Vol. 16 No 53 – December 31, 2017
Mat 2:1-6; Luke 2:1-20; John 7:42
Mat 2:8, “And he (Herod) sent them (the wise men) to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.”
Luke 2:4, “Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David.”
Luke 2:15, “When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, ‘Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us’.”
In John’s Gospel, we see the lineage of Jesus Christ related to his birth place of Bethlehem.
John 7:42, “Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?”
This lineage is rich throughout the OT, and in both gospel accounts of Jesus’ birth, Matthew and Luke, we are given the lineage of Jesus Christ, going back to Abraham, the Father of Israel, in Mat 1, and in Luke 3, going all the way back to Adam and God the Creator (then father) of Adam.
Within that lineage we see:
- An unloved wife, Leah (of Jacob), Gen 35:23; Mat 1:2c, (In fact, Rachel, (the other wife of Jacob, which he loved), was buried in Bethlehem, Gen 35:19, “So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).” cf. 48:7.
- A prostitute, (Rahab), Mat 1:5a.
- A gentile woman, (Ruth) Mat 1:5b.
This tells us that Jesus Christ came from and came for all walks of life, Jew, Gentile, male, female, rich, poor, righteous, and sinners, John 3:16; Gal 3:28; Eph 6:8; Col 3:11.
Yet, we also see within this lineage the greatness of God and Jesus Christ as prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus’ birth and lineage.
Isa 11:1, “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.” This is fulfilled in the lineage accounts in Mat 1:6-7, 16; Luke 3:23, 31-32, as Jesse’s son David would be the father of Jesus Christ. David was the first king of Israel chosen by God, who was born, 1 Sam 17:12, 15, 58; John 7:42 and anointed king at Bethlehem, 1 Sam 16:12. In addition, 1 Sam 17:15, tells us David was a Shepherd in Bethlehem, a type of Jesus Christ as our Great and Good Shepherd, John 10:11, 14; Heb 13:20. Bethlehem is called “the city of David,” in Luke 2:4
Mat 1:5-6, “Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. 6Jesse was the father of David the king. David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah.”
1 Sam 17:15, “But David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s flock at Bethlehem.”
John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
The prophecy of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem is seen in:
Mat 2:1, “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem.”
Mat 2:4-6, “And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he began to inquire of them where the Christ was to be born. 5And they said to him, ” In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it has been written by the prophet, 6’AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH, ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER, WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL’.”
This prophecy is from Micah 5:2.
Micah 5:2, “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”
Even the persecution of the children at Christ’s birth was prophesied in Jer 31:15. In Mat 2:16-18, Herod sent his men to kill all the male children age 2 and under, notice vs. 17-18, “Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying, 18“A VOICE WAS HEARD IN RAMAH, WEEPING AND GREAT MOURNING, RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN; AND SHE REFUSED TO BE COMFORTED, BECAUSE THEY WERE NO MORE.”
The Hebrew for Bethlehem is לֶחֶם בֵּית (Beth-Lechem). The Greek is also a close transliteration BETHLEEM, Βηθλέεμ. It is located about 5 miles south of Jerusalem. The literal meaning of Bethlehem is “house of bread.” It was originally named Ephrath or Ephrathah, cf. Gen 35:19; Ruth 1:2, 4:11. Interestingly, Ephrathah means, “abundance or bearing fruit.”
Ruth 1:2, “And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife, Naomi; and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem in Judah.”
Ruth 4:11, “All the people who were in the court, and the elders, said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel; and may you achieve wealth in Ephrathah and become famous in Bethlehem.”
Therefore, we see two pictures of the City, 1) The House of Bread, 2) The place of abundance or bearing fruit, as Jesus was both of these.
1) From Bethlehem, Jesus is the House of Bread:
John 6:35, “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst’.”
John 6:48, “I am the bread of life.”
John 6:51, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
John 6:58, “This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”
Therefore, through Him we have eternal life.
2) From Ephrathah, Jesus is the place of abundance / fruit bearing:
Isa 45:8, “Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the LORD, have created it.”
Ezek 17:8, “It was planted in good soil beside abundant waters, that it might yield branches and bear fruit and become a splendid vine.”
Ezek 17:23, “On the high mountain of Israel I will plant it, that it may bring forth boughs and bear fruit and become a stately cedar. And birds of every kind will nest under it; they will nest in the shade of its branches.”
Even in the prophecy of the New Jerusalem, we see the Tree of Life that will bear fruit forever in Ezek 47:12, tells us, “By the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fail. They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.”
John 15:4, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine (Jesus Christ), so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”
Rom 7:4, “Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.”
Phil 1:11, “Having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God”
We bear fruit for God through our union with Jesus Christ, because he is the bread that gives life.
And finally, Bethlehem can also mean “fighting,” and “Lahamu” (God), according to the Holman Bible Dictionary and others. In fact, Bethlehem was built as a city for defense of Jerusalem, 2 Chron 11:5-6.
2 Chron 11:5-6, “Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem and built cities for defense in Judah. 6Thus he built Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa.”
This tells us Jesus fought and fights for us as our great God and Savior who won the strategic victory of the Angelic Conflict, so that we could have eternal life, and bear fruit while being victorious as “overcomers.”
In typology, it was from the well of Bethlehem that three of David’s heroes brought water for him at the risk of their lives when he was in the cave of Adullam, 2 Sam 23:13-17; 1 Chron 11:17-18; some what a type of the Three Wise Men.
Therefore, in the Town of Bethlehem, we see prophecy being fulfilled, eternal life being given, and the means of producing Divine good, all from the Great Shepherd, our victorious God and Savior. As we celebrate His birth, we recognize all that He is and give thanks to God our Father for this wonderful and indescribable gift; the Lord Jesus Christ!
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I Welcome You to the Eternal Family of God !!!