in the Nativity shows us the beginning of the life of our Lord in the world, well, I should
say out of the world. Hated since He came, His story begins outside the
house, Luke 2:7, which was the announcement of what His death would be on the
cross, outside the other house, this time the spiritual house, the temple of
Jerusalem. But there is another house where Christ is at the door and calls to
come in, and if we open it He comes into the house of our heart.
The world did not receive the Lord, but He invites us to His
house, the house of the King, the house of God our Father. Christ follows His
own teaching since He came to this world and offering the other cheek, the one of
acceptance and welcoming, being hospitable, but in the manner of a King, the King
of kings, who treats us like kings: ...I
am going, then to prepare a place for you... ...in my Father's house there are
many mansions... John's Gospel.
The manger has two commonly used meanings, it refers to a
place, or stable, as well as to a stone recipient in which the food of the flock
is placed. Jesus calls Himself the heavenly Bread, that daily Bread of the
famous prayer that we ask for, in other words, the Food of His flock, the
Church, yes, He himself, as His Word says, is the living Bread, the living Word
from which we feed ourselves daily "I am the bread of life". Therefore we must
get used to go to the manger every day to eat of Christ, to eat of the Bible so that our spirit won't die of spiritual hunger.
The living word, Jesus alive reveals to us as we read, He is the food that we must
share with our neighbour every day. Because the Master taught us that there is
another food that we must eat, when He was with the Samaritan and His disciples
brought him food; He was referring to doing the Father's will. God's will, and
that will is in His living Word, in His Son Jesus Christ, Yahshua.
Since Christ is born in the manger of our soul, God does not
find a golden throne but an unworthy place for Him, where the king is my own
precisely where each of us, by a personal and intimate prayer,
by inviting Him, He comes in to make a new creation, yes, in our soul, because we never
go back to how we were before we were born again, and what happiness and heavenly peace He
brings into our lives!.
How valiant and humble has our Lord
been, what a great example of friendship, of friendly and merciful love, close,
majestic and omniscient His way of loving us, coming to this world, to a world
that is His enemy, a world that has kidnapped His wife, which the Father gave Him, and
for which He decided to give His life. What a great news for each of us, for all
in unity, that He has come to this manger of our souls.
I will go on to describe the
characters in the nativity, in a
spiritual meaning in which we shall see how God shows us the depth of His work of
salvation, in the beginning, when He came to rescue us from this world. I would
like to dedicate this Bible study to a beloved sister to whom I preached more
than ten years ago on these lines and whom the Lord finally has brought to His
body, as well as her husband, who two months ago, in her wedding was telling my wife
and I, that she would never forget this teaching. To Monica, our sister,
and to her husband Renato, therefore, and for their children when they come, as
well as for all of us, may it be of use every Christmas to bring to the world
the beginning of this Story of stories, the one of the birth of the King of the
Universe, our beloved Lord and Saviour Yahshua, mostly known as Jesus of
Nazareth, born in Bethlehem, according to the prophecy, born in the manger.
THE CHARACTERS OF THE SPIRITUAL
Let's go to Bethlehem, this time only passing by, to register
ourselves in the census of Heaven, because Christ is born in our soul, later we
return to Nazareth, our life, passing through Egypt, the wilderness. We end in
Jerusalem to die to our old man on the cross with Christ, our Lord and Saviour,
to rise with Him.
The virgin Mary is a
symbol of every soul in which Christ is born conceived of the Holy
Spirit. She, any of us, does not consider herself worthy, and nevertheless is
blessed. This conception does not come from Joseph, who is
a symbol of our flesh, because
Christ is born in us by faith given to us by the Holy Spirit, not through our
deeds of the flesh, our moral, nor our efforts of justice.
Joseph, our flesh, does not normally use the mind for Godly
things, but to rationalize and explain scientifically how things work. This is
the reason why he wanted to leave Mary secretly, because he could not yet
conceive the mind of Christ. You must be born again to understand that you
need to deny yourself.
Don't be afraid of receiving Christ in your soul, because He is
IMMANUEL, God with us. This is how it is prophesized that the Christ would be born
of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14.
In the manger of the nativity which is represented every
Christmas you also find animals, the two that stand out are the donkey and the
ox. Jesus entered triumphantly in Jerusalem riding on a donkey's colt.
These animals, the same way as they accompanied Jesus by the
manger, they accompany us since we are born; ...on Saturday (Shabbat), your ox will rest..., the
animal that pulls the plough, meaning our mission in this world and in Christ, our
work, and your donkey will rest, the animal that carries burden, meaning our
spiritual burden and our responsibility in life, because you will no longer
carry your own burden, but voluntarily you will carry your cross; both burdens.
As long as we do the way the Lord instructs: ...Take my yoke upon you and
learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for
your souls. Matthew 11:29. This way, as we carry our cross and our yoke
with Christ, is being of benefit to those for whom we carry the burden. Read the
The visit of the shepherds or pastors and the sheep, are the brethren that
feed the flock of the Lord, who have to visit a new soul where Jesus has
been born, to worship the Lord in a new manger, where we see the work He has
done in a person giving him the gift of the faith which makes him be born again,
the greatest of all miracles, that so many times goes unnoticed. Shepherds,
mostly called pastors,
must see a new soul as a treasure, as a born child of God who must be taken care
of until he grows spiritually, using all the tools that God has provided the
church with, the flock of the sheep that we all are, including leaders, pastors,
and masters of the Scripture, are enriched with the joint of a new soul of God.
The visit of the wise men, could not mean anything other than the
recognition of the worldly leaders who see in us a wisdom, a love, and a
mind that is superior, which comes from God. The knowledge of God is superior to
any human science, and surprises those who sincerely seek for knowledge and
wisdom, which makes them bring to us - to the Lord in us - gold,
frankincense and myrrh: the precious metal is a symbol of the height of a
king (...a kingdom of kings and priests, to God His Father...), frankincense is
a symbol of the anointing they have seen on us which keeps us united to God, and
the bitterness of myrrh in the persecution of this world when carrying the cross
of the message of the Gospel of Christ, before a society which is enemy of, and
The star that guided the wise men means that God is God of the
Universe, that He is above all creation, because it is His. That God uses every
science to show His supremacy to those who seek, and through it He directs the
world to the feet of His Son Jesus Christ, Yahshua, Who is in us.
BIBLE TEXTS AND COMMENTARY
...The ox knoweth his
owner, and the ass his masterís
crib... Isaiah 1:3.
...When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo,
the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and
stood over where the young child was. 10When
they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11And when they were
come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell
down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they
presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and
myrrh. Matthew 2:9.
...And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in
the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the
Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they
were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring
you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is
born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12And
this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling
clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude
of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15And it came to pass, as the angels
were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us
now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is
come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16And they came with
haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told
them concerning this child. 18And all they that heard it wondered at those
things which were told them by the shepherds. 19But Mary kept all these things,
and pondered them in her heart. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and
praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told
unto them. Luke 2.
When a person receives the Lord in his heart, is born again.
Following the Story we are taken to the times and to the situation of those pastors, shepherds
watching the fields during the night, which refers to the time of darkness in the history
of humanity until the kingdom of God is established. Now, those pastors were
visited by the angel and by the millions of angels who were announcing the birth
of the King in a manger, and were glorifying His name with spiritual songs. Let
us run joyfully as those shepherds, or pastors did to come and see the Lord in a
soul, where He is just been born and hug a new brother in the faith, a new
member of the body of Christ, another manger where, no doubt, many will
eat from when he starts giving testimony of the faith. May we glorify God with
songs and spiritual hymns making the new members know how precious their lives
are for us and for God.
...doth not each one of you on the Sabbath loose
his ox or his ass from the
stall, and lead him
away to watering? Luke 13:15.
The day of the Sabbath is the day a soul knows the Lord. It is
then when his burdens are untied, those from life and the spiritual ones, and takes
them to drink, in other words, the disciple rests of his projects, those of life
and those of religion in the Lord, putting it all in His hands so that our soul
may drink from the source of the Spirit, taking his cross, the new burden for
love in Christ.
...And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed
thence. 27And as one of them opened his sack to give his
ass provender in the inn, he espied his money; for, behold, it was
in his sackís mouth. Genesis 42:26.
The ox eats in the house, within the gate of the house are
the mangers, outdoors, this way men of God had been doing for
generations, taking their donkeys and their ox to the mangers, therefore the
representation, literal as well as spiritual.
...I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these
things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright
and morning star. 17And the Spirit and the
bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst
come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Jesus is born and dies outside of the orthodox place, and
this evidence has two sides: One is because the world and religion do not accept
God's truth... the other one is that Jesus does not accept them, does not
consider them worthy of Him...
We are walking mangers, recipients of spiritual food who
carry Christ alive, so that those with an open heart in a truthful way, towards the
Truth and the Life, may eat and be born again through the best present that a
person can receive for Christmas, faith in the Son of God, and that faith comes
by listening to the Word of our God, in the Gospel of Salvation of Jesus Christ.
Therefore make many spiritual presents and not only in Christmas, although for a
soul who is born again it is
Christmas, no matter the day of the year in which he comes to know the
I want to pray to the Lord who is the main person in our lives,
even more now
in Christmas, that with all these spiritual presents that we have shared this Christmas,
each one of you may show yourselves as a manger in which your families and
neighbours eat, so we may flood the world with spiritual food, so that our Lord
may be the centre of attention on His birthday, and the guest of honour in our
houses, and that you, with all your family pray a simple prayer that comes
from the heart in which we invite Jesus to sit at our table in our homes and to
bless us with His presence. Merry Christmas brethren, Merry Christmas Lord
Yahshua, Jesus of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem in the manger. Amen.
...But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among
the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to
be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from
Carlos Padilla, Christmas 2007