BETHLEHEM

Lk.2:4-7 – And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

I love the evidence of the hand of God on everything that has to do with the birth of Jesus. The timing, location, and all the human interaction and decision making was all masterfully orchestrated. In the fullness of time God brought forth His Son, born of the Virgin Mary in the City of David, Bethlehem; just as the prophets had said. Everything unfolded perfectly according to the plan of God from eternity. The Lord even got the most powerful man on earth, Caesar Augustus, to make decisions that would bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem; in the fullness of time. The Lord actually orchestrates His world without a hitch, His predetermined plan of the ages is coming to fulfillment. At the perfect time Christ will come to this earth again. Here are some comments from Luther on Christ’s birth in Bethlehem.

“Beth means house; Lehem means bread, Bethlehem, a house of bread. The city had that name because it was situated in a good, fruitful country, rich in grain; so that it was the granary for the neighboring towns, or as we would call it, a fertile country. In olden times the name of the city was Ephrata, which means fruitful. Both names imply that the city was in a fruitful and rich lands. …There every one has enough in Christ, and overflows with thanksgiving for the divine grace. But while men are thankful for human teachings, they can not satisfy, but leave a barren land and a deadly hunger. No heart can ever be satisfied unless it hears Christ rightly proclaimed in the Gospel. In this a man comes to Bethlehem and finds him….and thanks his God eternally; here he is satisfied, here God receives his praise and confession, while outside of the Gospel there is nothing but thanklessness and starvation.”

The whole point of God’s plan? Mankind was hungry for the real bread that comes down from heaven. Of course the Lord would have His Son, the bread of life, born in a place called the House of Bread.

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