3 August, 2021

Week 2: Bethlehem

by | 30 November, 2020 | 1 comment

Note: Over a four-week period leading up to Christmas, our Communion meditations are considering four essential features to the story of the birth of God’s Son. This week we highlight the town of Bethlehem.

By Stuart Powell

When Rome ruled the Mediterranean region, many cities rose to prominence in the empire while others lingered in obscurity. Bethlehem was an insignificant place by then, though it had been the birthplace of King David a thousand years earlier.

Long before the Romans conquered much of the civilized world, the luster of Bethlehem’s importance had been forgotten. That was the situation 300 years after King David’s reign—still 700 years before Christ—when God sent the prophet Micah to preach hope to the people in rural Judah. Micah shared this promise from God:

“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).

God planned to anoint another son of Bethlehem as king of Israel. He would be a king who ruled even before David. As the centuries passed, Bethlehem’s lowly station remained unchanged as they waited for the new king. The Jewish people endured the wicked rule of pagan kings from Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome, but there was no king in Bethlehem. In their waiting, Israel forgot about God’s promise through Micah.

However, God fulfills his promises even when man forgets them. In the days when Herod the Great was the Roman ruler of Judea, God Almighty stepped into creation at Bethlehem. God fulfilled his promise. Joy entered the world.

At this time of year we remember Bethlehem because of the second King, Jesus, who was born there. We remember the shepherds who found him in a manger there. We recall the gift-bearing Magi guided to Bethlehem by a star and by Micah’s 700-year-old promise.

At this time of year we remember Bethlehem because of the second King, Jesus, who was born there. Click To Tweet

As we look forward to Christmas, let’s remember how the second King from Bethlehem established his rule. Jesus served, taught, healed, preached, forgave, suffered, and then he gave up his life. Yet, through all of this, he never sinned.

We remember the details of Micah’s promise as we gather around this table set with the broken bread and the filled cup. The bread tells how the new King’s human body was crucified on our behalf. The cup reminds us of his blood that washes away our sins and clothes us in his righteousness.

As we partake, let’s thank God for the sacrifice of his second King of Bethlehem.

Stuart Powell lives outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he serves with the North Side Christian Church.

<a href="https://christianstandard.com/author/stuartpowell/" target="_self">Stuart Powell</a>

Stuart Powell

Stuart Powell lives outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he serves with the North Side Christian Church.

1 Comment

  1. Larry E Whittington

    I am not one who celebrates many events or days. I do think about that summer day when Jesus was 12 years old and was celebrating his bar mitzva by staying in Jerusalem at the temple talking with the teachers. I also remember that summer day at the Jordan river when he came to John to be baptized. The weather was warm and the water pleasant. I think I agree with the modern day others put so much emphasis on that is now called Easter. I don’t celebrate Easter like some do by serving the Lord’s Supper once every year

    I like to celebrate with him every week if I am able to as he has asked me to “as often as you eat and drink” these with me remember me. It is at this time I can remember he was born in Bethlehem as Micah prophesied. I can remember when he was 12 and he had stayed in the temple because he knew he had to be about his father’s business but he also had to be obedient to his parents to be sinless. I can also remember his dying on the cross and his resurrections on what we call a Sunday. He lived and died for me so his life and his resurrected life as both Lord and Christ are important to me. I choose to celebrate it with Him with the bread and wine.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Articles

Stories

By taking these symbols of Jesus’ body and blood, we announce we believe there really was a Jesus, and he really did die for us and carried all our sins down to a grave . . .

Documentary Highlights Christian Response to Pandemics

Southeast Christian Church’s “Purpose in Pandemics” is a documentary that follows the response of the church to pandemics throughout history. The “Purpose in Pandemics” website also includes a study guide for small groups and individuals.

Used of God

I soaked up Sam Stone’s wit and wisdom during our lunches together. Afterward, I’d take notes about our conversations. After hearing of his passing, inspired by his wordsmithing, I felt compelled to share just a small part of his story.

Sam E. Stone: ‘He Tried to Speak the Truth in Love’

In memory and appreciation of our former editor, Sam E. Stone, who died early this week, we share this 2011 column from Christian Standard’s archives in which Sam discussed four Scripture verses significant to his life.

Elliott Library ‘Cornerstone’ Laid

Three Bibles of historical significance to Cincinnati Christian University were the first books place on the shelves during relocation of the George Mark Elliott Library.

The Death of Evil

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saw in minority groups’ struggles for social equality in America a parallel with Israel’s bondage in Egypt. King envisioned God’s goodness would deliver the U.S. from the evil of segregation.

Mark Scott’s Greatest Kingdom Impact

Since I first enrolled at Ozark Christian College, Mark Scott has been my kingdom hero, and I’m not the only young preacher Mark has shaped. Over his 35 years at OCC, Mark has inspired generations of students.

‘Have We Plans for 1921?’

“All the Standard asks is the opportunity to serve, and it yearns to render in 1921 the greatest, finest, and best service of its history. . . .”

CCLF Concluding Strong First Year in Greater Cincinnati

In its first full year, the Christian Church Leadership Foundation has accomplished much to ensure Christian education and resources would continue to be available to people in the Greater Cincinnati area.

News Briefs for Dec. 9

Items from Timber Lake Christian Church (Moberly, Mo.), Choateville Christian Church (Frankfort, Ky.), Johnson University, and more.

My Counsel for Young Preachers

If I were counseling an aspiring young preacher fresh out of Bible college or seminary, champing at the bit to lead in the church, I would offer these three bits of advice.

My Memories of Marshall Leggett

By Ben Merold
As I think about Marshall Leggett, who passed away on March 2 at age 90, two personal experiences keep coming to my mind . . .

Powell Quintuplets Graduating from High School

When the Powell quintuplets were born in 2001, all of Kentucky celebrated, including Southeast Christian Church, where the Powells are longtime members. Now the quints are 18 and are all headed to the same university.

Reentry: It May Be Harder Than We Think

When the COVID-19 crisis eases, I anticipate that reentry is going to be harder than some people think. Churches, especially, need to prepare for this.

An Altar of Earth

We no longer sacrifice burnt offerings on an altar because Jesus came as the ultimate and final sacrifice for our sins. But we should remember an old command as we come before God to worship him.

Aug. 8 | Which Righteousness?

Having called the Galatians back to the true gospel, defended his own apostleship, and having confronted Peter (i.e., Cephas), Paul begins to argue for the gospel of righteousness.

Aug. 8 | Application

A biblical text normally has a single meaning, but it can have many applications. Consider Galatians 2:20 . . .

Aug. 8 | Discovery

What does it look like in the average day of a Christ follower for Christ to live in them?

#Faust25: ‘Jesus’ Hardest Command’

(Another classic piece celebrating David Faust’s 25th anniversary of writing columns.) What is the most difficult thing Jesus ever told anyone to do? That’s the question I asked an adult Bible study group the other day. The people in the room were quick to respond. . . .

Follow Us