Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Who is He in Yonder Stall?

He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful. Revelation 17:14

Now that the hustle and bustle of Christmas is (nearly) over, I thought it would be beneficial to spend the next few days thinking about what the birth of Jesus means to us today. Just who is this baby born in a manger? How does His work on earth change who I am? And what is my response?

He is the baby born in a manger in Bethlehem.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

Shepherds left their flocks to go see this new baby, the One who was their King!

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
Luke 2:8-20

Jesus grew up just like the rest of us - day by day, year by year. The Bible reminds us that He grew physically, mentally AND spiritually.

The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. Luke 2:40

Just a few verses later, God reminds us again.

And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:52

It's important to remember that Jesus was a man - a human being just like you and me. It's important to keep that in mind when we read about some of His experiences on earth. Before His ministry began, He was baptized, and then He spent 40 days alone in the desert.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. Matthew 4:1-2

Our hymn writer asks "Who is He in deep distress, fasting in the wilderness?" Remember, Jesus is a human man in the desert, having had nothing to eat for 40 days or nights. Deep distress is putting it lightly. But Jesus was obeying His Father - the Bible tells that He was LED UP BY THE SPIRIT into the wilderness. And while He was there, Satan tried to undo Him. But, thanks be to God, He could not be undone!

And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’” Matthew 4:3-4

Do you see how Jesus responded to the devil? By quoting Scripture! And He does it again!

Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written,‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU' and‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’” Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’” Matthew 4:5-7

And again!

Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’” Matthew 4:8-10

Jesus used the Word of God to defeat the devil; and it worked beautifully. And what sweet relief came His way after Satan departed!

Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him. Matthew 4:11

Truly, He is the Lord and the King! We humbly fall at His feet and crown Him Lord of ALL!

What can we learn from Jesus through His experience in the wilderness? It certainly shows me how important the Word of God is, and how critical it is that we hide the Word in our hearts so that we might use it to defeat the wily ways of our enemy, the devil.

God told His chosen people that His words should be ever before them.

You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. Deuteronomy 11:14

When we know God's word, and treasure it in our hearts, it prevents us from sinning!

Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You. Psalm 119:11


For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

The Word of God has the power to save - and the power to show us our sin. When it dwells in us, we can overcome the devil, bring comfort and encouragement to others as well as strengthen our own faith as we bring His Word to mind.

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16

Spend some time thinking about how you can you more deeply dwell in the Word of God this year. It might be through focused and regular Bible study or through Scripture memorization. Pray and ask the Lord to guide you and give you the desire to know His Word so that you, like Jesus, can use Scripture every day to grow in wisdom and in the grace of God.

Who is He in Yonder Stall?
Words by Benjamin Hanby

Who is He in yonder stall
At whose feet the shepherds fall?
Who is He in deep distress,
Fasting in the wilderness?

’Tis the Lord! O wondrous story!
’Tis the Lord! the King of glory!
At His feet we humbly fall,
Crown Him! crown Him, Lord of all!

Who is He the people bless
For His words of gentleness?
Who is He to whom they bring
All the sick and sorrowing?

Who is He that stands and weeps
At the grave where Lazarus sleeps?
Who is He the gathering throng
Greet with loud triumphant song?

Lo! at midnight, who is He
Prays in dark Gethsemane?
Who is He on yonder tree
Dies in grief and agony?

Who is He that from the grave
Comes to heal and help and save?
Who is He that from His throne
Rules through all the world alone?

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