Dr. Andrew C S Koh
Heavenly Father, we pray for divine insight, understanding, and a clear mind to read, study, understand, and apply scripture. We pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit and divine enablement, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
The nativity story is unique to Luke. Seemingly out of the blue, Caesar Augustus issued a decree to take a population census of the entire Roman world because he wanted to tax the people. To comply with this decree, the Jewish people had to travel back to their place of birth. Joseph and Mary had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register for this population census because they were descendants of Dovid. Mary in the late stage of her pregnancy made this 70 miles journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. This must have been a very difficult journey for Mary. This was to fulfil the prophecy of Micah 5:2, that Christ shall be born in Bethlehem.
Passage, Luke 2: 6-17
6 While they were there, the day had come for her to give birth. 7 She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in bands of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 There were shepherds in the same country staying in the field and keeping watch by night over their flock. 9 Behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all the people. 11 For there is born to you today, in David’s city, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This is the sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a feeding trough.” 13 Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army praising God, and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” 15 When the angels went away from them into the sky, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem, now, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 They came with haste and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby was lying in the feeding trough. 17 When they saw it, they publicized widely the saying which was spoken to them about this child (Read the rest of Luke 2 on your own).Luke 2: 6-17
When Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem, they could not find any accommodation anywhere. Mary delivered baby Jesus, wrapped Him up in swaddling clothes, and placed Him into a manger, an animal feeding trough made out of stone. An angel of God appeared to some shepherds in Bethlehem in a field at night. The glory of God manifested in dazzling majestic lights and frightened the shepherds.
After calming down the shepherds, the angel announced to them that Christ was born in Bethlehem, the city of David. They shall find Him wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. Immediately, angels sang, worshiped, and praised God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth, peace to those on whom his favor rests”. God announced the birth of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, the Good Shepherd, the Shepherd of souls, to some poor lowly shepherds in Bethlehem.
After the angels left, the shepherds went to Bethlehem to look for baby Jesus. They found Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes, according to the angel’s announcement. After witnessing this, they went away and testified to all the people about this, and all who heard it were amazed. The shepherds returned to Bethlehem glorifying and praising God.
Imagine the creator of the universe chose to be born in a feeding trough in an insignificant town called Bethlehem, witnessed by poor and lowly shepherds without any fanfare! As the King of the universe, He could have been born in a grand palace with great fanfare, and witnessed by royalty but He chose not to.
Micah 5:2, But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, being small among the clans of Judah, out of you one will come out to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings out are from of old, from ancient times.
Micah prophesied the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem 800 years before He was born! This astonishing prophecy proved beyond any doubt that God is the God of the Bible. This is not the only Old Testament prophecy that Jesus fulfilled. Jesus fulfilled 351 Old Testament prophesies and these are recorded in the Bible. The statistical chance of fulfilling all these prophesies is 1 in 10 to the power of 17. This is a mathematical impossibility. Based on this, there is absolutely no doubt that the God of the Bible is the God of the universe.
Today, if you go to Bethlehem in Israel, you visit the church of Nativity, and see for yourself the place where this event took place. The Bible is about real events, real people, and real places. Bible is God’s word to us. Acronym for BIBLE is Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth
When Joseph and Mary (with Jesus in her womb) arrived in Bethlehem, there was no room for them in the city. Even today, there is no room for Jesus in many people’s hearts because of unbelief. Do you have room for Jesus in your heart this Christmas? Open your heart to Jesus. Invite Him into your life. Believe, and you will see the glory of God.
Heavenly Father, let us open our hearts to receive Jesus Christ into our lives as our Lord and Saviour this Christmas. Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus Christ into the world to be the perfect Christmas gift to all mankind. Thank You for the grace and truth that Jesus brought to us. Thank You for the forgiveness of sin. Thank You for salvation by grace, justification by faith in Christ, sanctification by the Holy Spirit, and the promise of eternal life. Thank You for Immanuel, God with us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.