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I don’t know what it’s like to physically travel to a city to be counted for a census. Here in America, we send in our paperwork to be counted and that’s it. It’s simple. But it wasn't that simple for Joseph and Mary. They had to physically go to Bethlehem (Luke 2:4).
As far as I can tell through some research, the mileage from Galilee to Bethlehem was around 70-100 miles (A three-four days journey). Today we don't consider the difficulty of traveling by horse or donkey through rugged terrain. We're so used to getting in our car and traveling down the road to our destination. We miss grasping part of the birth of Christ because we don't understand the rugged terrain Mary had to endure on her way to Bethlehem.
"According to Roman law, all country people were to be registered in their 'own city'- meaning thereby the town to which the village or place, where they were born. In so doing, the 'house and lineage' were marked. According to the Jewish mode of registration, the people would have been enrolled in tribes, families or clans, and the house of their fathers."(The life and Times of Jesus the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim, pg 129) Jesus' birth was distinctly noted through the recording of the census.
Old Testament Prophecy Announced:
“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)
Old Testament Prophecy Fulfilled:
“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’[ ” (Matthew 2:5-6)
“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,..”
As I ponder the birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem, I stand in awe of how perfect the scriptures are in that what God promised in the OT came to fruition in the NT. Friends, God is a God of promise. He can be trusted. His word is true. He doesn’t lie. The bible is proof of that.
This Christmas season I thank God for proving through history that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and that his family was from the line of David. Our King has come and one day will come again.
Wednesday, December 15
Keeping Christ in Christmas - Dec. 15- Pondering Bethlehem