What happened to the baby in the manger? Part 2
Updated: Dec 1, 2022
Psalms for Christmas
As we stated Part 1 few people in the western world do not know nativity story. But let us just have a refresh our memory.
Verse 10; Angels announce good news, tidings of great joy
Verse 11; The birth of the Saviour, Christ the Messiah
Verse 12; The babe will be found in a manger
The ‘world’ today is happy to focus on the baby. He is no threat to their lifestyle, whilst in manger. Yet we in the church are filled with awe and wonder. The eternal word made flesh and yet even we can be caught up with tradition by focusing only on Jesus’ nativity. In our joy and celebration we must not forget the reason the Christ child came to earth.
So why did he come?
What was the mission of Jesus Christ, the Messiah?
It can be put in different ways.
To save man from sin
To restore fellowship with God
To destroy the works of the devil
1 John 3:8b... For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
It is this direction we want to remember today. You may be wondering what it has to do with Christmas, but I hope to show you that this aspect of Jesus life and mission is really at the heart of the Christmas story. And may have greater importance than the traditional view of ‘Baby Jesus’.
I first came across the underlying ideas as to why is Christmas is so thrilling to Christians whilst reading “Reflections in the Psalms” by CS. Lewis. In this book I was surprised to find that the Anglican prayer book had appointed 4 Psalms for reading on Christmas day. [Psalms 110, 45 (covered in Part 1) , 89, and 132]
We are going to look briefly at one of these Psalms now to see if we can discover any connection between Christmas and the Psalm 110.
In Psalm 110 there is not a lot about peace and goodwill or anything from the nativity. This Psalm appears to be a coronation poem/song for a new king or perhaps is a song addressed to a king on the eve of a battle. It predicts victory and empire. Some Christians call it David's creed; because it has has many elements of Christian faith in it.
Verse 1; Right hand - enemies’ necks under foot.
Verse 2; Sceptre of authority – ruling
Verse 3; His people – the church
Verse 4; Melchizedek – combined priest/king
Verse 5; Shatter kings – enemies’ death, fallen beings
Verse 6; Dead bodies abound – chief men shattered
Verse 7; Samson at Lehi – drank head down at death, lifted in resurrection
So what has Psalms 110 got to do with Jesus? Two main things.
Jesus quoted it of himself in Matthew 22:44 ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool” ’? Jesus seemed to identify with this Son of David.
2. The Mention of Melchizedek in Ps110:4 (now see Hebrews 7:14-17) 14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning [c]priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest 16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. 17 For He testifies:
“You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”
Lets remind ourselves about this mysterious Melchizedek from Genesis 14:18-20
18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said:
“Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.”
And he gave him a tithe of all.
Things to note about Melchizedek;
No details of where he comes from
Blesses in name of the Mighty Holy God
Assumes superiority over Abraham
Ministers bread and wine
A wonderful mysterious character but the fact that He is King/Priest made him the character in the whole Old Testament most like Jesus Christ.
Psalms 110:4 links Messiah to Melchizedek's priesthood and not to an Aaronic or Levitical priesthood.
Psalms 110 with the 3 other above psalms restore the ‘Balance in Seeing Jesus Christ’ as the victorious King of kings, our conquering hero not just a baby in the manger.
Let’s look very briefly at parts of the other ‘Christmas’ Psalms.
Psalms 45:3-7; Note threatening tone to enemy.
Verse 5; Sharp arrows in heart
Verse 23; Enemies crushed before Him
Verse 27; Receives whole earth
Verse 18; Enemies shamed, and His crown is flourishing.
These Psalms are very militant with Messiah as a champion, a giant killer, a hero King to fight and defeat death, hell, demon, and hordes. For this purpose Jesus Christ appeared to destroy the works of the devil. If you look at all the Old Testament scriptures quoted by Jesus, the evidence is that this is how he looked on Himself. Not in terms of His infancy but as the all-conquering King yet in gentleness and humility.
Paradox: The Messiah came to destroy?
Praise His Holy name that is exactly what he did. He defeated death, Satan all the powers and principals cancelled out our debts. Nailing them to the cross disarmed the enemy and publicly triumphed over them. Lead captivity captive ascended on high, gave gifts to men and sat at Fathers right hand far above all rule and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this but in the age to come and is head of His church. Hallelujah!!
So when we remember the ‘Baby in the manger' let us also remember the all-conquering, victorious hero King who came and completely fulfilled His mission.