The Promise of the Birth in Bethlehem (3 of 4) by Jonathan McLeod

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The Promise of the Birth in Bethlehem (3 of 4)
Series: B.C.: Before Christmas
Jonathan McLeod


THE PROMISE FULFILLED

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days (Micah 5:2).

And assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, [Herod] inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, ''In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: '''And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel''' (Matt. 2:4-6).

A few years ago, I was intrigued by a Christmas gift from my sister. It was shaped like a box of chocolates, but when I shook it, it didn't sound like a box of chocolates. What was it? On Christmas morning I discovered that it was, in fact, a box of chocolates. But why didn't it sound like a box of chocolates? Apparently, before she gave it to me, it had been set on something warm, and the contents had melted together into one big blob of chocolate. Christmas morning is often full of surprises-sometimes good and sometimes bad.

The biblical Christmas story is also full of surprises. One big surprise is that Jesus was born in the little town of Bethlehem. What do we know about the ancient town of Bethlehem?

- It was located in the hill country of JUDAH.

- It was about 8 KM south of Jerusalem.

- It was the setting for the story of RUTH.

Ruth was the great-grandmother of David (Matt. 1:5-6; cf. Ruth 4:21-22). And Jesus was a descendent of David. In the NT, He is called the ''Son of David'' (Matt. 1:1). The angel told Mary that God would give her Son ''the throne of his father David'' (Luke 1:32). As a woman from Moab, Ruth was a surprising choice to be an ancestor of Jesus.

- It was the birthplace of DAVID.

David was a surprising ...


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