(Journey to Bethlehem)
2 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. 3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
4 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. 5 And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. 5 And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.
God ordained it that Bethlehem would be the place to initiate Christmas. That is where everyone was to set as their destination on their GPS.
I. The Journey of the Wise Men
Some believe that they came from Iraq. We do not know for sure. They were men of high esteem. They represent a select group of the elite of our society. Just a remnant group, for one cannot misinterpret being intelectual with being wise. There are many intelectual people who sure do not have "wisdom from above". That can be proved by whoever invented a drive up ATM machine that offers braile as an option for languages.
IL: The traveling elderly couple.
These men were a special breed; leaving homeland with only a nudge from the Holy Ghost to follow the "Star". They hazarded their lives to travel into the unknown, probably thousands of miles, through foreign lands to fulfill a mission from God.
It was a journey of Faith
It was a journey of Worship
It was a journey of Change---they would never be the same again.
When you find the Christ of Christmas, you truly will never be the same as before.
There are some of us who take a long time to get to Christ. The journey is rough and leads us through much turmoil, but with persistent hearts, we get there.
II. Journey of the Shepherds
These guys were at the bottom of the totem pole as far as society was concerned. They were "country bumpkins".
It was probably just 3 or 4 miles at the most from the fields to the barn in Betlehem. Nonetheless, it was beyond them to comprehend how they could be priveleged to personally see the King of kings.
They nervously, yet excitedly made haste to find this newborn King and worship Him.
For some of us, the distance is not the problem; it's getting past our shame and social status. Christ is no respector of persons. The nativity scene of Christmas teaches us that truth.
III. The Journey of Joseph and Mary
From Nazareth to Bethlehem is about 80 miles. That is at least a hard four day journey on a donkey or a mule.
It is interesting to note that only Joseph was obligated to go to Bethlehem for the census. Human reason would expect that a woman some 8 months plus in her pregnancy would not attempt this trip. However, God had ordained it and his prophets had prophesied it. It was to be so.
Do you ever find yourself making a decision that seems to have no reason or rhyme. It is not until after the fact, that you realize that you had been motivated by the Holy Spirit to do so.
IV. The Journey of the King
Jesus made the trip of greatest distance; even though He did it in a moment of time.
He left His throne of glory, He put aside the perfectness of Heaven to come to a troubled earth. He showed up in Bethlehem, in a stable, so there could be that first Christmas. Royalty came forth into the raunchy rucus of Bethlehem.
I am so glad He made the trip.
V. The Man Who Would Not Make the Journey
The distance from Jerusalem to Bethlehem was/is only 6 miles. Yet Herod, and others like him, were not enthused enough to make the effort to check out this new King personally. So close and yet so far from knowing what a Merry Christmas is all about. Herod stayed in Jerusalem, where his life was full of daily activities and where the attention was directed toward him.
Maybe you have missed out on the real journey to Christmas, because of selfishness. Don't let it be so; make your way to feet of Jesus and worship the Saviour of the world.