Thursday, December 17, 2009

Born In A Barn

"And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:4-7

What a touching an humbling story! The very God of creation found lying in a feeding trough in a barn where the animals were born. Surely God could have chosen a better place for His Son to be birthed. Yet, the long awaited savior of humanity promised in Eden, the Messiah and deliverer of Israel prophesied about for centuries, the Son of God /Son of David was born in a foul smelling stable in a back woods town where the main means of livelihood was sheep farming.

It was in this very spot that the life of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz played out. The very place where we are introduced to the beauty of a kinsman redeemer who would pay the ransom price to set his beloved free and to repurchase all that was lost to them. It was the place that also reminded us of another Kinsmen Redeemer who would offer the ultimate ransom for all the world.

Many nights were spent here watching the sheep by a little shepherd boy named David. This may be the very place of inspiration for such beautiful poetic verse such as, "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" Psalm 8:3-4 The beloved Psalm of the Shepherd, Psalm 23, may have been put to music here. This may be the place where Samuel would anoint that boy, David, to be King over Israel.

This is also the place where a prophet named Micah predicted the very event recorded in Luke 2. "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." Micah 5:2 A prophesy describing the Eternal God Incarnate born in Bethlehem.

However, none of these events record the reason that God's Son would be found in His mother's arms in a place of such utter humility--a borrowed stable. That is where we have to consider the words of John the Baptist and the words of the Old Testament concerning the Lamb of God. John said this Lamb would take away man's sin, and Moses foreshadowed Jesus in the narrative of the Passover lamb.

Jesus was born in a barn because all of the sacrifice lambs were born in a barn or a field! His birth predicts his death. Shepherds were the first to see Him because shepherds were usually the first to see the lambs born. Magi would visit and offer Him Myrrh among other gifts. Myrrh was used to anoint dead loved ones to reduce the odor of decay. It was associated with death. Where else but a barn would you expect the ultimate sacrifice for sin to be born?

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