The Manger And The Cross
By Shawn Tomlin
Since it’s that wonderful time of the year, I wanted to write about the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The Incarnation of Jesus Christ is a much deeper doctrine than it normally gets credit for. The mystery of the birth of Christ should make us wonder why. Why exactly was the Son of God born in human flesh? This very question is what I will be answering for you in this article.
The first thing we should realize is the birth of Christ, the Word made Flesh, was promised. God promised in Genesis 3:15 that “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” God had promised our Savior immediately after Adam and Eve fell. Although, in a sense, they were punished for their sin, God was gracious in that promise of Christ and instead of instantaneous death, they received a promise of salvation: the seed of the woman.
“Let us remember that the point of His birth was His death. The point of the manger was the cross…”
Isaiah wrote hundreds of years before the birth of Christ and wrote two passages that directly foretell the birth of the Savior, the seed of the woman promised in Genesis 3:15. Isaiah 7:14 says, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” A child whose name will mean “God with us.” Now in Isaiah 9:2,4,6, in fact all of chapter 9, describes what this promised child will do. Verse 6 says, “A child will be born to us, a son will be given to us.” This child will “break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders”(v. 4). Those “people who walk in darkness will see a great light”(v.2). Do you remember John 1:4-5? It says, “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.” If this wasn’t enough verse 6 also says “His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” This child, our Savior, our Immanuel (God with us) will be a light to those who have walked in darkness, will break the yoke of their burden, their sin, and be known by many names including “Mighty God and “Eternal Father.”
So that’s nice, right? God’s Son was sent to be born as an infant for us. Is that it? No, the very fact that God came down to us, that in itself is astounding. Imagine climbing down into a septic tank overflowing with sewage. That was what it was like for the Most Holy Son of God to come down to us. He walked in our filth. He experienced everything we do, but without sin. Christ lived a perfect life under the Law, and when His time came, gave His righteousness to us, and died on a filthy wooden cross, bearing the punishment for our sin, and rose again for our hope and justification. This was all done for us. Instead of wiping away our existence because we sinned against the Most Holy God, He wiped away the punishment for our sin by sending His Son, the second person of the Triune Godhead, to live amongst us and to be the perfect sacrifice and propitiation for our sin.
So as we remember the birth of Christ, let us remember that the point of His birth was His death. The point of the manger was the cross, and all that is wrapped up in the cross. Christ’s life, death, and resurrection was nothing if it wasn’t for us. So now as believers, we can remember the birth of our Savior in His first coming and stand in hope as we await His second coming.
“The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.”