When you think of Christmas and Jesus you will at some point will think about Bethlehem. When you think of it, what do you think of and what about that baby that was born there? I want to take a moment and look at the prophecy of the Messiah being born in Bethlehem and what that really means.
To start, look with me at 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."
The Messiah could have been born anywhere until this prophecy was made and then then only place that the Messiah could be born was in Bethlehem Ephrathah. What we see here is that the ruler who would be the Lord’s representative would arise from the comparatively insignificant town of Bethlehem. Bethlehem actually means House of Bread and Ephrathah actually means fruitful. Something I find interesting is that when you think about the Messiah being born there and who the Messiah really is, which is the bread of Life and the one who would be the fruitful vine. Ephrathah was an old name for the district in which Bethlehem of Judah lay, in contrast to other Bethlehem’s in the Promised Land because there was more than one but Ephrathah distinguished it from the others.
Bethlehem was, of course, the hometown of David. It is interesting in the fact that David had been the least notable of his all his brothers but God choose to use him and so now we read that Bethlehem was the least honorable among the towns in Judah. The most insignificant son and the most insignificant place would bring forth the most significant person in all of human history. You might think that you are small and insignificant but understand that God uses in mighty and powerful way the small and insignificant. Will you allow God to use you today? Will you avail yourself to him so that He can do something mighty and powerful through you? God wants to use you regardless of how small you might think your faith is!
This ruler must be divine since the verse makes it clear that He had been conducting activities on God’s behalf from long ago, even eternity past which literally means since days of immeasurable time. The New Testament identifies this Ruler as the Messiah, Jesus Christ who was born in Bethlehem that first Christmas morning. Matthew 2:1 says this, 1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king.
This messianic prophecy not only gives the birthplace of Messiah, and therefore assures His humanity, but it also asserts His deity. No mere human could be said to have been carrying out the will of God eternally. The only one is Jesus Christ.
We do well to understand that Jesus was born in Bethlehem but we do miss out if we fail to take the time to really look at the end of this prophecy in Micah 5:2. Look at this phrase: His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity. The glorious promise of all of Micah 5:2 was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and Micah’s prophetic voice declares that though Jesus came from Bethlehem, He did not begin there but he has been goings forth from eternity past.
The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End in Revelation 22:13. This means from the very beginning, Jesus was there. Know and understand that there was never a time when the Jesus did not exist. The baby born in Bethlehem always was – he was just being born as a human in Bethlehem but he has always been God!
Think about this some more, before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He existed as the Second Person of the Trinity as we can read here in John 17:5 which says, Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. This passage tells us that there was a relationship of love, fellowship, and shared glory that the Father and the Son shared in eternity past. The name "Jesus" was not known as a name for the Second Person of the Trinity until the angel Gabriel announced it to Mary, but the eternal Son existed before He revealed Himself as Jesus or Emmanuel or God with us.
Just think that long before Bethlehem, Jesus was the creator of all things as Colossians 1:16-17 tells us: For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Before that baby was born in Bethlehem he created everything that exists other than Himself. It is a powerful thought to think that the maker of Universe would come to Earth and be place in hay that he made and in manger made from wood from a tree that he made and then one day he would die on a cross made of wood which he created.
Do you have any thoughts on this today? Have you ever felt insignificant and God used you?