Do You Still See Jesus As A Baby In A Manger?
THE usual first picture of Jesus is that of a baby in a manger. But the Christ child in the manger is the subject of a beautiful Christmas scene. Then He was a tiny, helpless baby, but today, He lives an amazing life. However, all over the world today, He is the reason for the celebration of Christmas though born in a manger according to the bible ‘for there was no lodging available for them’.
Interestingly, through His birth, He ushered in a new era, thereby giving humanity hope of being God’s children. This now resonated in God’s eternal love for mankind. Admittedly before this time, humanity was cut off and hopeless, but through Christ birth it had hope in God.
We need to put on record that this Jesus paid the supreme price by His death on the cross. Yes, that painful death later was to bring the sinful humanity back to God. St Paul put it succinctly: ‘Jesus was in the world reconciling men back to God’ (2 Corinth 5:18-19). It is to be noted that the price of His death was not casual, but caused Him His life. He died among robbers. He felt the pangs of death and a cry of dereliction was found in His mouth: ‘And at three in the afternoon, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?,” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mk 15:34). This cry was as a result of momentary separation from His father. Yet, it pleased the Father to allow His Son go the way of the cross to fully appease Him and usher in redemption for mankind.
The Hymn writer, while reflecting on His death on the cross noted thus in: A & M 108 stanza 1
When I survey the wondrous Cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
This same Jesus by His Resurrection and Ascension now sits at the right-hand side of God. From there, He is expected to come and judge the living and the dead. His first coming was as a baby born in a manger, but His second coming will be as a king to rule and judge the world and to His kingdom, there shall be no end. Remember, the date of Christ’s coming or the hour is not known and the bible vehemently asserts that: ‘He will come like a thief when nobody expects Him’ ((Matt 24:36; Mark 13:32; 1 Thess. 5:2). It therefore, challenges every believer to be ready and expectant for His second coming, which must come to pass. However, the personal question should be, are we ready for Him now? How ready?
Therefore, believers should ensure that they do not under-estimate Jesus in their lives. He should be allowed to grow in every aspect of their lives, rather than looking at Him continually as baby in a manger.
Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.
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