John 1:1, 14 – Your Thoughts?


This week we have been taking a close look at a very profound passage. “In the beginning was the Word,” is how it starts, and the end of our focus this week states that “the Word dwelt among us.” If you haven’t looked at John1:1, 14 yet, do so now (below). In light of Christmas, what stands out to you? Who is the Word? Why is verse 14 so important? What do the verses in between v. 1 and 14 say? 
 

John 1:1, 14 (ESV)

1 In the beginning was  the Word, and  the Word was with God, and  the Word was God…14 And  the Word  became flesh and  dwelt among us,  and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of  grace and  truth.  

The Significance of Christmas: the Birth of our Savior


This will take only four minutes to read.

First Century Manger

The past two weeks we have studied the Christmas story as recorded for us by Luke in the second chapter of his gospel. The first week we looked thoroughly at 2:1-3 so that we could understand exactly when in time this event took place, and in doing so we also learned what took Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. Last week we examined vv. 4,5 which gave us a key bit of information about the child to be born: both of his parents were of the house and lineage of King David. After learning this we explored why this is so important. To keep up before reading this article, which will delve into the last two verses of our selected passage, I encourage you to read the first article here, and the second one here.

Today we close our brief study of Christmas, Luke 2:1-7, by taking a closer look at vv. 6 & 7 of our passage.

Luke 2:6,7 (ESV)

“And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”

I hope that you see how careful examination and study (1:3) has allowed Luke to write about one of the most important historical and spiritual events with such simplicity.  He did not get into the theology behind this birth, or even recount all of the prophesies that were just fulfilled. He simply stated, “And she gave birth” (v. 7). Who did she give birth to?

Later, in verse eight, a group of shepherds were “out in the field keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord'” (vv. 8-11)

She gave birth to a Savior. This was the mission of Jesus, right? While Jesus was in the house of Zacchaeus, he says to him, “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost” (19:10). This was the mission and purpose of the little child Mary wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in that cold manger.

She gave birth to the Son of God. Back in Nazareth before traveling to Bethlehem Mary is visited by the angel Gabriel. He told her, “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus. he will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there will be no end…the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God” (1:32-33, 35).

The Son of God, a Savior, came to seek and save the lost. More than that, she gave birth to God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” (John 1:1, 14).

In his gospel, Matthew states, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet [Is. 7:14]: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means God with us)” (Matt. 1:22, 23).

God came to the earth, in human form, “to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10), “that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). This is why we celebrate Christmas. Our Lord God, Jesus Christ, Immanuel, our Savior, came into this world, the world he created (Gen. 1:1; John 1:3), to save those who would believe in him from eternal separation from him (John 3:16; Romans 3:23, 6:23).

I would like to close this article with another passage of scripture that speaks simply to what Luke recorded for us. This passage is found in Philippians chapter two and was written by the Apostle Paul to the church at Philippi. In 2:6-8 Paul says this: “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

This is who was born in the town of Bethlehem, the place of ancestry for his earthly parents and King David, as a result of a decree given by Julius Caesar (Octavian).

Merry Christmas!

Final day for Micah 5:2


This past week we gave a good look to Micah 5:2 where we learned of the prophecy of the place of Jesus’ birth: Bethlehem. What did you learn as you studied this verse? Did anything jump out at you that you weren’t expecting? If so I’d love to hear about it. If you didn’t have a chance to study this verse, you can read my post on the town of Bethlehem and the significant role it plays in Christmas.

Share your thoughts in the comments below…and Merry Christmas!

The Significane of Christmas – The Town of Bethlehem


This article will consume about six minutes and thirty seconds of your day.

Journey to Bethlehem

Journey to Bethlehem

Last week we concluded our Christmas post with a better understanding of exactly what prompted Joseph and Mary to travel to Bethlehem. If you have not done so already, please read The Significance of the Time so that you are on the same page as the rest of us.

Luke 2:4,5

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

Let’s dig right in. We meet Joseph for the second time in the book of Luke. Luke informed Theophilus (the recipient of the book, 1:3) in 1:27 that Joseph was of the lineage of David, and is seen doing so again in our current verse. Why is this so important?

In Psalm 89:3,4 the Psalmist (David) recounts what we call the Davidic Covenant (established in 2 Sam. 7) by saying, “‘I [the Lord] will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations.'” This promise meant that only an heir of David could be considered a rightful heir to the throne.

We also see in Micah 5:2 (which we will come back to later in this article) that the one who is to come from Bethlehem is also to “be ruler in Israel.” And even further we see in Zechariah, “behold, your king [Jerusalem] is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey (Luke 19:35)…his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth” (9:9, 10). So, we see that the Old Testament (which the original audience of the New Testament would have been aware of) is speaking to a ruler, a king, coming out of Bethlehem. Luke’s mention here in verse four of Joseph being of the house of David is crucial for us to grasp because in it we see the fulfillment of a covenant made to King David, a covenant of a lasting throne through his lineage. The child to be born is rightful heir to the throne both legally, through his earthly father (see genealogy in Matt. 1), and physically, through his mother (see genealogy in Luke 3). The birth that is to follow in verse seven is the culmination of this covenant.

So, in verse four we have already seen why it is so important that Joseph and Mary return to Bethlehem. This return to their ancestral home allows us to see that the Son to be born is of the lineage of King David and is thus a rightful heir to the throne.

With that covered, let’s return to the first part of verse four. We learn that Joseph and Mary are traveling “up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth…to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem.” First, understand that “up” does not mean the direction north. Whenever you read of someone traveling to the area around Jerusalem (Bethlehem was approximately six miles south of the city) you will read that they went “up.” This is a description of the elevation. Jerusalem and the surrounding area sits on hill and is thus a trek “up.”

These details given to us by Luke allow us to do something that I enjoy doing when I read the Bible: put ourselves in the shoes (or sandals) of the people we read about. The details “Galilee…Nazareth…Judea…Bethlehem” give us points so interest, areas to study, maps to examine. So look at a map!

Notice where Nazareth is, and then look where Bethlehem is. With the term “up” in your mind, and the fact of Mary being pregnant (v. 5), imagine this trip. Traveling ninety miles on foot. This is a small rabbit trail, but I want to urge you to read your Bible like this, doing as much as you can to fully grasp what the text is saying.

They are traveling to a place called Bethlehem, which is also called the city of David, or the town of David. This simply means that Bethlehem was the birthplace of David, and most likely the place where he grew up as a boy (1 Sam 16:1; 17:12). Simple as it is, it further proves the legality of Jesus’ right to the throne.

Another important note about the location of Bethlehem is that it fulfills the prophecy spoken in Micah 5:2 (which is our memory verse for the week): “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from old, from ancient of days.” The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, as a result of the census ordered by Octavian (the Roman Emperor at the time), and the obedient travel of Joseph and Mary, is what fulfilled this prophecy.

We finally come to verse five. Did you ever wonder why Mary would have traveled such a great distance while being so near to giving birth? Well, if you have, I have several suggestions, none of which can be proved or disproved by Scripture. The first is that Joseph wanted her to go so that she would avoid ridicule in Nazareth. Although they were married prior to leaving for Bethlehem (Matt. 1:24), if she carried our Lord for nine full months this would place the conception before their marriage. This fact alone would cause Mary shame at the hands of her family and friends (who would believe their story?) (Geldenhuys, pg. 100).

A second suggestion is that both Mary and Joseph were aware of the prophecy given in Micah (Ibid.). With knowledge of who the child was they may have seen the dots being connected by the census and their need to register in Bethlehem. Maybe with this knowledge Mary decided that despite being pregnant she would travel to Bethlehem in order to play a further role in the fulfillment of this prophecy.

A third and final (for us) suggestion is that Joseph and Mary may have viewed their trip to Bethlehem as a permanent move. “The Greek word tekton applied to Joseph in the New Testament designated one who lived by working with his hands – a carpenter, a stone mason, and even a farmer in some papyri. Bethlehem was the historical headquarters for the stonemason’s guild and therefore a more natural residence than Nazareth for a builder” (Summers, pg. 100).

Whatever the reason was for Mary to decide to accompany Joseph to Bethlehem to register for the census, she did, and as we will learn in verses six and seven (next week) she gives birth to her firstborn while in the small town. This birth fulfills the covenant to King David as well as the prophecy in Micah 5:2.

This will conclude our brief study of Luke 2:4,5. I realize that this article is a lot of facts and maybe things that you don’t really have time to learn more about, and may even be a bit disorganized (for which I apologize). But, I want you to see this story, that I am sure you are very familiar with, in a new light. A viewpoint of recognizing all of the details that Luke covers and that are at play in the hand’s of God. Recognize the sovereignty of God in all of this. Look at the facts and see how they all connect, prove each other, and fulfill Old Testament prophecy.

With that being said: Have a Merry Christmas this Sunday and may you begin to view this day, and season, in a new light as a result of your careful examination and study of scripture.

(view the bibliography entries for sources mentioned in this article here).

This Week’s Christmas Verse – Micah 5:2 – “from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel”


(C) F. Lokot 2007. All rights reserved

Continuing our observation of the Old Testament prophesies concerning the coming of our Savior, this week’s verse is found in the book of the minor prophet, Micah. This verse speaks to the location in which our Lord was to come as an infant…quite fascinating, actually. Even more fascinating is when we will read verses in the New Testament that show the fulfillment of Old Testament prophesies. I digress, enjoy this week’s verse and be sure to stop by during the week with your thoughts.

Micah 5:2

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.

This verse is also timed perfectly for this week’s Christmas article. On Friday we will be studying the significance of the town of Bethlehem. Be sure to subscribe via email below so that you don’t miss it!