Bethlehem, not Jerusalem

January 5, 2014




Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not Jerusalem.

Have you ever thought about the significance of that fact? Bethlehem was a small village of just a few hundred souls. The folks who lived out in Bethlehem were mostly farmers and small‐time trades people. Life in Bethlehem was pretty
simple and uncomplicated, where everyone knew everyone else and belonged to the same social and economic status—which is to say, they were all lower class peasants. It was among those ordinary people, in that insignificant village, were Jesus was born. In Bethlehem there were no kings, no palaces, and no great wealth. Bethlehem was not a center of power and influence. Out in Bethlehem, people’s hands were rough and calloused.

By contrast, Jerusalem had a king—King Herod—along with a palace, a big temple complex, and a Roman military fortress. In comparison with tiny Bethlehem, Jerusalem was a big place, with perhaps tens of thousands of people. In Jerusalem you could buy a wide variety of foods and luxury goods, if you had money. And at least some people did have money. King Herod certainly had money; the high priest and his family members probably had money; assorted merchants and government officials, most likely had money too. Jerusalem was a city of power and influence. Important decisions affecting the whole land were made there in Jerusalem. Up in Jerusalem, people’s hands were pampered and bejeweled.

Bible References

  • Matthew 2:1 - 12