The Christmas season is a time to remember the Incarnation of the Lord the God-Man, who came on a rescue mission for sinners (Matthew 1:21; Luke 19:10). One interesting connection between the Virgin Birth and the Incarnation of Jesus is found in where Jesus was born in Bethlehem and how it connects with His teaching as the Bread of Life.
The Meaning of Bethlehem and Jesus the Bread of Life
In Micah 5:2 Bible readers are told that Jesus will come from among the clans of Judah from the city of Bethlehem. The fulfillment of this prophecy is found in many places in Scripture, such as Luke 2:1-7. The word Bethlehem comes from a combination of two words, Beth meaning the House and the Hebrew word Lehem meaning bread. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the House of Bread as the Bread of Life, who alone provides the food of eternal life and living water to His people through the Holy Spirit.
The Bread of Life and the Deity of Jesus
Many people have very different opinions about Jesus, and these opinions were found in Jesus’ ministry also. The I Am sayings in John’s Gospel highlight how Jesus is not one of many options among the deities, but the only option. John’s whole point with the I Am sayings are to reveal Jesus as the I Am God.
In John 6:35, Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” The words “I AM” is a reference that takes Bible readers back to Exodus 3:14, where the Lord declares, “I AM WHO I AM.” Jesus’ use of the I AM proves He is deity.
When Jesus calls Himself the Bread of Life, his hearers would have understood him to be talking about the manna during the Exodus. Those who partake of Christ get more than mere manna like those in the wilderness they get eternal life, for all who come to Him in faith will never be cast out (John 6:37).
Jesus was born in Bethlehem during a period of Jewish history when the Jews suffered at the hands of the Roman occupiers. Bethlehem was a small and seemingly insignificant city (Micah 5:2). In redemptive history, Bethlehem is significant because the Lord chose to reveal the glory of His Son Jesus in this village. The Lord loves to fulfill His purposes through those things man has forsaken (1 Corinthians 1:18-31).
God often uses what the world deems insignificant or unlovely. Across the world, His kingdom is spread by ordinary people who will probably themselves never be famous or remembered in the history books of men. Those who know Christ are remembered by God and are the most significant people of all in His eyes, the only eyes that matter. Each one of us, famous or not, can be used by the Lord in mighty ways.