Humble Beginnings (ATP)
Is there any significance to Jesus being born in a stable?
Zechariah 4:10 (NLT)
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”
Although to the best of my knowledge, we are not given specific reasons for a manger birth, I believe this along with all things in scripture can be understood if we consider the character of God. I love this scripture I shared in Zechariah and have had to refer to it many times in my own life.
Have you ever heard the saying, “His eyes were bigger than his stomach?” We all know the meaning right? That though his thoughts were grand, he was not able to consume all that was in front of him. Small beginnings are not all that exciting to the average human. In fact, I have seen this in ministry many times. People often get excited about something in the moment, but when the glory fades and work needs to be done, the excitement often wanes. It is here that you find out who is truly in it for the right heart and who was just excited.
Often when we think of the Lord with our religious minds we see Him in a light that can deceive us. One of the things I get a kick out of, is most religious portrayals of Christ. Have you ever seen an ugly Jesus? The portrayals of Christ scripturally are usually quite different. Isaiah 53:2 (NLT) says, for example, “My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.” In fact not just His appearance but many of the things we think about Him are wrong. So much so that those who should have known who the Messiah was didn’t even recognize Him! Was God trying to hide Him? I don’t think that’s the case, but He was proving that how He thinks and how we do is so often different. This is good for us because after all, we are called to transform our thinking.
What can help us is to understand why Jesus was here. Contrary to how many think, Jesus did not come to say, “I’m God and you’re not… look what I can do!” Let’s look to scripture to drive this point home. In Mark 10:43-45 (NKJV), Jesus Himself said, “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” The very premise of God becoming man should be an instant clue to every believer. Jesus lowered Himself, became of no reputation, was not beautiful, and he served mankind. He was a humble man and this humble man came from humble beginnings. He was showing us that even the lowest of all can do great things in the kingdom of God!
Another conclusion we can draw from scripture is in something we call types and shadows. All throughout scripture this concept is seen, where something that happens reflects or in a sense, foretells something God will do. For example, Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son was symbolic of God sacrificing His. When we consider that there was no place to be born and that the only choice they had was that of the stable, the less than perfect or even acceptable, we see a reflection of the Savior rejected by His people. Surely if the inn keeper knew God was being born he would have found better. Surely if the Jews knew their Messiah had come they wouldn’t have crucified Him. He was rejected in birth and rejected in death, a stumbling block cast to the side.
So was there significance to the stable/manger birth? I think we can see clearly that there was. As I have often said while ministering, God put no filler in scripture but the whole of it is to teach us and help us. When we understand God’s ways, we can better understand His will. Knowing His will will help us to serve Him and His people so much the better. Though He had all the right to be glorified, everything about His earthly existence laid that down and He truly was a servant to all.
Philippians 2:5-7 (NKJV)
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.