Micah 5:2 Bethlehem Ephrathah,
you are small among the clans of Judah;
One will come from you
to be ruler over Israel for Me.
His origin is from antiquity,
The Messiah had to be born in Bethlehem. This is so clear that when the Magi came to Jerusalem and asked where the king of the Jews would be born, the chief priests and scribes quoted this verse, Micah 5:2.
It was so clear to the reigning king, Herod, that when the Magi would not point out this king to him, he arranged an execution squad as soon as he could and killed all the baby boys in Bethlehem. It wouldn’t do to have a true king of the Jews around. Not while he sat on the throne.
And in killing those babies, Herod fulfilled Jeremiah’s prophecy about mothers weeping in Ramah. To avoid Herod’s action, Mary, Jospeh and Jesus fled to Egypt for a time. Thus they fulfilled a prophecy of Hosea.
Within the first two years of Jesus’ life, he fulfilled dozens of prophecies. All these before he could walk effortlessly or talk clearly.
On the eighth day, when Anna saw the Christ, his parents would have brought him from Bethlehem where they were staying. It wasn’t far from Jerusalem, but it still would have been a long walk for a new mother. Perhaps Anna saw her fatigue, asked at the reason, and then smiled.
The Messiah had to be born in Bethlehem after all.
And what made little Bethlehem so important?
Bethlehem means House of Bread. The name reminds us that Jesus would be the bread of life, broken for us.
Bethlehem was a home of shepherds like King David. Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
Bethlehem water was worth fighting for (2 Samuel 23) as is Jesus, the Water of Life. And that water, as sacrifice, became blood.
I could go on and on with allusions and references. Suffice it to say…
It had to be Bethlehem.
A Sixty-Day Countdown to Christmas