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Bethlehem

Matthew 2:1-6 

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 Matthew 2:1-6 NASB "Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, [2] 'Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him.' [3] And when Herod the king heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. [4] 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. [5] And 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.'"

 Today, the Bethlehem candle reminds us that the Incarnation–God becoming man–this wonderful theological event that we celebrate in this season, was a historical event that took place at a historic location. In verse 3, the chief priests and the scribes were referring to Micah 5:2 that says,  "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."  (NASB)

 In 1 John 1:1-2, John wrote, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life-- [2] and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us.”  To John, the birth of Jesus was a historical fact that he verified with his own eyes and hands.

 In his gospel, John also wrote about the Incarnation, he wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] He was in the beginning with God. [3] All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. [4] In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. [5] And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:1-5  NASB) The fact that the darkness could not comprehend the light does not do away with its brilliance. 

 Focus with me on this great historical fact–God became man and dwelt among us.  In John 1:14, John wrote, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” 

 That single truth shines brightly, like a candle in the dark–God became man!  Relish the thought, celebrate the thought!  God bridged the distance between Himself and sinful man–He came to dwell among us. 

 During this season the grand truth emerges–God became man to dwell among us. And He did it in Bethlehem–an insignificant city–according to Micah, the “small among the clans of Judah.”

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