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I must strongly disagree with the venerable Pastor Greg Laurie, Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, who published an article December 18, 2020, Jesus birth: It’s More About the “Why” Than the “Where.”
It is the “where” that declares “the who” and “the why” of Jesus Christ’s birth.
Jesus must be born in Bethlehem and the fields of Boaz because the angel had declared to Mary that He was Messiah.
“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give 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” (Luke 1:32-33 NKJV).
Bethlehem, the ancient home of King David, must be the location of the birth of Messiah.
Bethlehem means “house of bread.”
Boaz, the great-grandfather of King David was a grain farmer outside of Bethlehem.
Jesus said, “Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life” (John 6:47-48 NKJV).
Jesus Christ, the “bread of life,” must be born in the ancient grain fields of Boaz and at the “House of Bread” – Bethlehem.
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.”
Dr. Alfred Edersheim in his classic, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah writes about these shepherds:
“That the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, was a settled conviction. Equally so was the belief, that He was to be revealed from Migdal Eder, “the tower of the flock.” This Migdal Eder was not the watchtower of the ordinary flocks which pastured on the barren sheep-ground beyond Bethlehem, but lay close to the town, on the road to Jerusalem. A passage in the Mishnah leads to the conclusion, that the flocks, which were pastured there, were destined for Temple-sacrifices, and, accordingly, that the shepherds, who watched over them were not ordinary shepherds(Mclean: MacDonald Publishing, 1883, 1886, pp. 186-187).
Indeed, these were not your average shepherds watching over sheep raised for the public market. These were specially chosen shepherds, sanctified by the priests, for raising sheep to be sacrificed at Passover.
The angel appeared to shepherds raising Passover sheep and announced, “I bring you good tiding of great joy which shall be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the City of David, a Savior who is Christ, the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
Jesus, the Lamb of God, must be born in the field with Passover sheep, because He would be sacrificed as the Lamb of God on Passover.
What was “the sign” by which the shepherds would know this was a true Word from God? Jesus, the Lamb of God, would be born in a stable for Passover sheep, on the edge of the fields of Migdal Eder, and he would be lying in a manger.
I fully agree with Pastor Greg, “We need to talk about the ‘why’ of Jesus coming… He came to save us from our sins… so that we could become the friends of God… The Son of God was born so that we might be born again… He was born so that we might have relationship with Him.”
However, the where He was born declares Who Jesus is, Messiah, Savior, and the Lamb of God.
It also declares the why of His birth, He “…takes away the sins of the world… sits on the throne of His father David… of His Kingdom there will be no end.”
It is significant for us to know and understand the where as well as the why.
Almighty God used the location the Christmas events as a guidepost to help us clearly understand the who and the why of the birth of Jesus Christ.
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