I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:51
Jesus’ birth was announced to the neighborhood shepherds by angels. Heaven’s ways are not our ways, thankfully! How differently we humans would have proclaimed the coming of a king. Christ would also become our shepherd, so letting the shepherds be in on the news first seems only right. Maybe the point was to care for one another like a shepherd cares for and provides for his sheep. If love was not the central point of the birth of Christ, maybe he would have been born in a palace, and we would have worshipped wealth and importance. Oh wait! We do! Why then would the king of all life be born in a common place where animals were kept?
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:15
God set the scene and the time, and seems to shout in the darkness of the Judean hillside when He chooses Bethlehem as the birthplace of His one and only Son. It couldn’t have been mans doing.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”. Isaiah 55:9
The town of Bethlehem was not a place of importance, not the seat of government, home of royalty, or the wealthy. It was a quiet little town near the hills where shepherds tended their flocks. Nothing that was of any human importance would come from here. In fact the name Bethlehem means ‘House of Bread’, which was a common yet important source of food for the people of that day, and for us today. The house of bread was the birthplace of the One who would become our source of bread.
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
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a ruler and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.”
6 Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.”