“And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” Luke 2:12 KJV
“This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12 NASB
“He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Matthew 28:6 KJV
“He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Matthew 28:6 NASB
There are four places where we read of the Lord Jesus, supine, lying in various locations. Each reference expresses something of the dependence and trust of the Perfect Man in His Father.
The first instance, as noted above, is when He came into the world. What an amazing statement that must have caused wonder to the angelic host which uttered them, as well as the shepherds who received them: “Christ the Lord … lying in a manger.” The One Whom angels worshiped above Who was “high and lifted and His train filled the temple,” was now lying, not in a palace, but in a manger. He had breached heaven’s shoreline with the parting words on His lips, “Lo, I come to do Thy will,” and in total dependence upon His Father, He came.
In coming as a babe, an infant, He allowed Himself to become vulnerable to all the evil machinations of men. On the one hand, no man could take His life. On the other hand, He would personally not do anything out of character for an infant to preserve His life. That was left in the hands of His Father.
Next, He is seen asleep in “the hinder part of the ship … on a pillow” (Mark 8:38). A storm arises (the work of Satan?) and the seasoned fishermen are fearful of going down in the storm. Although the text does not say He was lying down, the implication is that He was lying asleep on the pillow. The dangers of the storm revealed, not indifference on the part of the Savior, but the calm confidence He had in His Father’s care. The only recorded instance of the Lord sleeping is here; and that sleep was interrupted by the disciples.
Gethsemane finds Him again, prostrate on His face in the garden (Matt 26:39). The ultimate expression of dependence is seen in His posture and in His prayer. The curse, the crushing, and the cup all rose before Him. In total dependence and submission, He breathed the prayer that must have again brought wonder to angels: “Not my will, but Thine be done.” He is about to enter the hour which is designated as “this is your hour (man’s) and the power of darkness” (Luke 22:53). The earth which He created drank in His sweat and echoed His prayer.
The last occurrence is in the garden tomb. “Come see the place where the Lord lay,” reminds us that His body was placed in Joseph’s tomb, dependent on His Father to raise Him from the dead. His was a life of faith; He is the author and perfecter of the life of faith (Heb 12:2). With absolute trust in His Father, He entered death and committed His body as well as His spirit, into those reliable hands (Luke 23:46). From the cradle to the cross to the cemetery, He moved here as a totally dependent Man in every situation.
All the various postures of the Lord Jesus reveal insights and beauties of His person: standing, sitting, walking, standing still, and kneeling. We never read of Him running, however. He was never “late” for anything!