were fulfilled.

    • As to fulfilment of time prophecy, it could be added: Not only was God moving world history in order to bring about the birth of Christ in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Luke 2:1-4). The sending of Gabriel by God was signalizing that the seventy weeks prophecy in the book of Daniel was about to be fulfilled. The same angel Gabriel who predicted to Daniel the coming of Messiah (Daniel 9:24-25), now appeared to Zacharias announcing the forerunner to be born by Elisabeth, his wife, as a child of a miracle (Malachi 4:5-6; Luke 1:13.17). The angel identified himself to be Gabriel (Luke 1:19).

      Gabriel was also sent by God to Mary to announce that she was chosen to give birth to the Messiah who was to rule on the throne of David in an everlasing kingdom (Luke 1:26.31-33;2 Samuel 7:16; Daniel 7:14). Knowing all of the Old Testament, including the Book of Daniel (2 Timotheus 3:15; Matthew 24:15), pious jews were also familiar with that Book in general. They would have noticed that the same angel Gabriel, now appearing to Zacharias and Mary, once appeared to Daniel to announce the coming of Messiah in the seventy weeks prophecy. They were used to sombine similar passages and terms to draw conclusions.

      Although they could not understand all of this seventy weeks prophecy, they were aware that the time of fulfilment had come. They certainly did not understand as to why Messiah had to be cut off and to die (Daniel 9:26). Not even the disciples understood the aspect of a suffering and dying Messiah (Luke 24:20-21). The prophecy of Simeon, addressed to Mary, goes into that direction ahead of the disciples(Luke 34-35).

      Given the fact that he angel of the Lord appears to be identical with the angel Gariel (Luke 1:11.19), it seems reasonable to conclude that the angel of the Lord, proclaiming the good news to the shepherds, also was the angel Gabriel who once appeared to Daniel to anounce this event ahead of time (Luke 2:9-11). Jesus himself was aware that the point of time (kairos) has been fulfilled and that the kingdon of God has drawn nigh (Mark 1:15). The connection of a point in time (kairos) with both verbs in perfect tense are expressing fulfilment of time prophecy.

      Winfried Stolpmann

    • The prophesy Stated "The scepter SHALL NOT depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and to Him shall be the gathering of the people be.Gen.49:10.Judah was to continue to be the leader of the tribes until the time of the Messiah. And unto Him shall the people gather, This was the complain of the Priest that all men were following Him, If we let Him thus alone all men will believe on Him, and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation." John 11:48.Jesus had from the beginning establish His Kingdom of God, or grace, Here the word Shiloh means the rest giver. Jesus fulfilled the prophesy of Jacob,He is the Lawgiver. Nathanael was right in his declaration " Though art the Son of God the King of Israel" Jn 1:49.

  2. This is mind boggling... "the Creator of all that was made not only entered into this fallen world as a human being but lived the hard life that Jesus did, only to wind up on a cross."
    Meditating on the imagery generated by this sentence is awe-insiring.

  3. This gift of Christ coming to us is so beautiful it’s indescribable. As I read the lesson study I asked Jesus, Why would you the omnipotent come here to earth the only planet that is fallen? And why did you come so poor that you had to be with the animals? The swaddling clothes reference is interesting in that this was a custom of the day for everyone, a sheet of cloth that was used to keep infants tightly restricted. Christ came here as anyone else, with a common entrance and an exit. His humble coming was significant in that anyone as mentioned in the lesson could be a part of the eternal life he came to bring. Anyone! Isn't that amazing?

    I still can't wrap my mind around it, I must just accept it. My favorite part though, is how the angel came to the shepherds and they were afraid. I've always loved stories of angels. I've wondered how they looked, and how bright they were. The word says we were made a little lower than them. And the most exciting part is that the angels were excited that he came to earth. They gave him a welcome, to the planet he created! Now that's something. They gave Him the welcome by telling Mary that she has found favor with God, and that Jesus will be coming to the world though her. Now that's a welcome. I just thank God for welcoming anyone to his throne.

    • Jesus came to us so humbled to show us that we can all be the partakers of the Kingdom If we humbly give ourselves to God through christ Jesus.

  4. Every single time I revisit the story of Jesus I have no words but Amazing! Wonderful! I am awestruck and puzzled to try to understand it but the poignant question stares me in the face: "what are you doing about it?". Thanks to God through the words of the hymn "my life of scarlet, my sin and woe, cover with His life, whiter than snow."

  5. There is a lot that can be said concerning Lk 2. The lesson author homes in on two primary things. Probably the most important one to us is the fact of Christ's condescension which Paul so well speaks of in Philippians 2. Sometimes though because of our way of life we tend to project our social environment on the interpretation of what the Bible says. Because of that we have the tendency to think that Joseph and Mary were coldly thrown out into some crummy barn as some sort of refuse. The NET Bible has a rather interesting comment on this:

    tn The Greek word κατάλυμα is flexible, and usage in the LXX and NT refers to a variety of places for lodging (see BDAG 521 s.v.). Most likely Joseph and Mary sought lodging in the public accommodations in the city of Bethlehem (see J. Nolland, Luke [WBC], 1:105), which would have been crude shelters for people and animals. However, it has been suggested by various scholars that Joseph and Mary were staying with relatives in Bethlehem (e.g., C. S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, 194; B. Witherington, "Birth of Jesus," DJG, 69–70); if that were so the term would refer to the guest room in the relatives' house, which would have been filled beyond capacity with all the other relatives who had to journey to Bethlehem for the census.
    sn There was no place for them in the inn. There is no drama in how this is told. There is no search for a variety of places to stay or a heartless innkeeper. (Such items are later, nonbiblical embellishments.) Bethlehem was not large and there was simply no other place to stay. The humble surroundings of the birth are ironic in view of the birth's significance.

    The various renderings of this in other versions testify to the ambiguity of the term "inn" for instance, "there was no guest room available for them" (Lk. 2:7 TNIV), "there was no lodging available for them" (Lk. 2:7 NLT), "there was not for them a place in the guest-chamber" (Lk. 2:7 YLT). So Joseph and Mary had to find some place for the night in a very small village (city is not a term today that would be equivalent) in a agrarian society where animals played a major part and often the accommodations for both were in close proximity to one another where the animals stayed in a courtyard while the humans were in a room. It has been noted by some that it could have been that the people stayed in a loft above where the animals stayed.

    As for the swaddling clothes, that was normal practice in that culture. I am sure that the rich had more lavish things but to wrap the new born in protective strips of linen cloth was not at all uncommon.

    • You and those you quoted are simple trying to dress up the situation then existing, these people were far removed from the luxury of the time. they were poor people who was accustom to the hardship of the time, You shall find the baby wrapped in swaddling cloths lying in a manger. when the wise men came they were living in a house. Yes Jesus was born in poor circumstances, to very poor people, so He can identify with every human both rich and poor. that our station in life do not have to determine our spirituality. wither we were shepherds. carpenters or presidents we al can believed and trust God.

  6. Luke's gospel is essentially a stinkin gentile writing a letter to another stinkin gentile about a God who serves the marginalized, a group who Luke was a part of. Jews didn't think of Gentiles as people on their level. To them Jews were at the top of the food chain, the leaders and priests of everyone else who were to sit on thrones as kings in the kingdom, so much so that even the poor and diseased among them were considered on a lower level and often marginalized. So to Luke God is universal, one in whom there is no partiality (Acts 10:34; Rom 2:11; Job 37:24; 1 Pet 1:17).

  7. Every aspect of our lives should be lived in the utmost gratitude for what Christ has done in sacrificing HIs life for us 1 John 3v16 (and is doing for us in the heavenly sanctuary). Its no wonder the songwriter wrote "Jesus keep me near the Cross" because at the foot of the Cross we are moved to brokenness and true contrition of heart as we behold the Lamb of God shedding His blood to make a way of escape for sinful man.

    Behold Him being scorned, ridiculed, jeered at, spat upon, mocked, scourged twice, denied and betrayed and enduring all this without murmuring. How then can we doubt His great love for us. It is indeed through this sacrifice that we have all we have. Romans 8v31,32. Praise God!!!

  8. Why was Jesus born in a manger?
    John 1:36- I think because He was the Lamb of God. Lambs are not born in nice homes but on the humble lot among grass and soil.
    A manger is the place where grass is placed to feed animals. Jesus is the "bread of life" to feed his flocks that are scattered as if without a shepherd.

    The only begotten Son of God wrapped in swaddling clothes whose clothe was honor and majesty, who was covered with light as His garment (Psalms 104:1,2)

    The Creator of Heaven and Earth to be born among the lowly dumb animals, one Whom the angels adore and reverence a symbol of His humility.
    To live a life of hardship and toil, to be tempted and betrayed, to be sold and scourged, to be ridiculed and killed.
    All that, for me?..... Lord thou art the true Son of God- Save us from our sins.

    • Brother Paul, I'd just like to add to what you have said. Christ coming as He did, living as He did takes away all excuses for being lost. Nobody can claim poverty, riches or anything else for not accepting God's gift of salvation. "Whosoever will may come"

  9. The lesson author also says that Luke was an historian led to include historical data in his gospel. I have noticed through the years that people do things differently. When sweeping a floor or shoveling snow to some people if they get the majority removed that is good enough to others all of it most go or the job is not done. Some people can work with generalities while others are detail people.

    As I look at the gospels I see the personalities in the various writers and luke was a person involved in science and obviously one that didn't like loose ends. He often nails things down to specific times and events so there is very little wiggle room for those that like to twist things in knot to suit their beliefs.

    I do not believe that the Holy Spirit dictates exactly what to say (2 Cor 3:17) but works within the confines of how a person chooses to say something. That even goes to the extent that there is disagreement in scripture and sometimes contradiction.

    The Ten Commandments are the only thing directly written by God and there are messages that the prophets were specifically told to communicate word for word. The rest of the Bible, however, is man writing to man with the Holy Spirit guiding and suggesting what to say.

    The Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not God's mode of thought and expression. It is that of humanity. God, as a writer, is not represented. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were God's penmen, not His pen. Look at the different writers.
    It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man's words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts. But the words receive the impress of the individual mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the word of God. (1 Selected Messages, p. 21)

  10. Today i learnt this lesson and it would be an example to what we have been learning about the different inspired authors of the Bible.
    Luke did not write about the Wise man from the east that Matthew documented, but he wrote about the shepherds on the hill that Matthew did not write about.
    Of that star that the wise men saw, Sister White wrote: "That star was a distant company of shining angels, but of this the wise men were ignorant..." {DA 60.1}
    So that tells me that the stars that the wise men were following were the same company of angels that appeared to the shepherds on the hill.
    The vision of the star (wise men) and the angels (shepherds) teaches me a lesson that we at many times see the same things in Gods Word with a different understanding but like the shepherds and the Wise men- the purpose of the Word of God is to lead us to find Jesus.


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