ADVENT STUDY: The Unopened Gift. { Day 7 }


Advent Study: He is Faithful:Born in Bethlehem

READ: Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:1, Luke 2:4-6

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,” {Matthew 2:1 ESV}

Can you imagine leaving your best Christmas gift unopened?

If you had been told that this gift was a long-desired, hope-fulfilled promise coming true, wouldn’t you go to the trouble of opening it?

Most would……yet interestingly enough, not everyone.

It all began in the bustling city of Jerusalem, the hub of Jewish faith where its leaders and scholars resided. Wise men from far away came to inquire about the birth of Christ, not knowing exactly where to find him.

“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.” {Matthew 2:2-4 ESV}

The religious leaders did what any self-respecting expert would do- they looked for evidence. Turning to the Old Testament, they found that God had already prophesied where this event would take place- Bethlehem.

“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.” {Micah 2:5 ESV}

God, perfect in His faithfulness to do ALL that He has promised, did indeed fulfill this prophecy. Click To Tweet

“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. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.” {Luke 2:4-6 ESV}

After hearing where this monumental event was to take place, the Magi went on their way, continuing their search for the One they had come to worship. They now headed for Bethlehem, following the star until it came to rest over where Mary and Joseph were staying.

The wise men were overjoyed at finding the Christ, presenting their treasures to Him in worship. Their long journey had been successful. They had found and experienced the thrill of their lifetime- God’s faithfulness up close and personal. They were part of the precious few who welcomed Immanuel, “God With Us”, into human history.

There is something glaringly obvious and yet, oh so conspicuously absent from this scene.

The religious leaders!

Where were they? Why had they not come from Jerusalem with the Magi?

The Magi had traveled great distances to find this “King of the Jews”. The religious leaders knew this and STILL they chose to stay behind.

A caravan of non-Jewish people comes to the religious epicenter of Jerusalem, asking about the Jewish ruler to be born who would fulfill the ancient prophecy, and yet none of these leaders wanted to go see for themselves if this was coming true?!

What makes this even more shocking is that Bethlehem was only about 5 miles from Jerusalem!

It seems that idle curiosity would have made it worth the 5 mile trip. If pagans can travel long distances to see the prophecy potentially coming true, then surely the religious experts would want to go a short distance!

It’s as if they determined it wasn’t worth their effort to find out for themselves, this long desired treasure waiting just beyond their doorstep. They were content to let their greatest gift remain a mystery. Even though God faithfully provided, His chosen people would not go to the effort of “opening” and worshipping.

It would be so easy to leave the lesson there……

How many of us are not willing to investigate this treasure sent to save?

How often do we remain content to read ABOUT Jesus while neglecting the “Word” Himself?

Why are WE satisfied to remain at OUR distance, giving our attention to lesser things while leaving our greatest treasure unexplored?

Experiencing the intimate knowledge of God’s faithfulness is worth all a person could ever hope to give in exchange, yet it is as close as a moment in prayer, an open bible, or time with Him.

In all the rush of holiday madness, will we be like the religious experts, content to leave our greatest gift unopened?

REFLECT:

*Are you putting forth the effort to know and grow in Christ?

  • In what ways could you experience firsthand God’s faithfulness for yourself?
  • What “lesser” things need to be put aside so that you can experience the “greater” gifts of God?
PRAYER:

Dearest Lord, please show me where I am neglecting the greater things of God like the religious leaders in Jerusalem. Open my eyes to my lack of effort that prevents me from experiencing your faithfulness. Grant me perspective of all that You offer me through the treasure of Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gretchen Fleming
Gretchen Fleming
Gretchen's passion is to follow hard after Jesus, knowing He is the treasure of a lifetime and worth every minute she commits to Him. God’s Word has been life-giving to her through the most trying times—a great source of strength, wisdom, and truth. She is a Bible teacher, speaker, and writer, who loves to see Jesus change lives as He’s changed hers. Gretchen is a wife of 28 years and mother of 3 young adult children.

1 Comment

  1. What a day lifter! Thank you!

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