Leading Others to the Message Beyond the Manger
I love manger scenes. I am pretty sure that stems from having 3 daughters who were fascinated by them from the time they were toddlers. The focal point of their fascination was always baby Jesus in the manger.
The world also seems fixated on the baby Jesus at Christmastime. He is the centerpiece of sculptures, stamps, yard displays, and even shrines.
The irony of this is that while many recognize Him as a baby, only a few recognize Him as their Lord and Savior. They are aware of Christmas, but unaware of their need for Christ.
While that may give Christians pause, it also gives us an opportunity. It is the same opportunity afforded the shepherds who were the very first to see Jesus. Luke says of them, “Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them regarding the child.” Luke 2:17
As believers, we are called to follow in the footsteps of the shepherds, making Jesus widely known; to lead them to the message beyond the manger. However, with all the sights, sounds, and other distractions that come with Christmas, it can be challenging to stay on mission.
To stay focused, I try to remind myself each day that the whole reason for Christmas was that it was a part of Jesus’s mission to reconcile people with God. As Charles Wesley wrote:
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.”
Connecting the Cradle to the Cross of Jesus
When I see Jesus in the manger, it reminds me that He was on a mission for me and for those to whom I share. He came as a baby to ultimately die for our sins and rise from the dead.
In other words, the cradle (manger) is directly tied to the cross, the instrument on which made possible our reconciliation with God. As 1 Peter 3:18 says:
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.”
He left heaven for earth so that one day when I die and leave earth, I will enter heaven. That was His mission.
The exciting part is that His mission continues, and He has invited me and you to be a part of it. We have the privilege of delivering the gospel, the very message that communicates how to be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus.
Connecting the Cradle to the Crown of Jesus
So, the cradle (manger) that we see every Christmas is connected to the cross. But not only that, it is connected to a crown. We serve as Jesus’s ambassadors. We represent not the baby in the manger or the suffering martyr on the cross, but the crowned King of the universe.
Because of that, we have His power and His authority granted to us (Acts 1:8). Knowing that He has the power to use us despite our weaknesses, to supernaturally provide us with boldness, and to change the lives of those to whom we speak should give us confidence in the face of any opposition.
One day we and everyone else will all stand before Jesus, the crowned King of the universe. Everyone I see and talk to will have to stand before Him one day. This sobering fact helps me to keep evangelism at top of mind. Because when I talk to non-believers, the most important question about them with that day in mind is if they are reconciled with God through Christ. Everything else pales in comparison.
A final thing I am reminded of is that I will see Jesus face to face. I know my obedience to Him regarding evangelism will be a part of the evaluation (not for entrance to heaven, only faith in Christ merits that, but for reward in heaven). I do not know about you, but when that day comes, I want to hear these 7 words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Nothing else will matter then. And if that is what matters then, it should matter now.
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