Bethlehem Judah and the Star
Advent day 11
Micah 5:2 ESV
John 19:1-3 ESV
John 1:1-5 ESV
Matthew 2:1-6 ESV
John 19:19 ESV
Matthew 2:9-12 ESV
John 11:25-26 ESV
I would have loved to be privy to the information scholars of old discussed about the meaning of the prophecy of the ‘one’ who was to come to Israel. At the time Micah wrote about Bethlehem and the tribe of Judah he had no way of knowing when the prophesy would be fulfilled. I would be surprised if Micah and his contemporaries (Isaiah, Amos, and Hosea) thought they would have to wait 700 years for the ‘one who would rule’.
The prophet Micah lived and prophesied from 740 - 670 B.C.
In Micah 5:2 he wrote, “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.”
The prophesy spoke of one who would rule over Israel. It’s possible that those who read the prophecy thought the ruler would be a king.
They had no idea He would be the son of a carpenter who was born in a manger.
They had no way of knowing what would occur in John 19:1-3, “Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands.”
The Prophet Micah could not have known the true meaning of the origins of old, from ancient times.
The prophet would not have known what would be written long after he was gone about the ‘one’ in John 1:1-5, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
In hindsight the prophesy makes perfect sense but at the time it was written by Micah it would not have been so clear.
In addition to the Hebrew prophecy given by Micah, there were wisemen from the east who showed up in Jerusalem inquiring about the King of the Jews who had been born in Judea.
The three wise men only knew they saw a special star and they followed that star.
What’s even more than amazing is that three wisemen would have traveled from between 800 to 900 miles to get to Jerusalem (https://www.gotquestions.org/three-wise-men.html) if they came from Persia (modern day Iran).
The three wise men came looking for the King of the Jews.
The wise men could have not known about the sign the soldiers made in John 19:3 that said, “King of the Jews”.
Matthew 2:1-6 tells us, “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, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
The wise men who came did not expect at the end of His life, Jesus, King of the Jews who was from the tribe of Judah would be nailed to a cross that had an inscription that, “read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” (John 19:19).
Even after they followed the star to the region we learn in Matthew 2:9-12, “the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”
The wise men may not have known the gold that represented royalty was for the King of Kings.
The frankincense was for the child’s Holy divinity.
The myrrh was used for death and burial.
They might not have known the gifts they brought to the child symbolized Jesus as King, Jesus as God, and Jesus as Man who would die for the sins of the world (https://www.christianity.com/jesus/birth-of-jesus/star-and-magi/why-gold-frankincense-and-myrrh.html).
The prophecies and the signs did indeed tell the whole story, just not a story we would have imagined.
We would not have thought the child would be born and raised as the son of a lowly carpenter. We could never have imagined He would bring so much love, goodness and healing when He came. We certainly could never have thought it would be possible that the world’s response to His love and goodness would be that He would die a cruel death on a cross.
And never, ever in a million gazillion years could we have imagined He would conquer sin and death when He arose from the grave three days later.
See what I mean about not having any idea what the prophecies really meant? No one, not even His disciples really knew how very very much God loves His children. We never expected what Jesus meant when He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die (John 11:25-26).
We never ever could have imagined…
Spiritual Practice: imagine
Now…imagine that God did all of that just for you.
In God, Deborah