January 22, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”—Genesis 28:14 (NIV)
When a baby is born into the Royal Family, the entire world knows about it. They talk about what number he or she is in the line for the throne. There’s a ceremony and fanfare and a giant celebration of this prince or princess with the finest clothes, a giant feast, and maybe even a parade. The baby is born in the best hospital, will live in a palace, and attend the most prestigious schools.
That’s not how Jesus’ story goes. Here’s the story of how He was born.
Luke 2:7 says that Mary “wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” We’ve heard this story so many times before that it has become commonplace, but let’s not miss this for a moment. Jesus was born in a barn, not in the best hospital. He was wrapped up in strips of fabric, not in a cute little onesie. He was laid down for a nap in a feeding trough, not a beautiful bassinet. If Jesus is the King of kings, shouldn’t His birth narrative be a little more regal?
This passage from Genesis talks about how numerous the subjects in His Kingdom will be and how far the reign of Jesus will extend. It’s a promise to Abraham that his descendants will be as numerous as dust (can you even count dust?) and extend through the four corners of the earth. Generations later, Abraham’s descendants became the nation of Israel, a nation made up of millions of Jewish people.
In the New Testament, we read that because of Jesus coming down from His throne in heaven and being born in the most humble (and I’m sure one of the most dirties places on the earth), Jews and Gentiles alike are a part of Abraham’s descendants. As Christians, we make up one big family of God. The number of Christians scattered throughout the four corners of the earth, totals 2.2 billion people, and that number grows daily.
And, over all of the billions of people on the earth, Christians or not, Jesus reigns as the King of kings. Oh the irony that 2,000 years ago, “the King of kings lay thus in a lowly manger” (lyrics from “O Holy Night)! I wonder if Abraham imagined this prophetic word from Genesis would play out this way.
Now, let’s fast forward to the Book of Luke, which outlines Jesus’ lineage through His earthly father, Joseph. It’s easy to see genealogies in the Bible and allow our eyes to quickly pass over them, assuming these verses contain a lot of names and no important detail. But calling our attention to verses 33 and 34, we read that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are all in Joseph’s family line. This is significant because God made a promise to Abraham that all the people in the world would be blessed through him and his offspring. Thousands of years later, God proves Himself faithful as He fulfills His promise through Jesus, His own Son. Because of common grace, all of the nearly eight billion people on the earth are blessed, just as this passage says.
Indeed that night was holy.
Pause: Imagine a barn on a farm. There are bales of hay and animals quietly munching, swatting flies away with their tails. A rat scurries across the rafters and a spider spins its web in the corner. It’s dark and dirty. In this environment, the King of kings was born.
Practice: As we get closer to Christmas, take time today to thank God for keeping His promises, for proving His faithfulness, and for sending His Son, the King, to be born for you.
Pray: Dear Jesus, You are the King of kings. You deserve all of the glory, honor, and praise. You deserve the royal treatment. You didn’t have to come down to earth, let alone be born in a barn; and yet, because of Your love for me, You did. I don’t want to take this powerful story for granted. Help me to remember this gift despite the busyness of this season! Amen.
Denise Trio has been on staff with Calvary for almost two years, serving as the Director of Strategic Development. She has 10 years of project management experience, with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Engingeering from Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA and a Master’s degree in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA. When not on campus, Denise is either making her way through her book list at the beach, ordering tacos on any menu that serves them, or running her side business, The Rose Creative, which specializes in creating beautiful and meaningful products for her clients.