Journey to Bethlehem

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son….
Galatians 4:4a

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son…
Hebrews 1:1-2

God spoke through the prophet Malachi of a messenger to come. God was silent for over 400 years, and Israel waited. Then God acted, and the journey to Bethlehem began….

God sends an angel to Jerusalem to speak to a priest in the temple, and that angel reaches back through the centuries for words from the very last verse in Malachi to tell Zacharias of the coming birth of John.

God sends the angel Gabriel to Mary to tell her she will bear Jesus, the Son of God—and Mary hurries to visit Zacharias and Elizabeth.

God sends an angel to Joseph to tell him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife—and then Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem.

God sends an angel to shepherds to announce the birth of the Savior, Christ the Lord; a multitude of angels appear—and the shepherds go to the manger of Bethlehem.

God sets a star in the heavens to tell the Magi that the King of Israel is born—and they set out to Jerusalem, and then on to Bethlehem.

Stunning news and hard travels—a baby is born. Lives upended in shock and with wonder—God sent them all on a journey to Bethlehem.

For God, Himself, was making a journey to Bethlehem.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God
a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond- servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
Philippians 2:5-7

This is the backstory of Christmas. This was the journey of Jesus Christ to Bethlehem.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9

In a sermon on Philippians 2:5-8, The Humiliation of Christ, John MacArthur states:

…Though He gave up the full expression of his heavenly glory and the full enjoyment of it, though He gave up independent authority and exercise of His own will and learned obedience, though He gave up the prerogatives to express all of the majesty of all of His attributes which He could have done, by the way, and though He gave up personal riches for the poverty of this world and though He gave up a favorable relationship with God when He was made sin, listen to me, He never ceased to be God, never. He remained fully God. He remained fully God….

…He became man…truly human, really human. Didn’t stop being God. And He didn’t take on some body. He isn’t God in a body, He is God-man…All of the essence of humanity…1

Why did Jesus do this? Why?

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
Hebrews 2:14–17

And you know what? The word δούλου (doulou) in Philippians 2:7 is actually slave—not bond-servant—but slave.

Think of it! The only begotten Son of God took on the form of a slave (Phil. 2:7), so that the slaves of sin might become both slaves of righteousness and sons of God!2

If you’re reading this, and you have not believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, I invite you, too, to journey to Bethlehem and learn of Jesus. The angel announced to the shepherds,

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Luke 2:10b-11

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echo back their joyous strains.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be,
Which inspire your heavenly song?

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

See, within a manger laid,
Jesus, Lord of heaven and earth,
Lend your voices, lend your aid
To proclaim the Saviour’s birth!

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Come to Bethlehem and see!

Nativity Silhouette:
The story of the birth of Jesus Christ is recorded in Matthew 1–2 and Luke 1–2:38.
1John MacArthur, “The Humiliation of Christ.” This article originally appeared here at at Grace to You. I highly recommend reading this wonderful sermon!
“Thou Who Wast Rich Beyond All Splendour,” Don Reece, soloist. For the story behind this hymn, please see my post by the same name, “Thou Who Wast Rich Beyond All Splendour.”
2John MacArthur, Slave (Thomas Nelson, Nashville TN: 2010) 175.
There are several English versions of the lyrics of Angels We Have Heard On High. These are from The Hymns And Carols of Christmas and the Worship and Service Hymnal, Hope Publishing Company, 1957.

Original content: Copyright ©2010–2012 Iwana Carpenter

4 thoughts on “Journey to Bethlehem

  1. Thanks for this post. It helped me feel more charitable toward my fellow man today, upon which I must improve. Politics fouls my mood, as you’ve seen before.

    Merry Christmas INC. I am home sick with the rugrats, and so I’m surly and yet, I felt cheered after reading that…perhaps nyquil, or dayquil, or one of the various “quils”, will calm my fever.

    I wish the most mercy, peace, joy, and success for you this new year. Many are praying for you.

    Never, never give up.

    Love to all including kids, and give Doug a brotherly grunt from me as well.

  2. Sorry to hear you’re sick. I hope you and your wife weren’t up too late putting toys and games together for the kids!

    I was thinking of you last night and thinking I needed to email you today to tell you Merry Christmas. I also wanted to thank you for your friendship and help this last year.

    I’m glad you liked what I wrote. I read somewhere this year that writing rights things, and in trying to write things that will be helpful to others, I have found that working out ideas and thoughts into posts has helped me immensely.

    Love to your family as well–and rest up and get well!

  3. Pingback: Lights |

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s