by Barbara Latta
When we hear the Christmas story recorded in the book of Luke and read about the manger where Mary laid the newborn babe, the image of a wooden box full of hay comes to mind. But research shows that mangers in those days were usually a carved stone trough and were sometimes on the ground floor of a house so the animals could be close by.
|Stone feeding trough in Israel|
Jesus came to earth to die (John 18:37). His purpose was already being displayed when he was born. The baby would have been rubbed with salt and oil (Ezekiel 16:4), wrapped in strips of cloth,and then laid in a manger (Luke 2:7). Angels were proclaiming his birth.
At His death, he was anointed with about one hundred pounds of spices, wrapped in a linen cloth, then laid on a stone slab in a tomb (John 19:38-40). At His resurrection, two angels were sitting at the head and the foot where he had lain (John 20:12), which paints a perfect picture of the Mercy Seat—a slab on top of the Ark of the Covenant covered with two angels one on each end.
The priest would sprinkle blood on the Mercy Seat covering the sins of the nation each year (Hebrews 9:6-7). Jesus entered heaven and sprinkled His blood on the altar to atone for our sins forever (Hebrews 9:11-15). The blood shed during the birthing process showed us He was the Son of Man, the blood shed at His death was as the Son of God.