Micah 5:2 (New Living Translation)
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.
What must have felt like an incredible inconvenience to Mary and Joseph was actually a fulfillment of prophecy from the Old Testament. Today’s reading is from the book of the prophet Micah, who lived about 700 years before Jesus was born.
The greatest king of Israel had come from this same small town where Mary and Joseph now found themselves. 1 Samuel 17:12 tells us: “Now David was the son of a man named Jesse, an Ephrathite from Bethlehem in the land of Judah.”
Micah promised that a king would come, “one whose origins are from the distant past.” Jesus was a part of the ancient lineage of David, certainly, but his origins were from a far more distant past. The Hebrew word translated as “distant past” here (‘olam) means “eternity, forever, everlasting, perpetual.”
On December 2nd, we looked at these verses from the Gospel of John: “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God” (1:1). The Son of God existed before time began, and was intimately involved in the creation of the universe. This same Son was to be born as a human being in a stable in Bethlehem — born to save the very creation he had helped bring into being.
What an incredible gift. What an incredible God…
What does it mean to you that Jesus is both fully human (born of Mary) and fully divine (part of God existing eternally)?