The Cross and the Cradle

Pastor Shelton Cole
Great Barrington, MA

The Cross and the Cradle

Title:  The Cross and the Cradle

Text:  Matthew 2:1-12  "Now when Jesus was born in
Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king,
behold, there came wise men from the east to
Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of
the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and
are come to worship him. 3 When Herod the king had
heard these things, he was troubled, and all
Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all
the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he
demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5
And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for
thus it is written by the prophet, 6 And thou
Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least
among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come
a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. 7 Then
Herod, when he had privily called the wise men,
inquired of them diligently what time the star
appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and
said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and
when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I
may come and worship him also. 9 When they had
heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which
they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and
stood over where the young child was. 10 When they
saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 And when they were come into the house, they
saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell
down, and worshipped him: and when they had
opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts;
gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And being
warned of God in a dream that they should not return
to Herod, they departed into their own country another

Introduction:  Teachers is a suburban school district
were under orders to keep Christ out of their
Christmas decorations.  Dr. Carl A. Newman,
supervising principal of the Gateway Union School
District, issued the order.  He said decorations or
pageants depicting the birth of Christ would conflict
with Supreme Court rulings involving religion in public

In Tennessee, recently, the Supreme Court ordered
that a Warner Sallman painting of Christ must be
removed from the school hallways where it has hung
for over 50 years.  It was stated that it is
offensive to many students.

It is a significant fact that no great battles on
Christmas Day.  They have occurred on the 24th and
26th of December, but the anniversary of the advent
of Peace on Earth has ever been observed by a
cessation of hostilities.

It is no different now than it was 2000 years ago. 
When Jesus shows up, He evokes all types of
reactions and phenomena.  Two events in the life of
Christ hold a significant parallel that arrests our
attention.  The two events are His Birth and His
Crucifixion.  The similarities, as we will see are
uncanny but profound.  At the sight of Jesus people
and things change.

Theme:  At the sight of the Messiah:

I.  The Community was disturbed and diluted.

Illustration:  I remember working retail sales during the
Christmas holidays and we were issued a
memorandum not to say Merry Christmas to anyone
but rather Happy Holidays.  Often I found myself
forgetting the order and saying with a glee of
whimsical cheer, "Merry Christmas."  On one
occasion, a lady rebuked me and said that I could
keep my sentiments to myself.  Without even thinking,
I said, "I'm sorry, are you Jewish?"  She just huffed
loudly, grabbed her package and stormed out of the
store.  Clearly, even a greeting with the word Christ in
it evoked some strong emotions from
this woman.

Matthew 2:3  "When Herod the king had heard these
things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him."

Luke 23:2-5  "And they began to accuse him, saying,
We found this fellow perverting the nation, and
forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he
himself is Christ a King. 3 And Pilate asked him,
saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he
answered him and said, Thou sayest it. 4 Then said
Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no
fault in this man. 5 And they were the more fierce,
saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout
all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place."

Note:  Our communities and towns, our governments
and peoples are still disturbed at the nativity.  They
cannot stand it that what we celebrate at Christmas is
the birth of the Messiah, the Christ,  the Son of God. 
They will do everything to try and circumvent and
commercialize it but the fact remains that it is Jesus'
Birthday.  There fierceness over this issues, I believe
stems from two things:

	A.  Their grip on the people and their power is

Psalms 2  "Why do the heathen rage, and the people
imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set
themselves, and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their
cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall
laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then
shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in
his sore displeasure. 6 Yet have I set my king upon
my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare the decree: the
LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day
have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give
thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the
uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou
shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash
them in pieces like a potter's vessel. 10 Be wise now
therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the
earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with
trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye
perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a
little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."

	B.  Their heaven is on earth and they will do 	
		anything to make sure that it stays that way

John 3:19-21  "And this is the condemnation, that light
is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather
than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every
one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to
the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he
that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may
be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."

Transition:  At the sight of the Messiah, people are still
disturbed today because He threatens to
expose their sin and they don't like that.  Their heaven
is on earth but hell is sure and could be moments

Theme:  At the sight of the Messiah:

I.  The Community was disturbed and diluted.

II.  The Cosmos declared His Deity.

Matthew 2:7  "Then Herod, when he had privily called
the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the
star appeared."

Luke 23:44-47  "And it was about the sixth hour, and
there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth
hour. 45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of
the temple was rent in the midst. 46 And when Jesus
had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy
hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he
gave up the ghost. 47 Now when the centurion saw
what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this
was a righteous man."

Illustration:  It is a matter of record and fact that a star
appeared for the first time in the first Decan of the
Constellation of Virgo immediately preceding Christ's
Birth.  It was so bright that it could even be seen in the
day time.  Ignatius says it "sparkled brilliantly above all
stars."  This star continued to shine this bright
throughout Christ's lifetime and for a time after.
Hiparchus, Ptolemy and Chinese records all record
the same event.  The star was in Coma, the sign of
the Infant accompanying Virgo, and it marked the very
head of that Infant.

Note:  Unique events in the heavens and the earth
pointed to the Christ so that all could see.

	A.  The Light of the Word is come and the 	
		wisemen were pointed to Jesus.  The Bible
		says that the heavens declare his glory

John 1:6-9  "There was a man sent from God, whose
name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to
bear witness of the Light, that all men through him
might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to
bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light,
which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."

	B.  The whole earth was darkened and the whole
		earth shook.  The centurion was awed and
		drawn to the Son of God.

Transition:  Even the most learned of men are awed at
the greatness of the creation.  So much so that many
have come to Christ simply because the heavens
declare his handiwork. 

Theme:  At the sight of the Messiah:

I.  The Community was disturbed and diluted.
II.  The Cosmos declared His Deity.

III.  The Consequence was death and departure.

Illustration:  Throughout the centuries blood has
resulted when Christ was revealed.  Just recently
two Philipino Christians were released from prison in
Saudi Arabia and sent back to the Philippines for
having a Bible Study in their home.  They could have
very well been stoned to death.  More Christians died
in 1974 under the tyrannical rule of Edi Amin Dahdah
than did in all the Roman persecutions.

Matthew 2:12-13  "And being warned of God in a
dream that they should not return to Herod, they
departed into their own country another way. 13 And
when they were departed, behold, the angel of the
Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise,
and take the young child and his mother, and flee into
Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for
Herod will seek the young child to destroy him."

Matthew 2:16  "Then Herod, when he saw that he was
mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and
sent forth, and slew all the children that were in
Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two
years old and under, according to the time which he
had diligently inquired of the wise men."

Luke 23:55-56  "And the women also, which came
with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the
sepulchre, and how his body was laid. 56 And they
returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and
rested the sabbath day according to the

Luke 24:50-52  "And he led them out as far as to
Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed
them. 51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them,
he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
52 And they worshipped him, and returned to
Jerusalem with great joy:"

Note:  Divinely God intervened and his Plan was

	A.  Death had it's place at the cradle and the 	

		1.  Jesus was born to die to shed his blood
			for the sins of the world.  This blood can
			wash you white as snow.

Illustration:  Christmas Poinsettia under red light.

		2.  God knew what men would do and 	
			brought life out of the death of innocent
			children who are with Him today.

	B.  Departure was surrounded the cradle and the

		1.  In order to live to die on the cross of 	
			Calvary, Jesus and his family departed
			to Egypt.

		2.  So that he might come again in glory,
			Jesus left his family behind so that he
			might redeem mankind.

John 14:1-3  "Let not your heart be troubled: ye
believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's
house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would
have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if
I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again,
and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye
may be also."

John 16:16  "A little while, and ye shall not see me:
and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because
I go to the Father."

Transition:  Jesus died so that you would not have to. 
He shed his blood and paid the penalty for our sin on
the cross of Calvary so that we might be saved. 
Death is sure and so is hell and judgment.


Theme:  At the sight of the Messiah:

I.  The Community was disturbed and diluted.
II.  The Cosmos declared His Deity and desire.
III.  The Consequence was death and departure.

Jesus returned from Egypt with his parents after the
death of Herod to establish His spiritual kingdom.  The
rule and reign over the hearts of men and women.  He
also will return soon to establish his earthly kingdom
with a rod of iron.  The sudden disappearance of all
Christians will occur first and folks this could be the
day.  Are you ready?  What has the sight of Jesus
today done for you?


Hark! the herald angels sing, 
"Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mile; 
God and sinners reconciled."
Joyful, all ye nations, rise, 
Join the triumph of the skies;
With Angelic hosts proclaim, 
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"

Come, Desire of nations, come!  
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman's conquering seed, 
Bruise in us the serpent's head;
Adam's likeness now efface, 
Stamp Thing image in its place:
Second Adam from above, 
Reinstate us in Thy love.