Episode #117 Born in Bethlehem & Why it Matters – Awe in Advent

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From Today's Episode:

Welcome! We're in our Awe in Advent Series and today's topic is Born in Bethlehem & Why it Matters.


Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1; Isaiah 9:6a

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God, what's something about Christ's human birth that's personal and meaningful to me?

Here's the episode transcript

Hi friends, welcome to Good God Talks. We're having uncommon conversations with God today, talking with him about messianic prophecies. So messianic means about the Messiah, who's Jesus, and prophecies are the foretelling or the foretelling of God's word. So him speaking to us with specific insight, which sometimes comes in advance to let us know something that he is going to be doing. And we're looking at messianic prophecies in light of the birth of Jesus, in light of the Christmas story. Seeking God in this way and asking him to spark wonder in us as we enter into this season.

The prophecy that we're looking at today focuses on the reality that Jesus will be born and that Jesus will be born in Bethlehem.

As modern-day believers, we have come to know God through the reality that Jesus was born, lived, died, raised, ascended to heaven. So the idea that Jesus would be born and even that he was born in Bethlehem is really common and familiar to us.

But it's helpful to remember that not only did those things actually happen, there was space for them not to happen that way. The Messiah didn't have to be born. God didn't have to send his son to be born as a baby. He could have still sent Jesus in human form as a grownup.

He could have expedited this whole process and sent Jesus as a 30-year-old man who was ready for ministry. God chose to send his son in human form to begin with. God chose to fulfill the atoning sacrifice by having Jesus live a perfect human life, becoming the fulfillment of our design as humans to live in relationship with God and then to die a Humiliating, painful death on behalf of all of humanity, taking our sins upon himself.

Some of us might look at these passages that I'm about to share and think, okay, so Jesus was born in Bethlehem. What's the big deal? What does that really have to do with me? And I think those are great questions.

Actually, that's the question that we're bringing to God today. There was historical and eternal significance in how Jesus came into the world as our Savior and there's personal significance for us today.

The first verse I'll read for us is Micah 5:2. So Micah is one of the lesser-known prophets. many scholars believe that the book of Micah was written approximately 700 years before Jesus was born on earth. But listen to how he describes Jesus birth location.

“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.” (Micah 5:2 NIV)

And now let's look at it in Matthew. So Matthew 2:1,

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem” (Matthew 2:1 ESV)

You might look at this story and say, Hey, what does that really have to do with me? Well, let's think about that for a minute 700 years between the prophecy and the fruition. And Jesus was born in the exact small town that was prophesied.

I've moved a number of times in my life, and I usually only know with a few months’ notice. I don't even know where my family line lived a few hundred years ago, much less 700 years ago.

Can you imagine a great, great, great, great, great ancestor writing down in a diary somewhere, someday this person in the year 2023 will live in this city? The odds of that are incredible.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not because his parents lived there, but because the rulers of that day decided there needed to be a census and everyone needed to return to their family's hometown. And so Joseph and Mary made the trek to Bethlehem.

Even Mary, receiving the word from the angel that she was going to give birth to Jesus. She didn't pack up all her stuff and tell Joseph, well, we need to move to Bethlehem now because this is the fulfillment of the prophecy that needs to happen. No.

God carried through and proved faithful to his word. God executed his word and accomplished it.

In Isaiah 9:6, I'm just going to read the first part of the verse.

“For to us a child is born. To us, a son is given.” (Isaiah 9:6a ESV)

Jesus came as a human into the world, born as a son. Son of God, and son to Mary and Joseph, born as a baby, just as it was prophesied in Isaiah, which also is around 700 years before the time of Christ.

Let that spark wonder in us.
Let that spark awareness of God's sovereignty. Of his accomplishing his will and his purposes. Of his intimate awareness of what goes on in the details of our lives.

And here's a question for you to take to him:

God, what's something about Christ's human birth that's personal and meaningful to me?

Have a good talk.

And if you've been encouraged by this content, please share it with a friend and help them grow in their conversational relationship with God too!

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