Sunday, December 22, 2019
The little city of Bethlehem was a place of great significance in the Old Testament scriptures. The prophet Samuel would anoint David as King of Israel in his own hometown of Bethlehem. The prophet Micah would predict Bethlehem to be the birthplace of the one who was “from ancient times” (Micah 5:2). Indeed, Bethlehem, the “House of Bread”, would become the birthplace of Jesus, the Bread of Life (John 6:35).
Between the two gospel accounts in Matthew 2 and Luke 2 the wise men knew the Messiah would come from Bethlehem, the religious rulers and lawyers in the temple knew he would come there and Herod knew. It was for this reason that Herod had killed all boys 2 years old and younger in Bethlehem. In John 7:42 we see that it was common knowledge among the people that the Messiah would come through Bethlehem.
Appearing to the poor shepherds, whose homes were the open fields, the announcement of the angels was made to the marginal people (Luke 2:8). Yet the announcement was quite spectacular. The angel announces to the shepherds that the baby. born in the manger in Bethlehem is 1) king David’s descendent, 2) the Savior of the world, 3) the Messiah King and 4) the Lord, God.
In the end the real challenge for the reader of Luke’s gospel is whether or not to believe. Perhaps one of the most telling indicators of whether or not we believe is whether or not we are broadcasting this grand hope to others.