Why Jesus Was Born In Bethlehem?
by Brian Atwood
Five or six miles southwest of Jerusalem lay the tiny town of Bethlehem in the Judean hills.
It was here that man’s eyes first saw God in the flesh.
Why this place and not another of so many other possibilities?
Of course it was the home of Joseph and Mary’s ancestors - the city of David. But it was more.
Like the shepherds who received the first Christmas greeting from the angels, let their reply be our reply:
"Let us now go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us." (Luke 2:15)
CHRIST WAS BORN IN BETHLEHEM, "THE HOUSE OF BREAD" (the literal meaning of the city’s name), TO IDENTIFY WITH THE COMMON MAN.
Jesus was not born in the house of royalty, nor the house of riches, nor the house of celebrity.
Jesus was not born in Jerusalem, nor in Rome, nor in Athens or Alexandria.
Jesus was not born in any political, commercial, cultural, educational, or socially significant city of the day.
When Micah, the Old Testament prophet, foretold the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, he emphasized its lack of significance to the world.
"But thou, Bethlehem, Ephrata, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel: whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting." (Micah 5:2)
Bethlehem - "The House of Bread". Bread is one of life’s most common things.
God wanted His Son available to all.
His birth was announced to shepherds, the common man, but not to King Herod.
His cradle was a manger, an animal’s feeding trough in a lowly stable.
There is no human so low that he or she is outside the reach of the love of God!
CHRIST WAS BORN IN BETHLEHEM, "THE HOUSE OF BREAD", TO SATISFY OUR SPIRITUAL HUNGER.
Jesus said, "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger." (John 6:35)
Bread is a good comparison to our Lord because He satisfies, gratifies and strengthens us spiritually just as bread does physically.
Many are eating at the wrong table.
"Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat that which is good, and let your soul delight in fatness." (Isaiah 55:2)
It is easy to get caught up in searching for meaning in life from the wrong things because there are a lot of things that bring temporary happiness. But only Christ satifies the eternal dimension of the human spirit.
There’s a story in the Bible about a man who had a lot of things going for him, but he wasn’t living up to his potential. That man’s name was Saul and he lacked self-confidence. He didn’t understand that God had a plan for his life.
When the prophet Samuel informed Saul that he was God’s choice to be king of Israel, he foretold several things that Saul would see in the near future so that Saul would be confident the message was truly from God.
Among them was a man carrying three loaves of bread. (1 Samuel 10:3) Three loaves were far more than Samuel could eat in a meal. He would have enough left over for future needs. It is a beautiful picture of the sufficiency of the work of the triune God in the life of His servants. And it is typical of the sufficency of God’s spiritual provision.
Christ is all the soul of man needs for spritual satisfaction. That fact that Jesus was born in "The House of Bread" gives us confidence that God does indeed want to choose us to be His children, no matter how insignificant we may seem to ourselves or to the world around us.
CHRIST WAS BORN IN BETHLEHEM, "THE HOUSE OF BREAD", TO TEACH US THAT EACH OF US MUST CHOOSE HIM AS SAVIOR FOR OURSELVES.
If one person eats a meal, it doesn’t satisfy any other person’s hunger.
The Bible says that "we are all partakers of that one bread." (1 Corinthians 1:17) That "one bread" is Christ.
He is the only bread that offers life and the decision to receive Him is an individual one.
The question is not "have you become a church member?", or "have you given to charities?" The question is, "have you made a personal faith commitment to Jesus Christ? Have you believed in Jesus to receive eternal life?"
"But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." (John 1:12)
When an individual decides to receive Jesus of their own free will He enters them spiritually like bread enters us physically when we decide to eat it.