John Gray - There's A Baby In The Barn
So do me a favor and go to Luke chapter two, Luke chapter two, starting at the eighth verse. Now there were in the same country, shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then an angel, who looked like Fiona from the worship team. I said is she a angel, she getting married? I don't know what, that was a beautiful dress, it was so Herculeans. She had a whole lot of faith to be up that high. That little platform would not have supported my ministry. Like uh!
Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you. You will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths lying a manger".
I want to draw your attention to this last verse. We know about the stunning announcement, the arrival of this baby, and the supernatural circumstances what I want to draw your attention to is what the angel said, and where the angel told the shepherds they could find this baby. You can find this baby, not in the best hotel that money can provide, not in the best mansion in Israel, but you will find this baby wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. I wanna share from the thought, there's a baby in the barn. There's a baby in the barn.
When we think about Jesus, you can not think about Jesus in a vacuum. You must look at the necessity, and the history under which Jesus arrived, keeping in mind thousands of years of prophetic declaration, and a hunger in the earth, and the need for someone to save us from ourselves. When we were first created, we were perfect, and of course, there was a fall in the garden, we were kicked out of the garden. Of course, God then chose his people, the Israel, or the nation of Israel, and the 12 tribes of Israel, and he chose them from among all the other peoples of the earth, and from them would rise one day, according to prophecy, a Messiah, the Mashiach, one who save and redeem the nation of Israel, and therefore, and through that, all the other nations of the world would be blessed and find salvation.
And so there were whispers of the Messiah coming, prophecies of the Messiah, "For unto us, a Child is born, unto us, a Son is given and his name will be called Emmanuel, God with us, and he's gonna be Wonderful, Councilor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father", all of these great things, and there was all of this writing from Genesis to Malachi, and then 400 years of silence, and then very inexplicably, in Luke chapter two, here comes some angels showing up to announce that the baby has arrived.
And if I'm God (and I'm glad I'm not), but if I was, after all of the stuff that was going on in the earth, I would do whatever I could to get everybody's attention, so I'm thinking, if you're going to bring the Redeemer, the Savior, the Deliverer, the one who would save the people from their sins, why wouldn't you put this baby in the top palace, call all the leaders of the world, shut the sun down, just stop the earth and be like, "Hey, everybody listen"! But that's not what God did. What he did is he announced it to shepherds in a field, and said, "I got a present for y'all, and he's in a barn, in a manger, and I need y'all to go check him out".
Why would God hide his most prized possession, his most perfect gift in a barn? Who hides something valuable in a barn? Well God specializes in hiding that which is valuable in nondescript locations. God specializes in housing that which the world couldn't understand in nondescript places. There's a story of a woman who bought a painting in a garage sale. Any garage sale hunters in here? Anybody every go to a garage sale? My mother used to go to a garage sales all the time. I had some clothes that were purchased at garage sales, amen. Still mad about it, but I'm all right now.
A woman bought a painting for $9, $9, and this is her quote. She said, "I bought it because it was ugly". It turns out that the painting was an abstract portrait by an artist named Jackson Pollack, and apparently this portrait was worth about $50 million. That's what I said. I said, I serve you, you couldn't let me go to the garage sale? Find a $9 painting for $50 million. You won't let me play the lottery, so at least let me get the painting. But what's interesting is that one person's trash is another person's treasure.
See, there's some things that the enemy wants to keep you held hostage to, wants you to stay under the trash of your shame, and your guilt, and your bad decisions, and the things that you're not proud of, but then all of a sudden, the realization that there's a baby in the barn, there's something valuable that God wants to give you in the midst of your broken things, in the midst of your worst possible version of yourself. This is the power of Christmas. Not that there are gifts under a tree, but that there was a gift given for you, when you and I could not even pay for it, earn it, or deserve it.
Somebody needs to give God praise, because there's a baby in the barn. And I know we've seen nativity scenes, and I don't wanna mess up your Christmas, 'cause the nativity scenes that we normally see on the lawn is all sweet, you got light-skin people out there holding a baby, and the straw's all perfect, and then there's a star at the top, and there's some camels, and the camels are smiling, and there's three wise men, which by the way, they didn't show up 'til about when he was two years old, but don't worry about that.
And so this whole thing was so sweet, and everything was so perfect, everything was so pretty. But the reality of Jesus' birth was a little less Romantic. He was born in a stable around stinky animals, outside, in the middle of the night, under unsanitary conditions. Just imagine, anybody ever see that movie, "Secret life of pets"? My kids got me watching it now. Okay, I like it too. But if animals could talk, I wonder what the camels would say while they watchin' Mary and Joseph and this baby, like can you believe that, that lady just had a baby in here. "Hey, Jimmy, did you see that"? "Yeah, I saw that, I ain't never see nothin' like that, man, that's crazy, man. Crazy, went up and had a baby, and they put the baby in our feeding trough".
See, a manger is not a stable, the manger is actually the thing that they put the feed in for the animals, but it was the only thing that he could sit in, it was the version of a crib. Why would God hide his most prized possession in a barn, in a manger? Why wouldn't you put him in a palace amongst the kings? Why wouldn't you let the world know? Here's why, maybe God wanted Jesus to be born in a manger, because if he was in a palace, the people who needed him the most couldn't get to him, because I'm not palace material, I'm not royal material.
I'm glad God brought the baby to a manger with a bunch of dirt, and animals, and mess, because my flesh is dirty, and messy, and in need of something to purify it from the inside out. I'm glad the baby wasn't born where I couldn't get to him. God took the highest of the high, brought him to the lowest of the low, and said, if you wanna see him, you gotta humble yourself, you gotta bring yourself down.
This is why we need to thank God that there's a baby in the barn, and not in a palace, because we would not qualify to even approach him, but because he made himself of no reputation, ah, being brought in to the form of a man, God wrapped flesh around the mystery, and brought him in to a manger, we get to access this baby, this son, there's a baby in the barn, and he's able to save, and he's able to heal, and he's able to set free, and it doesn't matter how dirty you are, that's why he was born in a manger, why? Because there's no amount of dirt that's too much for him to come and visit you in, to come and dwell in.
Why did God hide his most prized possession in a barn? Well God always hides great things. Look at you. People think they know you. They don't have a clue what's on the inside of you. Over 27 teams coming, and when God reveals what he's been working on your entire life, the people who thought they knew you gonna be sitting there with their open, talking about I had no clue, yeah, because God had it hidden until this moment. God will always hide greatness in places where it doesn't look like it's supposed to be buried, 'cause he wants to throw the enemy off. If the enemy had any clue what was in you, he would have taken you out when he had the chance, but God has kept you until this moment.
Is everybody grateful there's a baby in the barn? I need a five second praise in here. God will always hide valuable things in secret locations. He hid a deliverer, put him in an ark, and rolled him down the river past crocodiles and piranhas only for that baby to land on the shore, and for Pharaoh's house to raise him. He would become Moses who was trained, and schooled in all the knowledge and wisdom of the Egyptians, yet he was a Hebrew, so he was the best of both worlds, and he was able to be used by God to be a deliverer of his people.
God will hide you in plain sight. He hid a reluctant prophet in the belly of the fish until the prophet said, please spit me out, I will say whatever you want me to say. Please get me out of here, I'm sorry! God will hide a king in a field, and put a shepherd's costume on him, the eighth son of a man named Jesse that nobody saw coming, but he was out in the field writing songs, and singing to God, and raising the sheep of his father. He was hidden in a field, God'll hide a king in a field until he's ready, until the lion shows up, and when the lion shows up, God'll take the shepherd costume off, and put a rock in your hand, and he will let people know you were a king the entire time.
God will hide valuable things until it's time for them to be revealed. The Bible says in 119 an 11, he hides his word in our heart that we might not sin against him. Is anybody grateful that God still hides valuable things? The Bible says in 2 Corinthians four and seven, we have this treasure in earth and vessels, jars of clay. God still puts treasure in jars of clay.
Who hides a baby in a barn? I wonder what that innkeeper was thinking. I wonder if the innkeeper had a son, or some kids. You know, got a small business, maybe you keep your supplies outside, and maybe he was working and told his son, "Hey go out to the barn, I need you to get a couple things". Maybe a little boy ran out there and all of the sudden he saw this man and this woman and this baby, said, aw, they done had a baby out here in this barn, I'm telling my daddy.
He done ran back, "Daddy". "What, boy"? "There's this lady outside she just had a baby in the barn". "What"? "I said she's had a baby in the barn, a baby's in the manger. You told that lady you ain't had no rooms, I know you got two rooms left, you in trouble now. I know what you did". But even the animals was in there talking. The animals said, "That's crazy, she done had a baby, put that baby right in that manger, that's crazy. She need to feed that baby, that don't make no kind of sense".
Some people don't know what's in you, and they don't even know how to burst. So God had to do it himself. We couldn't make a Messiah, so God had to do it himself, and brought this Messiah through very controversial circumstances. A teenage mother who was unwed, she was only engaged, a virgin, this is unheard, never heard OS such, why? Because God wanted to remove the root of pride from anybody who thought they could do it on their own. God specializes in hiding valuable things in nondescript locations.
The manger is actually not the stable, the manger is actually what the animals feed from. Why would you put the baby where the animals feed from? Maybe because God wanted us to actually feed on the word, because Jesus was the word, John chapter one verse one. In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God. Through him, all things were made that were made and not one thing that was made was made without him.
I believe God still wants us to feed on the word, feed on the presence, feed on this that Jesus has provided for us. 33 spotless years, who died, he fulfilled the word, and now we get to fill up on the word, and you can come as often as you like, and can taste as much as you want, for the word says, taste and see that the Lord is good. I feel like a little call and response. 'Cause my sermon's almost over. This is gonna be the shortest sermon I've ever preached in my life. 'Cause it's Christmas, and somebody in my house better have me a gift, that's all I know. Got me in these streets preaching on Christmas.
Just in case you're here and you're saying, nobody wanna give me no gift, you don't know the kind of life I've lived. Doesn't matter, ma'am, sir, those watching online, or listening via Sirius XM 128, guess what? God knew exactly who you were, and where you've been, and he made sure that his son came under the worst possible circumstances, so there's no amount of mess, and debris, and detritus, that you can fling that would cause him to turn away.
In fact, he was born in a manger so that you and I could know that no matter how dirty our flesh is, and how dirty our souls become, he is willing, and in fact, he's looking to come and live on the inside of us. That's the key to Christmas. Not whatever you get up under a tree. It's great to have fellowship, and to have food and all of that, but the over commercialization of Christmas has minimized the sanctity, and the power of this moment. I know this is not the exact day that he was born, but it's the day that we choose to celebrate, and I'm gonna lift him up. I said I'm gonna lift him up today.
It's interesting to me, there are people like, "Y'all having church on Christmas"? Um yeah! Since it is the day that we celebrate him, he's the reason we're together, he is the church, what better day than on Christmas to than on Christmas day? It ain't about a gift under the tree, it's about the fact that no matter how broken we are, he's still got us covered, and I'm grateful that there was a baby in that barn so I could have salvation for my soul, and forgiveness for my sins, and freedom from bondage and oppression, and everything that the enemy has tried to hold me hostage to. It started on one night over 2000 years ago. A redhead angel showed up. Talking about peace on earth, good will towards men. It wasn't a regular night. It was a holy, sacred moment. It wasn't just any old evening.
I wonder what it was like, just use your imagination. I wonder what it was like to just be sitting there, a shepherd, and all of a sudden, eternity visits, heaven, heaven visits the earth. That'll change your whole night. That's not a regular night, that's a holy night. I feel like singing. Apparently only one of y'all wants to hear me, so. No, no, no, no, no, I'm emotional, I'm sensitive, not it's okay. I try to set y'all up for a song, y'all didn't want it. I feel like singing, but you know what? I preached, so I don't think I need to sing. You know what would be great, if danger would come and sing.