The Manger Luke 2:7,12, Romans 3:23-25a, 1 John 1:8-10
There is no prophetic or mystical reason why Jesus was laid in a manger… it was simply the most practical place in the stable for Mary to have placed Him. It was the right size, the right height, the most comfortable and the safest place for Jesus to be. So if we can say anything about the manger it is simply that it was practical. It made since. It was the obvious solution. Like responding to the gospel in our station of life… It makes since. It is the obvious solution.
Whatever your station in life, rather it be a stable, a palace, or anything in-between, “all have sinned” and therefore “fall short” of the creator’s intent for living. Yet Jesus has provided the redemption that we need to be reconciled to God. That is forgiveness through His shed blood. “By His wounds we are healed”(1 Peter 2:24). He died for our sins so that we might have forgiveness and abundant life (John 10:10). Coming to Jesus is the only practical solution for our condition. Just as a master’s animal feeds at the manager from the food that he provided, so must we feed on Christ who has been provided for us. It is the only practical solution for our condition which has been provided for our “abundant life.”
Eat from the manger or you will become malnourished and die!
Pigs for slaughter and Beasts of Burden Galatians 6:7-8
There is a vast difference between a manger that feeds a beast of burden (horses, oxen, cows, mules) and a feeding trough that services pigs. The manger is filled with more nourishing food that fuels an animal for a useful purpose while the slop that pigs eat are only provided to fatten them up for the slaughter. A manger is high and lifted up while a trough is low to the earth. A manger is filled with nourishment while a trough is filled with slop! We are what we eat! “A man reaps what he sows”. Just as the farmer was used in Paul’s illustration of sowing and reaping, we can adapt the lesson for eating as well: Whoever eats to please their flesh will reap destruction. Whoever eats to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. God has provided Jesus for our nourishment and usefulness as His created beings. We can choose to fill ourselves with the slop of this world, but it will destroy us and the purpose that we were created for. Don’t allow the enemy to slaughter you… Rise up and eat from the manger!
Real Food and Drink John 6:25-27.35, 51b, 53-57
In this passage Jesus is being swarmed by crowds of people whom He had just miraculously fed the day before (the feeding of the 5000 John 6:1-13). They had sailed to the other side of the lake to find Him. Jesus realized that they were looking for Him only to get more free food. He told them not to work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which only He could provide. Jesus then went on to describe how He was both real food and drink.
So what did Jesus mean by “eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man” (verse 53)? Jesus is speaking metaphorically and spiritually. To “eat” Jesus is to satisfy ones spiritual hunger. To “drink” Jesus’ blood is to satisfy ones spiritual thirst and to acknowledge His redemptive act as a blood sacrifice for our sins on the cross. The words for “whoever feeds” in the original Greek (ho trōgōn) are telling. It doesn’t mean just to eat, but to chew slowly in a drawn-out fashion, as one would chew gum or dissolve a lollipop. By using this word Jesus says we must feed on him continuously. That is to “remain” in Him as He said in John 15:5. If we continually “feed on” or “remain” in Jesus we will bear much fruit (accomplish much) but apart from Him we can do nothing.
Do you see that “feeding on Jesus” is a personal and daily act of faith? No one can eat or drink for you. In the same manner, no one can believe for you, but if you will believe and come to Jesus He will never cast you aside.
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. John 6:37
In essence, that babe in a manger is to remind us that we need to feed on Jesus. It is He who nourishes us for true and abundant life.
‘For in him we live and move and have our being” Acts 17:28