A Cave Made for a King (365 Days of Daring Faith — DAY 357)
Isaiah 9:6 (NLT)
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Over the years, I have seen some very beautiful Nativity scenes in front of houses, churches, and other public places. When I was a kid, it evoked a sense of wonder and to a degree, it still does. But there are, of course, some inaccuracies as a result of people’s imagination. For one, Jesus did not have blond hair or blue eyes as many ethnic-European photos describe him. Most accurate historians and scholars agree that Jesus was ethnically Middle Eastern.
Then there is the wooden manger. At least, this is how we typically describe it in the Christmas story. In the bible, the word “manger” is translated as “feeding trough”. Historians believe that in Bethlehem and other parts of that world, many animals were kept in caves, not stables and feeding troughs were made out of stone, not wood. So it is highly likely that Jesus was born in a cave and placed in a feeding trough made of stone.
By now, I’m pretty sure your childhood memories of Nativity scenes are somewhat crushed. But a point of wonder is why God didn’t choose to allow Jesus to be born in a palace or at least in the home of a prominent, wealthy family.
The answer can be found in Isaiah 9:6. God aimed to set an example of humility and availability through Jesus Christ before the world. The greatest gift ever given to mankind did not come as expected. The One who would be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” came as a little infant. His mother wrapped him in common clothing of that day. He was placed in an unlikely place for a human. His birth, life, and death was defined by his humility.
In Jesus’ day, when a firstborn child was born in the royal palace, particularly a male child, he was carefully guarded and protected throughout his life because he was most likely to be the heir to the throne. Common people were not able to access the young child. But Jesus was not this way. The cave was open to everybody. No special permissions were needed. The shepherds and wise men freely entered this humble abode because God wants Jesus to be available to all men.
Throughout his adult life on earth, he willingly welcomed people to himself. He made himself available to old people and little children alike, to rich rulers and poor widows. Jesus was always available to people. Yes, the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” sits in heaven and no matter where we are in life, he is always available to us as well.
“A rule I have had for years is: to treat the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal friend. His is not a creed, a mere doctrine, but it is He Himself we have.”
— D.L. Moody