Probably the most famous village in the world is a little town in the Middle East called Bethlehem, because it's the town where Jesus was born. However, I've found that a lot of people are a bit disappointed when they visit it. It's not what they anticipated.

But it was anticipated as Jesus' birthplace by the prophet Micah in the Old Testament: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5:2).

We see this prophecy repeated in Matthew 2, which relates the familiar story of the wise men coming from the east and speaking to King Herod about where the Messiah would be born. This prophecy gives us several details about the birth of Jesus Christ: where He would be born, of course, but also who He would be.

Matthew tells us that Herod gathered the chief priests and scribes together and "inquired of them where the Christ was to be born" (v. 4). The word Christ comes from the Greek word christos, which is from the Hebrew mashiach, which simply means messiah or the anointed one. And predictions about this Messiah are woven throughout the Old Testament.

It was the common Jewish belief, tradition, and interpretation that the Messiah would come from the line of David and be born in Bethlehem (see John 7:40-42). This is what the chief priests and scribes told Herod: "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet" (Matthew 2:5), and they went on to quote Micah 5:2.

This is the most incredible part of this story to me. These Jewish leaders knew exactly where the Messiah would be born, but they didn't walk the few miles from Jerusalem to Bethlehem to see if it was true. Here were these magi from the east who had traveled hundreds of miles from their own country to find the King of the Jews, yet these religious guys couldn't even get on their feet and go to the next town over to see if the rumors were true. Some people are inoculated with just enough religion—just enough self-satisfaction—to keep them immune to the truth.

If you keep reading Matthew 2, you'll find that the wise men found and worshiped Jesus (see v. 11). Do you know why they did this? Because they were wise. Foolish men and women will hear the rumors but not dig deep enough to find out if they're really true. Wise people will take the journey to find Christ, then bow down and worship Him.

I pray you wouldn't become self-satisfied with religious knowledge alone but rather be motivated to make your way to Bethlehem, so to speak, to behold and worship the Messiah whose arrival was foretold hundreds of years before He was born.

Skip's signature