What Happened in Bethlehem?
Dec 1 – Dec 4
Bethlehem Is a Place of Potential
By Michael Youssef, Ph D. 12/01/20
God sees not just who you are, but who you will become.
Read Luke 2:8-20.
By all rights, the Son of God should have been born in the most luxurious palace ever built. His mother should have been attended by the most educated and experienced doctors. The newborn Jesus should have been cradled in unparalleled splendor while His birth was heralded throughout the world.
But God’s Son was born in a stable. Mary, the teenage virgin who carried Him in her womb, received no medical care. A manger served as Jesus’ crib, and the only announcement that night—spectacular though it was—was made to poor shepherds out in the dusty fields.
What does this tell us? It tells us we have a Savior who draws near to the humble, and in the ancient world, there were few places humbler than Bethlehem. Jerusalem rested just seven miles away. And though it was not a particularly big city, compared to Bethlehem, Jerusalem was a sprawling metropolis. God’s choice should remind us that He brings strength to the weak and value to the valueless.
Just think about what came out of Bethlehem. It was there that Jesus first cried and cooed. That same voice would later declare, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). In Bethlehem, Jesus was placed in a manger, a feeding trough. Years later, He would say, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35). In Bethlehem, Jesus was first worshiped and adored by just a few lowly shepherds. But one day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (see Philippians 2:10-11).
In the ancient world it seemed that Bethlehem wasn’t important and never would be. But today, if you go to Bethlehem, crowds wait for hours on end to glimpse Jesus’ birthplace because He changed everything. He changed the history of the world and the lives of countless souls. And it all started in Bethlehem, a small place with tremendous potential.
You, too, have incredible potential. In Christ, God has given you a special purpose. He’s planned good works for you to do—some only He will see this side of heaven. So rejoice in the God who sees you. Give thanks for the ways God is preparing you, even now, to take part in His work in the world.
Prayer: Lord, help me to see that You are at work in my heart. I know You can redeem every area in my life. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about'” (Luke 2:15).