While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
As we continue to look at the story of Jesus’s birth, we begin act 2 of Luke’s account: “While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (vv. 6-7).
Isn’t it interesting that only two verses record the most important birth in history? Ken Gire, in his book “Intimate Moments with the Savior,” uses his imagination to paint a picture of what that experience must have been like. “Joseph creaks open the stable door. … The stench is pungent and humid, as there have not been enough hours in the day to tend to guests, let alone the livestock. … But Mary makes no complaint. It is a relief just to finally get off the donkey. She leans back against the wall, her feet swollen, back aching, contractions growing stronger and closer together. Joseph’s eyes dart around the stable. Not a minute to lose. Quickly. A feeding trough would have to make do for a crib. Hay would serve as a mattress. Blankets? Blankets? Ah, his robe. That would do. And those rags hung out to dry would help. A gripping contraction doubles Mary over and sends him racing for a bucket of water. … Sweat pours from Mary’s contorted face as Joseph, the most unlikely midwife in all Judea, rushes to her side. The involuntary contractions are not enough, and Mary has to push with all her strength. … Joseph places a garment beneath her, and with a final push and a long sigh her labor is over. The Messiah has arrived.”
I think C. S. Lewis had it right when he said that the greatest miracle of all time is not the atonement or even the resurrection. The greatest miracle is the incarnation–God becoming flesh. This “Grand Miracle,” said Lewis, “was the central event in the history of the Earth—the very thing that the whole story has been about.”
Amazingly, Jesus was willing to give up the comfort of heaven and come to earth to be born in the humblest of circumstances. And He came not to be worshipped, not at the beginning anyway; He came to be sacrificed for our sins. Paul said it this way in Philippians 2: “Christ Jesus, … although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (vv. 5-8).
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Back to Bethlehem” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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