Jesus was born into a humble family. However, his birth featured unique events. We had the shepherds who traveled far and wide to see him, the star that guided the shepherds, and several gifts. The best highlight was Jesus lying in a manger, but what is a manger in the Bible?
According to different scriptures of the Bible, they imply a manger is a trough where animals such as oxen and donkeys feed. In Luke 2:7, after the birth of Jesus, he was laid in a manger. Therefore, in the Bible, Mary and Joseph used a manger to lay, Jesus, which signified humility.
How does the New Testament describe the manger? Does the manger have a symbolic meaning in the Bible? What was the significance of the manger? How do religious scholars describe the manger? Read on to find details about the manger as mentioned in the scripture.
How does the New Testament describe the manger?
The Old Testament mentions a manger but in a different context from what the New Testament introduces us to. We get an insight into what a manger is from when the scripture talks of Jesus’ birth. Joseph and Mary used it to lay Jesus after his birth.
Luke 2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn. The first verse in the New Testament talks of the manger. After the birth of Jesus, they wrapped and placed him in a manger. We get an idea of what it looks like.
Mary and Joseph did not have enough money to rent a decent room where Mary would give birth to their child. Hence, they sought a stable and lay him in a manger. The whole event signified the humility which Jesus carries. Despite being God’s only son, he was laid in a manger and born into a humble family.
The scripture goes further to mention a manger, Luke 2:12 And this will be a sign for you; you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. It may have been unlikely for a newborn to be laid in a manger, which explains why the angel detailed where he would be lying.
Luke 2:16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. As the shepherds went to see the savior, they confirmed what the angel had told them; they found baby Jesus lying in a manger.
Another verse in the New Testament mentions the manger, Luke 13:15. Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it away to water it? However, it is in a different context. Here we get an idea of what a manger is; it is what is attached to an ox or donkey.
Does the manger have a symbolic meaning in the Bible?
The Bible has few mentions of a manger. The most memorable is during Jesus’s birth. Teachers of the scripture imply the manger implies humility. They interpret the event as the Messiah humbling himself to a level where common people could relate to him. The narrative may have differed if Jesus had been born in a crib befitting a king.
Mary and Joseph could not find lodging where they would bring their unborn child into the world; therefore, they settled for a stable. They used what was in the stable and laid the baby on the manger as a bed.
Some scholars imply the teaching Christians may derive from this scenario. The king of kings was brought into the world in the presence of animals, which is deemed undesirable. However, because of his presence, the place gained significance as it was graced with angels and visitors who brought gifts.
Therefore, the manger symbolizes the power of the Highest. It does not have to be in fancy places since wherever Jesus is, it becomes honorable and gains purity. Jesus Christ transformed the area. Once a donkey’s feeding trough, the manger became a throne where the king was laid. And the stable, which might have been stuffy, became a palace into which the Messiah was born.
The manger was a sign that the shepherds would have identified the Messiah from the rest. It would be easier to identify him as it was unique for a newborn to lay in a manger. Also, the birth of Jesus had been prophesied, which means God had planned out everything. No other baby in the Bible is born and laid in a manger, which sets Jesus apart.
As the Shepherds would tell of the birth of the Messiah, they would spread the word of the nature they found him in. it would be difficult for people to believe Jesus was born in a manger, but with the shepherds present, they would believe them.
Other verses in the Bible mention the manger. Job 39:9 Is the wild ox willing to serve you? Will he spend the night at your crib? Here, it lacks symbolization, but the scripture gives an idea of what a manger is since it is mentioned along with an ox.
Proverbs 14:4 Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean; but abundant crops come by the ox’s strength. The book of Proverbs is one of the many verses that carry a deeper meaning. The mention of a manger in this context may have a deeper message. In Isaiah 1:3, the scripture also mentions the manger.
What was the significance of the manger?
Children are a blessing, and parents do their best as they initiate them into the world. During Jesus’ birth, Joseph and Mary booked a stable and laid Jesus on a manger which is different from people’s expectations of the Messiah’s birth. It was not an ordinary birth, and the mange was not by chance. Rather, it had a significant role.
There are different mentions of the manger in both the Old and New Testaments. But its significance is in the New Testament during Jesus’ birth. In other verses, writers of the scripture mention the manger, which has different names, such as crib and stall, where animals feed from.
In the New Testament, the word manger appears in Luke. Joseph and Mary settle for a stable in their search for lodging. Here they make use of what is available to comfort their child. They use a manger to lay Jesus to sleep. The manger was Jesus’ first bed.
The scripture mentions the manger several times. When the angel broke the news to the shepherds of a Savior being born, he used a manger to describe where they would find Him. Therefore, the manger was a symbol of the Messiah.
God is powerful, and He has the power to change and bring forth anything. Since Jesus is His only Son, He would have chosen the fanciest place. Instead, Jesus was born in a stable. The manger signifies the grace which Jesus Christ carries. Unlike the sons of Kings back then, who would be born in great places, Jesus was covered with ordinary clothes and lay in a manger.
Jesus’ birth was uniquely marked by the presence of Shepherds, gifts, angels singing, the shining star, and the manger. Therefore, the manger played a role in setting Jesus apart. There is no other personality in the Bible who laid in a manger.
How do religious scholars describe the manger?
Most religious scholars do not dispute Jesus being laid in a manger; they agree. The only difference occurs in the choice of name, as some refer to it as a stall, crib, or trough. According to scholars, a manger is a feeding trough for animals on which they laid Jesus.
They imply it had a symbolic meaning that marries what we mentioned earlier. It displays the humility of the Messiah. No other king was born in a humble environment like that of Jesus. It shows His purpose in the world; He came for the vulnerable, weak, and less fortunate.
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They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.