Category Archives: Why Bethlehem?

A King a Curse and a Secret Princess (A True Christmas Story)

A king, a curse and a secret princess.

It was the last days of Judah.

(the Southern kingdom of Israel)

Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) was king.

2 Kings 24:8-15

To paraphrase…Jeconiah was an evil king.

Can a corrupt throne be allied with you–

a throne that brings on misery by its decrees? Psalm 94:20

The prophet Jeremiah was sent by the Lord numerous times with a word telling Jeconiah to straighten up and live right with God.

Hear the word of the LORD to you, king of Judah, you who sit on David’s throne–you, your officials and your people who come through these gates. Jeremiah 22:2

Jeconiah set himself against the prophet Jeremiah.

Yet, another warning from the Lord that Jeremiah

was delivered to Jeconiah :

 …”O land, land, land, Hear the word of the LORD! “Thus says the LORD, ‘Write this man down childless, A man who will not prosper in his days; For no man of his descendants will prosper Sitting on the throne of David Or ruling again in Judah.'”

Jeremiah 22:29-30

A curse to Jeconiah’s (and King David’s) blood line?

Jeremiah prophesied in Jeremiah 2:37 that Jeconiah would leave his throne and his land in captivity.

You will also leave that place with your hands on your head, for the LORD has rejected those you trust; you will not be helped by them.

Jeconiah, his  son Shealtiel, and many others were taken captive and moved to the city Babylon.

The descendants of Jehoiachin the captive: Shealtiel his son,

1 Chronicles 3:17 

Some years later, after the exile, Jeconiah’s  great grandson Zerubbabel (son of Pedaiah) returns to his land and should be king but, he is not (only a Governor) due to the curse on Jeconiah’s throne and the land.

The royal line of David appears to be broken.

Years passed.

Here is a line of descendants to follow Zerubbabel

(from Matthew 24: 13 -16)

Zerubbabel the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim,Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Elihud, Elihud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

What?

Isn’t this is interesting?

So, Joseph, son of Jacob, husband of Mary…should have been a Prince or the sitting King during his lifetime?

Yet, Joseph grows up poor and humble (yet righteous man)

Joseph is off of the throne due to a curse of his forefathers?

The Old Testament prophesied that Messiah and King would be from the line of David but with this blood line it seems impossible.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.   Isaiah9:6-7

Now what?

Is there another blood line of King David’s that isn’t cursed?

A secret prince …

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…or princess?

Yes.

Nathan.

Nathan’s blood line was a line not cursed by Jeconiah’s

foolish decisions and disobedience to God.

Nathan was King David’s and Bathsheba’s child.

David reigned in Jerusalem thirty-three years, and these were the children born to him there: Shammua,  Shobab, Nathan and Solomon. These four were by Bathsheba daughter of Ammiel.

1 Chronicles 3: 4-5

Mary (mother of Jesus) was of the royal blood line that came through Nathan!

Mary, the secret Princess?

Here is Mary’s abbreviated line chronicled in Luke 3:31:

the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha,

the son of Nathan, the son of David, 

(You can read King David’s complete blood line in 1 Chronicles 3)

(You can read Mary’s and Jesus’ complete blood line in Luke 3)

(3…the number of the Trinity…interesting)

So, here we have two poor, humble, God fearing people,

(Joseph and Mary)

who will soon be married by an arrangement made by Mary’s father.

I wonder…

Did either of them realize that they were of “Royal Blood”?

Or, had everyday life and hard times erased any image or thoughts of royalty from their minds and lives?

A secret Prince.

And…a secret Princess!

Now, this is the awesome part!!

Because this was a virgin birth…

Mary conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit, not Joseph…

There is NO CURSE!!!

This is described in Luke 1:26-35:

God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

The curse is broken!

Royalty is restored!

King Jesus sits on the restored throne of David!

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Do you realize that our story is so similar?

You and I were also born under a curse.

You know the story, right?

The curse of Adam.

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 The woman, the apple & the serpent.

(That sounds like a book title)

Any way…

We too are a “secret Prince” or “secret Princess” through our Messiah and King Jesus.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.    Peter 2:9-10

Has everyday life, sin and hard times erased any image or thoughts of royalty from our own minds?

Sin does not have to reign in your kingdom and close the door to our royal priesthood.

Grace returns our crown!

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.    Romans 6:11-14

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Wear your crown with your head held high!

You are royalty!

So am I!

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Why Bethlehem?

Why Bethlehem?

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Why did God choose for His Son, Jesus

(The Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, Messiah)

to be born in the sleepy little city of Bethlehem?

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Micah 5:2

There could be a few reasons.

Reason     Image result for free clipart of number 1

Isn’t one of Jesus’ names, The Lamb of God?

The next day he (John) saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29

Who were among the first to greet Jesus?

The shepherds.

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And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”…Luke 1:8-12

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This is interesting,  the land surrounding the city of Bethlehem was the land that the Temple’s sacrificial lambs were raised and cared for by the shepherds.

So, those shepherds that the angels visited were out in pastures tending to lambs and sheep that would one day be sacrificed…just like the Lamb of God.

This was prophesied in the Old Testament.

 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, Isaiah 53:7 

Jesus fulfilled those same words in the New Testament.

 Phillip used that scripture to proclaim that Jesus was the man who fulfilled that prophecy and shared the Good News with an Ethiopian eunuch and baptized him in Acts 8.

And he (an Ethiopian eunuch) invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this: “HE WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER; AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT, SO HE DOES NOT OPEN HIS MOUTH.

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A sacrificial lamb without blemish.

but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 1 Peter 1:19

Jesus is your sacrificial lamb.

Offering you a gift bigger than life, for an eternity.

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Jesus, our Shepherd.

A psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
Psalm 23:1

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Just as the shepherds of Bethlehem greeted the “Lamb”, they also greeted their “Shepherd”.

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. John 10:14-15

Though some received Jesus as Messiah, most Jewish people  turned away from Jesus and for 2000 years they have been a scattered flock with no shepherd.

 “They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered. “My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, Ezekiel 34:5-6

So he (Micah) said, “I saw all Israel Scattered on the mountains, Like sheep which have no shepherd; And the LORD said, ‘These have no master. Let each of them return to his house in peace.'”

2 Chronicles 17-18

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Jesus is gathering His sheep.

The Jews.

Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name. They will forget their disgrace and all their treachery which they perpetrated against Me, when they live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid. “When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations.…Ezekiel 39:25-27

Ezekiel 16:63
Then, when I make atonement for you for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed and never again open your mouth because of your humiliation, declares the Sovereign LORD.'”

And the Gentiles.

…and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. 1 Peter 2:24-25

He came that they (we) may have life, and have it abundantly.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. “He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.…John 10:10-12

Jesus seeks you.

Receive the free gift of peace and safety for your soul

from the Shepherd and rest.

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Reason # Image result for free clipart of number 3

Jesus is called “Bread of Life”.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. “I am the bread of life.  John 6:47-48

The word Bethlehem is made up of two Hebrew words:

Bet Leḥem:  [bet ˈleχem]

Those two words mean: “House of Bread”.

The “Bread of Life” was born in the “House of Bread”.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. John 6:35

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Taste and see that the LORD is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!   Psalm 34:8

Reason   Image result for free clipart of number 4

Jesus is King.

His (Jesus) ancestors, specifically King David,

had humble beginnings as a shepherd himself in Bethlehem.

Matthew 1:1-17 offers the Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah.

In verse 1 it starts out like this:

This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David,

the son of Abraham:

When my daughter was younger, she learned a cute little song that helped her remember this.

It’s a snappy little tune.

Here it is if you are interested.

An angel (yes, an angel) explains it like this to Mary in Luke 1:32-33:

He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

The Old Testament prophesied it in several locations.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6-7

Jeremiah 23: 5-6 says it like this;

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.

So, another reason Jesus was born in Bethlehem was so God could

give Jesus back the throne of His Father David to reign over Jacob’s

descendants forever with a kingdom that will never end.

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Amen!!!

Why Bethlehem?

There is one more reason…

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Look in the mirror.

You!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. John 3:16-21

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God continues to reveal himself to us in so many ways.

His love, mercy, wonder and mysteries are without limit.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts, Isaiah 55:8-9

We will truly never understand all He is this side of heaven.