17. The Manger Bed

I love the story of Jesus being laid in a manger, which would be some kind of barn, where  there were animals.  A very interesting setting bordering on quirky for a baby nursery.  But could it be much more?  Perhaps it is a foretelling of Jesus’ purpose on the earth.

Luke 2:7 NKJV And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Mary wrapped her baby lovingly with strips of cloths and laid him in a feeding trough, a place for animals to eat.

About 33 years later Jesus said:

1 Corinthians 11:24—When He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

Jesus lived a sinless life, then paid our debt of sin on the cross.  When we believe in Jesus, and partake of Him, He lives on the inside! His life in us. Emmanuel—God with us!

Luke 2:7; Matthew 1:23; 1 Corinthians 11:24

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16. The Journey

Bethlehem was just a small town, about  five miles south of the city of Jerusalem.  It was King David’s birthplace.  Mary and Joseph lived about 80 miles north in Nazareth in Galilee.

An Israeli Ruler is forecasted to come from Bethlehem:

Micah 5: 2 “ But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,  Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel,  Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”

This prophecy was fulfilled, when Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem, because of a government ruling, and Jesus was born there.

Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.

It is interesting the events that take place, that God uses to get us into postion for our miracle to come forth.  The journey to get in line with God’s plan may seem challenging at times, but He will be with us all along the Way.  Let’s relax and enjoy the journey!

Micah 5:2-5; Luke 2:1-5; Hebrews 13:5

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15. Call His Name Jesus!

God’s messenger told Mary, “Call His name Jesus.”

And later the angel told Joseph about Mary’s baby in Matthew 1:21 “... call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Jesus is His earthly name, and it means “Savior,” and  the “God Who is Salvation.”The name Jesus is the equivalent for Joshua in the Old Testment.  Remember Joshua?  He is the one who lead God’s people into the Promised land, overtaking their enemies.  Joshua is a type and shadow of Jesus, who lead God’s people into the Promised land of God’s Kingdom by overtaking the enemy, when He died on the cross and came back to life overcoming death, hell, and the grave.

“Call His name JESUS,  for He will save His people from their sins.”

Call on the name of Jesus, the God who is Salvation, to be saved from Hell.  And when you belong to Him, you can still call to Him to be saved from the enemy on the earth.

Thank you dear Jesus for coming to earth to be our Saviour!

Matthew 1:21; Romans 10:8-13; Acts 2:22-24

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14. The Monarch’s Many Titles

Monarchs wear many offices and titles, along with the designated responsibilities.  When Queen Elizbeth II of England ascended to the throne, her title was “Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith.”  Now there are many more titles, a title for every realm  that she rules.

Before Jesus was born, these are just some of the titles announced by Heaven:

Through the prophet in Isaiah 9:6—And the government will be upon His shoulder. Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

To Mary in Luke 1:31-32—Jesus, Son of the Highest, Heir of King David, He will reign over the House of Jacob, with an Endless Kingdom

To Zacharias in Luke 1:78—The Dayspring

To Joseph in Matthew 1:23—Jesus, Christ the Lord, Immanuel

And so God in Heaven came to earth and ascended to the throne as Jesus Christ the Lord.  He was born with many royal titles, and there were many more titles bestowed upon Him for the many realms and facets of His Kingdom.  And with those titles came the responsibilities, that He fulfilled.  Let us honor and worship Him and give Him all the glory, honor, and praises!

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13. King of Kings!

Luke 1: 31…call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Matthew begins by presenting the lineage of Jesus, carefully showing that He is the rightful heir to King David’s throne.

Matthew 1: 1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:…6 and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon…

Matthew lists Solomon’s heirs, who were kings, and the heirs, when Israel went into captivity and no longer had kings on the throne, but Jesus is the rightful heir to David’s throne.

The wisemen asked Herod the king in Matthew 2:2, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

Even the sign on the cross, where He died declared, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Matthew 27:37

The last book of the Bible reveals that the kingdoms of this world, will bow to Him and that  His reign will never end.

Revelation 11:15 …“The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”

Revelation 19:16  KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS

Let us worship Him, the King of Kings, forever!

Matthew 1

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12. Holy Spirit Empowered

The Holy Spirit of God is the life giver and active ingredient in bringing Jesus to the earth.  To all of our friends in Luke 1, he came and filled them—Zacharias, Elizabeth, Baby John, and Mary—to bless them to receive God into the earth as a person and prepare for His ministry.  Witnesses for the power of God.

And Jesus was the child “of the Holy Spirit,”

Matt 1: 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

1:20 “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

God himself was present in the person of the Holy Spirit to bring this Son to live with men, Immanuel—God with us!

1:23“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Dear Holy Spirit, Fill me with Your presence and power. Have Your way in my life, in my home, in my world.  Thank You for Your holy presence.

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

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11. Mary & Joseph Unite

Mary stayed with Elizabeth, until baby John was born, watching all the process, and learning from her mentor.

Elizabeth told her, “Keep your mind set on God.  Keep worshipping and loving Him, no matter your surroundings or happenings.”

Mary nodded, trying to take note of it all. She was longing to go home, knowing she needed to see Joseph her betrothed. Knowing that things needed to be resolved. When another priest and his family were headed back to Galilee, they all knew it was the right for Mary to join them for her trip home.

Joseph turned over and over in his bed. He was in shock when Mary had told him the news.  What was it she said again, something about seeing an angel and now she is going to have a baby? “What has happened to my dear Mary,” he wondered. “I know it is not my child, but whose?  I don’t want her to suffer any shame, but she was betrothed to me.  I could put her away privately and dissolve our union.  Oh, what should I do?”  While he was thinking over his dilemma, he fell asleep and began to dream.

Matthew 1:20 NKJV Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,”which is translated, “God with us.”

He awoke relieved and empowered and went to Mary’s house to tell her about his dream, and that he wanted to marry her and care for her and her soon-to-come son, Jesus.  And they  united each other in purpose and partnership to do their part to bring the Savior into the earth.

Matthew 1:24-25 MSG Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus.

Matthew 1:18-25

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10. Visited, Saved, Delivered!

There was great rejoicing in the old priest’s home, when the promised son was born to the former childless couple. They joyfully announced that his name was John, when the baby was eight days old.  It was then that Zacharias, who had been unable to speak for nine months, suddenly had a voice again and began praising God.  He was always a very good priest, but after 9 months of silent meditation of the angelic visitor and his message, he was a changed man.  A fountain of words from God began pouring out of him.  He was filled with the Holy Spirit and began prophesying about God visiting to make a way of salvation.

Luke 1:68 “ Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people,  69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David, 70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,

Who have been since the world began, 71 That we should be saved from our enemies And from the hand of all who hate us, 72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers And to remember His holy covenant, 73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham: 74 To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.

76 “ And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, 77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, 78 Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; 79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Zacharias spoke about God visiting and redeeming to make the way of salvation, so we could be saved and delivered from our enemies!  And how would this happen?

78 Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; 79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”

He was prophesying about Jesus, the coming Savior, and what He will accomplish. Hallelujah!

Dear God, Thank you for Jesus, who brings us salvation!  Thank you for your tender mercy that brings the Dayspring, the Sunrise, Jesus, to give us your light that guides us to your pathway of peace.

Luke 1:57-80

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9. Mary Worships Her Savior

The women were rehearsing the recent Heavenly visits and God’s plan to bring a Savior to the world through Mary.  “The angel said,  With God nothing shall be impossible!” the younger woman declared, “Yes, It is all about God and His plan and purpose!”

Then Mary began praising God at an even deeper level than ever before:

Luke 1:46 “ My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. 49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name.

The atmosphere in Elizabeth and Zacharias’ home was explosive with God’s power, as they joined in with great worship and praise to God!

Worshipping is a choice.  Mary said, ” My soul magnifies the Lord,”  The  soul is made up of our mind, will, and emotions.  It is our choice to allow our soul—our mind, will, and emotions—to magnify  the Lord, or not.  “And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” She worshipped her Savior with her spirit. Mary loved and knew God and worshipped Him, but she needed a Savior, just like all of us.

In this holy season and new year, let’s remember that it is all about God and His plan and purpose and worship Him above all others.

My soul, magnify the Lord!  Spirit, rejoice in God your Savior, because He has done great things for me, And holy is His name!

Suggestion for worship: Personalize Mary’s praise  and use it as a basis for your own praise and worship to God.

Luke 1:37-56; Romans 3:23

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8. Mary & Elizabeth Expecting

Mary was uncomfortable, but very relieved to be in the wagon headed south.  She had tried to tell her parents about the holy visitation, but the Good News was greatly mistaken for the worst news ever.  Remembering what the angel told her about Elizabeth, she knew she must go to her.  Her parents quickly agreed that it would be good for her to go away, and found a caravan traveling from Nazareth to Judea.

The greeting had been full of wonder, as she saw aging Elizabeth full with child, and remembered again the angel’s word, “With God nothing is impossible!” When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting there was another work of the Spirit.

Luke 1:41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

It was a wonderful time of rejoicing and enjoying  God’s goodness. The young woman could at last fully relax in the older couple’s faith-filled home. Mary and Elizabeth talked and talked. They compared notes on Gabriel, Elizabeth wanted to hear every detail of his message to Mary. And Mary wanted to know what he had told Zacharias. But of course the words came through Elizabeth, as  Zacharias listened, nodded, smiled and quietly praised God.

Two women, one too old and the other very young, both expecting. Not only were they both expecting a child, but they were expecting God to fulfill and complete the miracle. How wonderful that in the process of their miracle, that God brought them together to encourage each other and to protect each other’s faith.

I love this verse.  It is a statement about both Elizabeth and Mary, and for all women who believe God and His Word.

Luke 1:45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.

When you believe God and His Word, you will be blessed, and the promise will come true.  Keep believing, because God keeps His Word.

Luke 1:36-45

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