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Why was Jesus born in Bethlehem?

Bethlehem was a little town, but not obscure. It is mentioned around one hundred times in the Bible. Yet out of all the cities that Jesus could be born in, his hometown Nazareth or the great metropolis Jerusalem, why did God pick Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus?

Four reasons:

PROPHECY: The town was prophesied in the book of Micah as being the birthplace of a ruler, a shepherd, one who will bring peace.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”. . .
He will stand and shepherd his flock
in the strength of the LORD,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
will reach to the ends of the earth.
And he will be our peace..Micah 5:2,4,5

DAVID: It was the birthplace of David, in Jesus’ genealogical line.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

David was promised that a king would come from him that would rule on his throne forever (2 Samuel 7:16). Only one person could rule forever. God himself.

SACRIFICES: Bethlehem was a place where the sacrificial lambs were raised. The area is very fertile and since it was close to Jerusalem, many of the lambs used for Passover were raised there.

BREAD: The name Bethlehem means “House of Bread.” Jesus referred to himself as bread many times.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35

Jesus multiplied thousands of loaves of bread and distributed it to his followers. At the communion he told his disciples that the bread represented his body, broken for all. Bread represented the food of life that Jesus offered to all.

In retrospect, Bethlehem is no O Little Town, but the exact place Jesus needed to be born.