The Manger is as Empty as the Tomb (Revelation 19:11-21)

                It’s Christmas eve.  On this wonderful day, full of expectation and of joy for so many, our thoughts rightly turn to the coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ, to earth.  God did what is totally unimaginable.  God, the Creator of all the universe including mankind, God became flesh.  God became human.  God sent forth his Son who lowered himself, humbled himself, to take upon himself humanity.  Jesus did this so that he could stand in the place of God’s people and redeem them for himself.

 

As we tell this glorious Christmas story, we see the gentleness, the loveliness, the beauty of it all.  God, the King of the universe, came to earth as a little baby.  God, the most worthy of all Kings, was wrapped in clothes and placed in a manger.  God, the One who spoke the universe into existence, had to sleep in a feed troth because the town’s guest house was full up.

 

                I think it right for us to love that story.  I think it right for us to picture it in all its sweetness and mystery.  It is good for us to remember the Christ child born in Bethlehem.  But, I want us also to remember that Jesus is no longer the babe in the manger.  Jesus grew.  Jesus lived.  Jesus perfectly fulfilled all righteousness.  Jesus died as the sacrifice for our sins.  Jesus rose from the grave.  Jesus ascended to heaven.  Jesus is alive even now.  And, O don’t forget this, Jesus will return.

 

                This morning I read a picture of that baby born in Bethlehem.  Read this too, and see the grown up Jesus upon his return to judge the wicked and reign forever.

 

Revelation 19:11-21

 

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” 19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. 20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

 

            Now, am I trying to bring violence or ugliness into Christmas?  By no means.  I simply want us to remember that Jesus is not still in that manger.  The manger is as empty as the tomb.  Jesus occupies the throne of the universe, and he is bringing this world into proper subjection to himself as King of kings and Lord of lords.  HE will judge those who see him as nothing more than a fairy tale, a myth, a storybook fantasy.  Jesus is King, and we all must bow and acknowledge him. 

 

            This Christmas, will you tell the story of Jesus’ birth?  Will you tell of God coming to rescue his people?  Will you tell of God doing what no one expected in a way that no one could have ever dreamed?  But will you also tell of the Christ who grew, who atoned for the sins of God’s people, who lives even now, and who will rule the universe and beyond for all eternity?