A Walk To The Manger
Thank you so much for attending our Living Nativity "A Walk to the Manger". The following are Pictures and the dialogue from the walk tonight.
Adam and Eve
The story of Christmas begins, like every story, in the beginning. The Bible tells us that, in the beginning, everything was perfect—God created the universe and everything in it, and the world existed in a state of peaceful harmony as all of creation functioned exactly the way it was designed to. The LORD made humans as the capstone of creation, and he gave them the responsibility of ruling over the earth on his behalf.
Unfortunately, under the influence of the serpent, Adam and Eve chose to reject God’s authority over them, and their rebellion changed everything. Chaos and dysfunction came into God’s previously flawless creation, and the world has increasingly become characterized by evil, natural disasters, broken relationships, unfulfilled expectations, sickness, and the inescapable reality of death. Sin has devastated everything that God created to be good. Worst of all, mankind has been separated by God and deserves to receive his eternal judgment, which was pictured by Adam and Eve being driven out of the Garden.
Fortunately, rather than destroying everything, God chose to redeem his fallen creation. Genesis 3:15 “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” After explaining the consequences that would come, he promised to send a deliverer who would one day defeat the serpent and rescue humanity from the effects of sin. From that moment, humanity began waiting for the promised Deliverer who would save us from the power of sin and death and restore the world to its proper condition. The hope of Christmas begins here. But this was not the only promise God made about the future Messiah—as you follow along the path, you will learn more about who God revealed this Savior would be…
Prophet Greater than Moses
Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-19 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.”
Eventually, God made a covenant with a man named Abraham and chose his descendants to be the people through whom the whole world would experience blessing. Over time, God delivered these people (called the “Israelites”) out of slavery in Egypt and led them to the Promised Land under the powerful leadership of a prophet named Moses. Toward the end of his life, Moses promised that God would one day raise up another prophet like him, and that the people would be required to listen to and follow him.
A prophet was someone who brought messages from God to his people, and who often revealed how God was going to work among his people in the future. Prophets confronted the people about their sin and called them to turn back to God, they often performed miracles to confirm their messages, and any time God sent a prophet, the people were responsible for responding to his message by believing and obeying it. Unfortunately, while many prophets were sent by the LORD to guide his people over the years, none of them quite lived up to the expectations of “the” Prophet Moses had predicted. The ultimate Prophet who would reveal God’s salvation to his people was coming, but he wasn’t here yet…
Once the Israelites were settled in the Promised Land, God established kings to rule over the people. The greatest of these kings was David, and God made a covenant with him that one of his descendants would rule forever. The kings’ job was to protect the people from their enemies, enforcing God’s law in the land, and lead the people to be faithful to the LORD in worship.
Unfortunately, the kings after David failed to lead God’s people well—over time, society became characterized by corruption, injustice, and idolatry. Rather than trusting in the LORD, the kings made alliances with pagan nations—and this eventually brought God’s judgment when the Babylonians and Assyrians destroyed Israel and took the people off into captivity.
The Israelite kings demonstrated the need for godly leadership—and despite their failures, God promised to one day establish a new king over his people from the lineage of David who would rule properly and for all eternity. Isaiah 9:6-7 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”
So the future deliverer who would be the perfect prophet and the ruler from the tribe of Judah would also be the ideal king—and God promised that he would come…
Things looked grim for God’s people as they languished in exile, separated from their homeland and under the oppression of pagan rulers. Despite the blessings they had received from the LORD, the people had consistently rebelled against him and broken the covenant he had made with them by engaging in idolatry and rejecting his prophets. So here they were in Assyria and Babylon, feeling the weight of God’s judgment for their sin. However, the LORD had not abandoned his people completely—as the prophet Isaiah looked into the future, he saw the eventual restoration of God’s people through the intervention of a “Servant” who would save God’s people once and for all.
Salvation was on the horizon—however, Isaiah also saw that the way this Servant would save the people wasn’t by overthrowing the political powers of the day or defeating his enemies in battle. Instead, he would take the punishment the people deserved for their sin onto himself in order to reconcile them to God—and only after that would he save them from their enemies.
Isaiah 53:4-5 “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
As it turns out, the greatest deliverance the people needed was from their own sin, and this future Servant would suffer as a sacrifice on their behalf. But who would this be, and when would he come?