What Happened in Bethlehem?
Dec 1 – Dec 4
Bethlehem Is a Place of Privilege
By Michael Youssef, Ph D. 12/03/20
God lifts up the lowly and humble.
Read Luke 2:1-7.
Bethlehem was already a significant part of Israelite history as the birthplace of Israel’s beloved King David. But then, centuries after David’s reign, the Lord spoke through the prophet Micah. He announced that a new ruler would come from Bethlehem, “whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2). He was speaking of the Messiah. God had chosen the quaint and seemingly insignificant town of Bethlehem, once again, to be the birthplace of a king. But this King would be the Son of God and the Savior of the world.
The Lord could have chosen any city on the planet as the birthplace of His Son. But He didn’t choose Jerusalem, although it was the place where religious power resided. Rather, God chose Bethlehem to show that the hope of the world does not lie in a religion or a religious system. Religion says we must earn our way to God—that we can be good enough, pious enough, disciplined enough, generous enough. But we could never behave our way to heaven. So Jesus lived the life we should have lived in our stead and paid the penalty of all our sins at the cross.
And He didn’t choose Rome. At the time, Rome was arguably the most important city on earth. It was where the emperor lived, and it boasted tremendous political power. God could have chosen Rome, but He wanted the world to know that hope cannot be found in politics. No human leader could ever deliver what we truly need. There is no law, policy, or program that will answer the deepest longings of our hearts. Christians should be engaged in politics, but politics is not our hope.
And He didn’t choose Athens. Athens was regarded as a place that prized intellectual pursuits and wisdom. The greatest philosophers of the ancient world spent time in Athens, and many of their ideas are still floating around today. However, no amount of knowledge can save anyone; all man-made philosophies have their limits, and not a one has power to save. True wisdom that leads to salvation begins only with the fear of the Lord (see Proverbs 9:10). I’ll say it again: the only hope for the world is Jesus.
So God privileged that little town of Bethlehem. He chose a lowly, despised place to let everyone know that Jesus—and Jesus alone—is the hope of the world. He chose the humblest of circumstances to display the greatness of His Son.
Prayer: Jesus, I want to fix my eyes on You, for You are the only one mighty to save. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“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).