You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Psalm 23:5b NKJV
In the Old Testament anointing with oil was very important.
Aaron, the first high priest, was anointed with oil. He and his sons were set apart by God for the service of God and the Tabernacle.
Exodus 29:7 KJV — Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.
Kings were anointed. Saul, David, and Solomon were anointed with oil to show God had chosen them. (1 Samuel 10:1,16:13, 1 Kings 1:39)
In Matthew we see a detailed list of names, the importance being Jesus’s lineage through Joseph, a direct descendant of the kingly line.
So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations. Matthew 1:17 NKJV
God spoke clearly to Joseph about Jesus.
And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus , for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 NKJV
Joseph’s adopted son Jesus was a direct line to David.
Jesus’s anointing isn’t only through the kingly lineage of David.
Hebrews 6:20 NKJV — where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Jesus is both King of Kings and our high priest.
Hebrews 7:24-25 NKJV — But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
How incredibly intricate the details which all came together in Jesus.
As we add Joseph to the Nativity let us reflect upon Jesus’s dual anointing: king and priest.
It’s very clear, God choose Joseph to be Jesus’s adopted father.
We have a choice as well.
Whether one will live in total surrender to the King and Priest or not.
For those who choose to the scripture speaks clearly.
“He (Jesus) will save His people from their sins.”
Surely, our cup overflows due to His “intercession for” each of us.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; Psalm 23:5a NKJV
Can you picture it?
A wooden table with bowls and perhaps a wine flask.
The mother of many children bringing in food and setting everything for the meal.
Finally, she calls to the workshop that all is ready.
The Bible doesn’t tell us what an average day in Jesus’s childhood looked like. However, preparing food and serving the table is often part of a mother’s daily routine.
Today, we are adding Mary to our Nativity.
As the mother of Jesus, she would have been able to prepare many a meal for her son.
However, these verses in Psalms lean towards a much more important table than the every day one.
The line, …”in the presence of my enemies”…, points to a specific table in Jesus’s life.
During the Last Supper, the Passover celebration, Jesus was in the presence of an enemy. He was there with intent to lead more enemies to Jesus.
Matthew 26:25 NKJV — Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?” He said to him, “You have said it.”
Even in this Jesus understood all that the Father was allowing and why.
Scripture doesn’t mention Mary, Jesus’s mother at the Last Supper.
She was there at the cross. (John 19:25)
Did she stand there and recall the words?
Luke 2:34 NKJV — Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Even in the presence of so many enemies, Jesus knew this was not the end.
The table prepared before His enemies would be the last He would be at before His crucifixion.
Jesus knew that although this table was a stepping stone to His suffering at the cross, He also understood that same suffering would be a step towards a different table.
Revelation 19:7-9 NKJV — Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
One day Jesus, the Lamb of God, will be at the marriage supper.
Every believer in Jesus is invited.
Not a single enemy will be present.
How difficult it is for us to see suffering as a benefit, yet through the cross and Jesus’s suffering we are made new, clean, and eternal guests at the table of the marriage of the Lamb.
May our hearts praise and thank our Lord Jesus for His suffering and let us rejoice and be glad for the table yet to come!
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Psalms 23:4 NKJV
The staff, a simple tool of the shepherd, is a comfort.
Shepherds are no longer common in our culture.
Yet, they still exist, and although each culture handles things uniquely, even now a staff is a useful tool.
Anyone who has raised sheep can explain how each one needs to be guided and often they tend to go their own way.
The staff is an extension of the shepherd and is used to direct, guide, and at times keep the sheep from heading the wrong way.
Scripture tells of a Good Shepherd, one who cares for the sheep.
Psalm 80:1 NKJV — To the Chief Musician. Set to “The Lilies.” A Testimony of Asaph. A Psalm. Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth! (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 40:11 NKJV — He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young. (Emphasis added)
Micah 7:14 NKJV — Shepherd Your people with Your staff, The flock of Your heritage, Who dwell solitarily in a woodland, In the midst of Carmel; Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, As in days of old. (Emphasis added)
John 10:11 NKJV — “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”
Not only did He sacrifice Himself for each and every one of us, He leads us down the paths of righteousness.
Today’s addition to the Nativity is a shepherd.
Another beautiful picture of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who laid down His life for each one of us.
The shepherd’s staff is a comfort to those who follow Jesus.
We have God’s Holy Word to guide and direct us.
We have Jesus to lead us.
We are not left alone, scattered and in danger of predictors.
John 10:10 NKJV — “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
As we look on our Nativity and remember our Good Shepherd, let us rejoice!
Our lives belong to Jesus.
When we submit our lives to Him, He becomes King.
With His Kingship, He guides and directs us, He comforts and provides for us.
“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21 NKJV
Psalm 23:3b NKJV — He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
The path which led Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem was only a portion of the path which would lead to the cross.
God had proclaimed the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.
Micah 5:2 NKJV — “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
Although, Joseph and Mary were from Galilee.
Luke 2:4 NKJV — Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
Jesus also lived in Egypt. (Matt. 2:13)
Then later, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus moved to Nazareth.
Matthew 2:23 NKJV — And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
As an adult Jesus traveled.
Matthew 4:13-15 NKJV — And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:Matthew 4:15 NKJV — “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles:
From before His birth His life’s path followed the Scriptures, and we know it is all for His name’s sake.
Psalm 79:9 NKJV — Help us, O God of our salvation, For the glory of Your name; And deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins, For Your name’s sake!
Only by His name are we saved.
Acts 2:21 KJV — And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Psalm 106:8 KJV — Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake, that He might make His mighty power to be known.
Our Nativity drawing today is a donkey.
To remind us of the path of righteousness Jesus traveled His whole life.
The Bible doesn’t say Mary rode on a donkey to Bethlehem. However, it does say Jesus rode on one to Jerusalem, for the moment in history when He would be sacrificed for the sins of mankind.
Matthew 21:7 NKJV — They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them.
Jesus’s life was the path of righteousness and His life can cleanse ours.
While adding a donkey to the Nativity, realize the incredible truth of what He did for His name’s sake.
Psalm 25:10-11NKJV — All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies. For Your name’s sake, O LORD, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
Psalm 23:2-3a NKJV — He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.
For a sheep to lie down in green pastures means two things
First, they have eaten their fill.
Second, there’s more available the moment they want to stand up and eat again.
Jesus said, “I am that bread of life.” John 6:48 KJV
Still water is the only kind most sheep will go near. They are afraid of moving water since they are not built to swim.
John 4:14 NKJV — “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross paid for every sin and saves us from eternal death.
His life gives us abundant spiritual bread and water.
John 6:35 KJV — And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
Truly, Jesus restores the soul.
While celebrating the birth of our Savior, let us recall the beauty of salvation and the joy which comes from freedom from the bonds of sin and death.
Psalm 51:12 KJV — Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Pictures today can be either hay and a watering trough, or bread and a water jar. Both would be expected in a place which housed animals and people.
Play, listen, and or sing Away in a Manger.
While enjoying this Christmas carol let your heart meditate upon the truths we’ve already looked at. First, Jesus is the Lamb of God. Secondly, the manger wasn’t a mistake, but a purposeful picture. Third, Jesus’s death and resurrection restores our souls from sin and death.