Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

A Cry from the Manger

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

6th December 2009

It seems to me that whoever wrote "Away in a Manger," wrote it before they had children of their own.

The cattle are lowing [mooing]
The poor Baby wakes
But little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes

Hold on a minute, ‘No crying He makes’?

Real new born babies cry. In fact they yell their heads off. It’s a very healthy sign.

If we are to understand what happened in Bethlehem, we must believe that when the Baby awakes there is a cry from the manger, because that is what Christmas means at its very core.

Let me explain.

You know the story of Superman. The baby born on the disintegrating planet Krypton is sent by his parents in a space capsule to earth. The boy grows up to be Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet. And no one can tell that Kent is Superman – Until, that is, he goes into a phone box.

Or take Star Trek. Often the storyline contains an alien masquerading as a human. He looks like a human, but don't be fooled.

Now what happened in Bethlehem was not pretend. God actually took on humanness and became human. He didn't lose any of his divinity, but He took on humanity. He wasn’t an alien pretending to be human.

The reason God did this is explained in two very important passages:

‘…an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:20–21)
‘For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted’. (Hebrews 2:17–18)

God could not wink at our sin forever, and be just. Nor could he just whisk it away in a momentary act of divine disregard. There was no sterile way to deal with the ugliness of sin, and we humans were powerless to erase sin's stain. The only way God could deal with the mess made by the First Adam was through a Second Adam. (Romans 5:12-19).

So, like a parent who risks his life to protect his children, God Himself came to rescue us. But this was no play-acting. The divine Son of God was no hologram or apparition. He became flesh (John 1:14) because there was no other way.

In the early church there were heretics who claimed that Jesus just pretended to be human. After all, it was argued, Spirit (which was classified as good) could never mix with flesh (which was classed as bad). The Apostle John addressed that issue head on in 1 John 4:2–3,

‘This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world’.

Now do you see that if ‘no crying he makes’ is true then Jesus is not really human but only pretending. And if He is only pretending to be human then what was that on the cross? Did it really die? Are our sins really forgiven? Do we have a Saviour? The answer of course is that Jesus is both fully divine and fully human. He died, our sins are forgiven, and He alone is our Saviour.

So I for one am glad there was a cry from the manager, for it helps me to believe in

‘…one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end…’ (The Nicene Creed)

Have a good week listening to the cry of Jesus.

Pastor Barry

6th December 2009

Back to top