Download the Article: 248A, The Baby Grew Up
This would be good to pass on to people at Christmas time.
The Baby Grew Up
Babies Do Not Threaten Us, But Adults Do
Based on an article in Forthright Magazine, December 9, 2008, Column: Square One, “The Baby Grew Up,” by Richard Mansel
By Don Ruhl
We Love Babies
Even people who normally do not love babies, start loving babies after they have one. Yes, frustrating moments accompany the life of a baby, but the smile that a baby can throw your way, just makes your day.
Babies are cute in ways that men are not, especially preachers. Babies may frustrate us temporarily, but preachers can anger us permanently. Too bad some babies grow up to be preachers.
Many Love the Baby Jesus
With Christmas this month, we think of Jesus as a baby, and we should, because the Bible presents that image to us. There has never been a birth like it nor shall there ever be again. However, let us not think of Him as always a baby. Babies grow up. Jesus grew up. Jesus became a preacher.
It is scriptural to remember everything about Jesus, including His birth. Have you thought on the wonder of His birth? I do not mean the virgin birth, but Jesus worshiped as God in heaven (and what a reputation that was!), then made Himself of no reputation, allowing Himself to begin life as a one-celled zygote in the womb of a woman, then allowing Himself to grow within, relying entirely upon the woman, nature, and God, and went through the birth process, then He who was on the throne in heaven, as helpless as any other baby, knew that His parents would place Him in a manger.
Would you have done that? We do everything we can to get to heaven. Can you imagine leaving it to live here? “Why did my Savior come to earth, And to the humble go? Why did He choose a lowly birth?”
He was cute and adorable, but there have been billions of cute and adorable babies born into the world. God the Father sent His blessed and beloved Son Jesus Christ into the world for a purpose. That purpose was to die and be raised from the dead. But even then that had another purpose. Do you know why Jesus died and rose from the dead? He entered the earth through birth, then left the earth, and came back again to give us a gift that outweighs any gift anyone has ever given us before. Do you want that gift?
Why did the Jews and the Romans kill a man who had been a cute and adorable baby? The baby grew up. As a grown up, He preached and did things that offended many people, so much so that they wanted Him dead in the most horrible way. Yet, He turned their curse for Him into a blessing for us all.
Many Do Not Love the Adult Jesus
While some did not like the baby Jesus and wanted Him dead, such as Herod and others who were troubled at the announcement of the birth of the Messiah (Matt 2.1–9, 16–18), many more wanted Jesus dead when He was a man. He offended them as no baby ever could.
The baby Jesus does not threaten us. He does not demand that we repent. He does not command us to commit our lives to Him.
The adult Jesus threatens us. He demands that we repent. He commands us to commit our lives to Him. He requires that we put Him and His kingdom first before everything in life.
We come together in the baby Jesus, but Matthew 10 records the words of Jesus that He knew people could and would divide over Him, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household” (Matt 10.34–36).
The man Jesus exposes our evil and demands that we repent, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil” (John 7.7). “There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13.1–5).
Even so, the adult Jesus makes a gracious offer of mercy. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt 11.28–30).
The Dear Jesus and the Dangerous Jesus
Jesus has always been Lord and God, whether as a baby or as a man working miracles and teaching the things of God. However, people see two of Jesus. One they see as the dear Jesus. The other they see as the dangerous Jesus.
The dear Jesus laid in a manger.
The dangerous Jesus sat on a mountain and told us to love our enemies.
Are these the reasons people honor and worship angels? People portray angels as beautiful creatures who demand nothing of us, but are always there to protect and to help us. Do people see the baby Jesus the same way?
I am sure many see His birth as the magnificent event that it was, that the Son of God had finally entered the world to save mankind from sin and to offer the hope of eternal life.
One brother said, “In the manger, he offers the warm glow without the fear of being burned” (Richard Mansel).
The baby Jesus can be happy with a monetary gift. We can give money to celebrate His birth, and not get enough of Him to disturb our sleep over what we heard Him preach. It is like having a hot chocolate by a warm fire. I do not have to offer my services to someone who needs me. It gives joy without demanding transformation. It fills me with good feelings at His birth, but I do not have to be reborn. Perhaps the baby Jesus offers that for people.
Celebrate His birth just as you would any other part of Him and His ministry, but remember that the baby grew up. He demands more than warm glows from us. He demands all that we are and all that we have. He gives us enough to explode our souls and disturb our comfort zones. He leads us to the cup of persecution, but offers the promise of eternal life. He commands us to love, not only the man or woman of another race, but He teaches us to love our enemies. He demands transformation that will lead to ecstasy, but through a new birth that places us in a world ready to make us fall.
Why Did the Baby Jesus Come Here?
Was it just to make us feel good? Well, yes, both the Father and the Son want us to feel good, but not necessarily about ourselves. They want us to have the wonderful feelings that come from having a relationship with them, but that relationship is so special that we have to forsake everything and everyone else. Listen to what the baby said when He grew up, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt 10.37–39).
The baby Jesus came into the world to show us the only way, the only truth, and the only life that gets us to the Father, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14.6).
He was born to die, but He wants us to die that we might be born. Do you know how that happens? You die to your old self, then we bury you in water and bring you up because you have been born again. You then live for Him.