Christmas Reflections 2022 - Day 2
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. - Micah 5:2 (NIV)
Prophecy of the birth of Jesus: Our Hope and Our Joy
The book of Micah 5:2 is an interesting one. It gives us another prophecy about the birth of Jesus Christ. The city of Bethlehem is about 5 miles from Jerusalem. David was born in Bethlehem just like Jesus. The priest at that time understood that this prophecy is a reference to the birthplace of the Messiah. It was not difficult for the priest to tell the Magi where the Saviour was to be born (Matt. 2:4-6). Bethlehem has a very interesting history: this was where Jesus was born and the one that was born here will someday rule. His birth also will be the incarnation of the Eternal God - God became man. Bethlehem means house of bread and the one that is born there is the Bread of Life. When Bethlehem is mentioned in Genesis chapter 35:16-20, it is more of a place of sorrow -Rachel died while giving birth. It was also there that she named her son Benoni meaning son of my sorrow but Jacob renamed the boy, calling him Benjamin, "son of my right hand". These two names are reminders of the Lord's suffering and glory. Also, that was the place where David was anointed king. Bethlehem also has a place of love and devotion in the book of Ruth 4:11.
In Micah chapter 5, we understand that the one that is born there will one day rule over Israel. This doesn't sound like something that will be fulfilled but because it is a prophecy from the Lord, it was actually fulfilled with the birth of Christ in Bethlehem.
As we look at this verse in Micah, there is a part of the Christmas story that, at times, is neglected and the part is that he will sit on the throne of David and be the one who will be ruler over Israel and by that he will bring peace on the earth. If there is anything the world needs, it is peace. And that is what Jesus came to give to our world that is ravaged by war; a world that is ravaged by hunger, by terrorism and the likes.
The coming of Christ brings peace and that peace is for as many as would accept His Lordship over their lives. The prophecy about his birth gives hope and joy to a world that is far gone on the expressway to eternal separation from God. The other thing is that his coming is the Incarnation of the Eternal God – whose going forth have been from of old, from everlasting – He became man. The implication of his Incarnation is that he knows our pain, every pain that we feel, he knows. Secondly, he has power to forgive sins and the third thing is that he can meet all our needs. And because of these, he deserves to be obeyed; deserves to be worshipped.
As we come to him, we should come in humility and he will bless us.
Of all the towns, Bethlehem does not look like a place where the Saviour should be born but God chose for the Saviour to be born there. Though Jesus came as the deliverer, as a shepherd who cares for his flock, he was rejected. The book of Micah gives us an encouraging scenario which the people did not understand. Though an insignificant, small town, that is the place chosen for the birth of the Saviour of the world.
May we all in humility receive him as we worship His majesty and be blessed by His coming.
How is the prophecy of the birth of Jesus a source of hope and joy for you in your walk with God?