by James Merritt

O Little Town of Bethlehem
James Merritt
Micah 5:2


1. Every person's existence can basically be summarized with three words: birth, life, and death. When you think of the birth, life, and death of the lord Jesus Christ, three cities instantly come to mind: Bethlehem is where he was born, Nazareth is where he lived, Jerusalem is where he died.

2. Each one of those cities conjures up a different picture. When you think of Bethlehem, you think of the cradle. When you think of Nazareth, you think of the carpenter. When you think of Jerusalem, you think of the cross.

3. But the story of Jesus began at a quaint little town called Bethlehem. What otherwise would have been an unheard of Palestinian town, shrouded in anonymity, has instead become the theme for poets, the subject for artists, and the goal for pilgrims.

4. Bethlehem, even to this day, is still relatively a ''little town.'' but Bethlehem is living proof that indeed big things do come in small packages. Because there are three facts about the city of Bethlehem that make it one of the most unique and indeed greatest cities in all of the world.

I. A city of fulfilled prophecy

1. Micah 5:2 is one of the clearest, most concise, and concentrated messianic prophecies in all of the bible. Keep in mind that what Micah wrote here was penned 750 years before the lord Jesus was ever born.

2. Imagine someone in the year 1199 making this statement: ''from hope, Arkansas will come the 42nd president of the united states.'' that is exactly what happened here. We have in this verse pinpointed several identifying characteristics of the coming messiah.

A. The identity of the messiah

1. He is identified as ''the one to be ruler in Israel.'' immediately we now know that the messiah, who is to be born, was to be both a sovereign and a shepherd. He was to be the anointed one who would indeed be the ruler over the nation of Israel.

2. Now the Jews recognized that this prophecy indi ...

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