The Night That Changed The World
The green hills near the town of Bethlehem, five miles to the south of
Jerusalem, are dotted with caves, most of them man-made. Two
thousand years ago, some of the caves were carved into the soft
white limestone by shepherds. Here these outcasts of society made
their homes and raised their families. Other caves were hollowed out
as stables. These were dark, dank, filthy holes, fit only for the animals
that inhabited them. In one of these unspeakably dirty hollows --
surrounded by sheep, donkeys, and maybe a camel or two -- the Son
of Man was born of a virgin. It was a night that changed the world.
The Jews had been anxiously expecting a Messiah for 500 years
before He actually appeared. The prophets of old had predicted it
and, since Jews were indoctrinated in the Scriptures from childhood,
nearly everyone knew the prophecies by heart. Yet, with anticipation
came misconception. A king, they said, should be born into a palace
surrounded by magnificence, not in a lowly stable. Furthermore the
first announcement of his birth should have been made to the greatest
men of Israel -- the chief priests of the Temple -- not to lowly
But Christ did not come into the world to save just the rich and the
powerful. He came to offer salvation to all. Could the lowliest of
people have accepted Him had He been born into splendor and
hobnobbed only with the rich?
The mistake of many people today, as it was then, is to expect God
to conform to their expectations. The Jews expected a king, a great
sword-wielding warrior who would be their salvation from the pagans
of Rome. Instead, they got a gentle man of love and peace who
taught that the way to salvation was repentance of sin and trust in
God. What they got was totally unexpected, and Jesus went largely
unrecognized by the powerful Jewish rulers except as a clear and
present danger to their authority.
It was mainly the lowly and the humble who followed Him, who
listened to His words and were ultimately saved. The powerful Jews
of the Temple, with few exceptions, considered Jesus a dangerous,
itinerate preacher from Nazareth who uttered blasphemy and, since
He had so many followers, threatened to lure Jews away from
Temple worship. All they saw was that Jesus was raining on their
parade. The signs that the prophet Isaiah and others had predicted
were largely ignored.
The fact that Jesus was miraculously born of a virgin proves that He
was truly sent from God. His humble birth illustrates that He came to
save all of mankind, not just the elite. His birth on that night of nights,
in a humble cave in Bethlehem, began a chain of events that changed
the world forever.
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a
virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name
Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14 NIV)
[ by: Ed Price -- from 'Themestream' ]
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