He is precious to me because of His manger. You may ask, “Why? What does that mean?” Well, let me tell you. The manger of Bethlehem tells the story of our Lord and Savior’s wonderful love and of how the Son of God became man.
He was the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. He gave up Heaven’s glory, coming to Earth with all its sin and guilt. Was that not proof of His wonderful love? As we read in Hebrews 12:2, He could have had joy but instead chose to endure the cross and disregard the shame. He knew what He was facing, what people would do to Him. He knew that they would execute Him, and yet, He came to us. He saw how people lived and died in sin, and He felt compassion.
He came to us to become our Savior and Redeemer. Instead of being surrounded by holy angels, He lived in the midst of sinful humanity. Instead of being with the Father, who loved and lived in wonderful harmony with Him, He was at the mercy of earthly leaders who persecuted Him all the way to the cross. What a difference!
What love! And for whom was this love? For the lost world—for you and me! I do not know who you are, dear reader. I do not know the life you have lived. I do not know what sin and shame you may have in your past. But I know who you are: You are someone loved by God. The Lord came to Earth for you. His love was and is meant for you. Whoever you have been, whatever you have done—you are beloved by God. Is this clear to you? Have you truly grasped this point? Let me say to you today:
You are loved by the Lord. Yes, you!
When I think about how I spent years of my life not wanting anything to do with Him, not concerned with His Word, and even intentionally going against His will, I say to myself: Loved by the Lord nonetheless! Yes, the manger in Bethlehem speaks to me of the wonderful love of our Savior, who so loved the world that He left His place in heaven to come to Earth and save us.
But it also tells me something else. It tells me that the Son of God became a person like you and me in every respect. Jesus walked on Earth as a true human being. No aspect of being human is foreign to Him. It is impossible for us to get into a situation that He did not experience Himself.
Here are a few examples! Let us start with someone who is the only believer in the family. Nobody in his family understands him. They laugh and make fun of him. It causes him a lot of pain to be so lonely and misunderstood by his loved ones. His heart grows heavy when he considers that nobody wants to join him in following Jesus.
When we look at Jesus, we see that He went through the same thing. There was a time in His life, too, when His brothers didn’t believe in Him and even His mother didn’t understand Him. Mark, one of the gospel writers, tells us in chapter 3 of his gospel that His loved ones went out to stop Him, saying, “He is out of His mind.” Is that not the same accusation that many a believer still hears from the people around him today? It must have been difficult for the Lord Jesus as well, but He told His Father about His troubles, and His loved ones all came. Even His brothers began believing in Him, if only after His resurrection.
In another example, someone may have been betrayed by a trusted friend, crying, “He broke my heart!” Anyone who has experienced this knows how difficult and painful it is. Jesus certainly knows the feeling, having to say of Judas, “He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me” (John 13:18).
We may encounter someone else at the edge of a fresh grave. Her life has suddenly become empty and sad, her heart suffering a bleeding wound that cannot seem to heal. The Lord understands this as well, having stood at the grave of Lazarus, seen the suffering brought on by death, and experienced the devastation of the bereaved sisters. He cried in heartfelt empathy, feeling the people’s pain and grief.
See, the Lord has gone through every situation and every problem we could face in our lives. Nothing human is foreign to Him. He knows us and all of our trials and tribulations. That is why we read in Hebrews, “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).
He is such a precious Savior to me because He was human. Now, I can turn to Him in any situation and know that He understands. He knows me and all my needs and circumstances, and nothing is too slight or inconsequential for Him. He knows, at first hand, how someone in my situation feels.
That is why the Father has appointed the Son as the Judge. According to the Scriptures, the Son will be presiding over Judgment Day, not the Father. In John 5:27, we read, “and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.” What does that mean? If the Father were to hold judgment himself, I think that some people would say, “Sure, but what does God know about how someone in this situation would feel? God can’t understand us.” But nobody will be able to say this when Jesus holds judgment because Jesus experienced the same temptations we do, being “in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). He can assess how heavy our hearts may be in various situations, but He also knows that God’s grace is sufficient for every problem and sorrow.
Jesus will one day be your judge, so make sure that the Judge is on your side. Give Jesus your heart and your life! I can tell you that it is precious to have a Savior you can turn to in every situation, never having to fear that you are coming to Him too often or that He will not empathize with your suffering. No, never!
The manger makes Jesus precious to me because I now know that He was human like me and that I can fully trust Him. How I wish that you would get to know Him in the same way and that He could become a precious Savior to you, too!