THE BETHLEHEM CANDLE (Purple symbolizing His sacrifice)
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from days of eternity.”
Micah 5:2 (NASB, ~700 B.C.) See also Luke 2:1-7
The Second Advent Candle represents PEACE–God’s provision of a way to find true PEACE through the gift of His Son according to His perfect PLAN. Even the place of his birth was carefully PREPARED and revealed in Scripture centuries before His birth. But a gift that is offered must also be received. There must also be a PREPARATION of a place for Him in our hearts if we are to receive Him by faith and then live in PEACE with both God and men. It is comforting to know and understand how detailed and precise God’s PLAN for our salvation—and our lives—truly is, especially in times of adversity. It leaves us with no doubt that God always keeps His promises, and that sure and certain HOPE gives us great PEACE today as well.
“My peace I give to you…” — Jesus John 14:27
The Second Sunday of Advent 12/7/21 Theme: God’s Plan for Planet Earth
I. The Old Testament Prophecy (Promise) – The birthplace of Messiah (~700 B.C.) Micah 5:2 (NASB) Another Christmas prophecy
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”
II. The New Testament fulfillment – The birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem (~4 B.C.) Luke 2:1-20 (NASB) The fulfillment in Luke is known as “The Christmas Story”
1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. 2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was gover- nor of Syria. 3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.
6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.
17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.
18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shep- herds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.
20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
III. The big significance of “little” Bethlehem – The name means “house of bread”
Hebrew (transliterated)- Beth Lechem (see John 6:26-58 spiritual vs physical bread)
Micah 5:2 “God’s Bread-Basket”
“I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
John 6:51 (NASB)
Key Verses – The “big” significance of “little” Bethlehem
John 6:26-58 (excerpts NASB) *The “Bread of Heaven” from God’s breadbasket
“26 Jesus answered them and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.’
28 Therefore they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?’ 29 Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.’ 30 So they said to Him, ‘What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.”’ 32 Jesus then said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.’ 34 Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, always give us this bread.’ 35 Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.’ 41 Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, ‘I am the bread that came down out of heaven.’ 42 They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, “I have come down out of heaven”?’ 43 Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day…’” 47 “‘Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
“He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you under- stand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.”
Deuteronomy 8:3 (NASB)
Key x-References – The 75 mile 4-5 Day-long trip while 9 months pregnant!
Matthew 2:1-10 (NASB) *The value of knowing Scripture – Answers to life’s questions 1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2 ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.’
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.
5 They said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: 6 “AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH, ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.”’
7 Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.’
9 After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.”
*Note: Possibly as much as 2 years after His birth – “house” not “manger;” “child” not “baby”
“Some of the people therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, ‘This certainly is the Prophet.’ Others were saying, ‘This is the Christ.’ Still others were saying, ‘Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?’
So a division occurred in the crowd because of Him.”
“Who do YOU say that I Am?” – Jesus (cf. Matthew 16:13-17)