Overlooking the main highways to Hebron and Egypt, commanding a limestone ridge of the Judean highlands, lies the little town of Bethlehem. Bethlehem is about five miles south of Jerusalem and is elevated 2,550 feet above sea level. The Bible relates that Jacob’s wife, Rachel, is buried there, the story of Ruth stems from Bethlehem, and King David and his ancestors are from the region. However, these things pale in significance because of a unique birth in Bethlehem one glorious starlit night.
Not too far outside Bethlehem's town, the most important news ever known to man was announced. The Gospel of Luke says: "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord…"(Luke 2:11). The Savior, the promised Redeemer of man, had finally arrived! His birth in Bethlehem was foretold by the prophet Micah. And now, the prophecy was being actualized just as he said (Micah 5:2). The Messiah's birthplace was a planned, predetermined destination established in eternity and brought into time.
Interestingly, the word Bethlehem means House of Bread, and the Gospels describe Jesus as the Bread of Life. It was Jesus that said this of Himself (John 6:35). Thus, think about this—the glorious night of Christ's birth in Bethlehem, The House of Bread accommodated The Bread of Life's arrival to earth.
The spiritual nourishment for man's impoverished soul had arrived in Bethlehem. The sinful depravity that impeded spiritual hunger could now be satisfied and sustained through a personal, saving relationship with Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8).
The babe of Bethlehem was more than a prophet. He was more than a man fighting for a religious cause. The tiny babe was God manifested in human flesh (I Timothy 3:16) as the visible manifestation of the invisible God. The Lord of Glory had come down to earth to be made known through the person of Jesus Christ. This wonderful gospel truth reveals God's desire to show His love and His longing to fellowship with humanity. Therefore, from the cradle to the cross, Jesus came to do His Father's will and to make His message and mercy known to the world (Matthew 26:39 & John 8:29). He is the Bread from Heaven that can redeem and nourish man's impoverished, destitute soul.
The greatest gift is not wrapped in Christmas paper and placed under a decorated tree; the most incredible gift came wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. Christ is the gift of God, and His gift of salvation is freely given to all who believe by faith in the message contained in the gospel (Romans 10:9,10,13). The Apostle Paul said: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8).
During the Christmas season and each day of our life, we should stop and thank the Lord for the day when Christ, the Bread of Life, was born in Bethlehem, the House of Bread.
Missional Until He Comes,
Dr. David L. Sampson