Why a Feeding Trough?
It's a boy. It's a boy. Congratulations. It's a baby boy. I got to hear that four times and I'm very blessed to have heard those words. If you have children yourself or if you're about to give birth or you know somebody that has children, you know that children change your world. Whilst they might enrage you and give you sleepless nights and troubles, they also enrich you. You stop being selfish. You become a better version of yourself. As I said, they change your world.
Well, today I want to talk about a birth that actually changed the whole world. And it was a baby boy, King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the scriptures say. He is the Son of God and he somehow ends up in a feeding trough in a two bit town called Bethlehem. And you might ask yourself, "Why?" because the religious elite, and others asked and ask the same question, and most didn't believe either that he was the Messiah, the one to be celebrated, because he didn't enter the world like a worldly king would.
Second question is, why did Jesus come through the lineage he did? Because as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, he could have been born anywhere, and had a family tree filled with greatness. But if you had a look on ancestry.com at his past, you would see one that was as colourful as any aussie's would be. We read in Matthew Chapter one that he comes from a line that has a murderer, an adulterer, and a prostitute in it, to name but a few, this is the the family tree that he decided to come through? Let me share a story to help answer these two questions.
My wife, our four boys, and I decided it would be a great idea to hop into a car, an enclosed space and drive for a few weeks across Australia. I am happy to say we all lived to tell the tale, we survived. And amongst the frustration, there was lots of highlights along the way.
One of those was stopping off in Victoria and having a look at the Ned Kelly Museum. As a young boy, I kind of idolized him a little bit Just like most of Australia did as kids, and if I'm honest, even as adults. Why? Well, because he was someone of no identity. He had a checkered background. He was born in a town that wasn't very significant. His family wasn't very significant, yet, he was able to grab attention by standing up for his family against a seemingly corrupt force, albeit in a criminal manner. So why does the story of Ned Kelly resonate with us? Because we can identify a little bit of his story in ours, and for standing up for the little people.
So coming back to the question, why was Jesus born in a feeding trough, in a two bit town, why did he have a lineage that would cause you and I to blush if it was our family tree? So that we could all identify with him and in turn find our identity in him. We have full access to him. If he's in a feeding trough, royalty can reach him and those who are insignificant reach him. And he was and is for everybody. But what does that mean for you and I, the so what? Well, he didn't stay in the feeding trough. He grew to be a man. And in the poem entitled 'One Solitary Life' the last stanza states.
"All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that One Solitary Life."
He would change the world. Especially in Western civilization, the Christian ethos is at the very foundation of our nation and we flourished because of it. But why did he come? Why did he choose to do this? To grant us forgiveness, and take our place in our great trial of treason against the King, who is God! in which the penalty is death! If we understand our justice system, that if you break the law, you come before the judge to receive sentencing.
Well, all of us have broken God's law and instead of punishing us the way we deserve, he sends his son. His son willingly goes to the cross to take our place in death. Think about two bank accounts, Jesus' bank account, the son of God is filled with good works and righteousness and no brokenness and no sin. And in our bank account , is all the things that we've done wrong. Everything that we have to give an account for. And yes, that's even our thoughts. Wow.
And so what happens on the cross? A great exchange takes this place. He takes on our sin as if it was his own and he pays for it on the cross. And in the other one, we get given all of his goodness and his gifts and we find our identity then in him, when we get to live forevermore in his presence. This is why Jesus was born in a feeding trough, so that all can access that forgiveness because it is for everyone who believes in Jesus' exchange upon the cross and follows him. That's the meaning of Christmas. That's why we celebrate and that's what we need to keep central on Christmas day 2022.