Advent Devotional: Week 1, Part 4

By Bruce Benedict & Elliot Grudem  /  

week one of advent

Background #4 – Jesus’ Birth in the Small Town of Bethlehem

When the wise men showed up in Jerusalem inquiring where the Messiah was to be born, it got the whole place up in a tizzy. These were foreigners inquiring the whereabouts of the future King! How could foreigners know about the Messiah and the Jewish leaders not know? Everyone from King Herod to the religious leaders (chief priests and scribes) were greatly troubled. Herod quickly gathered the Jewish leadership together and asked them where the Messiah will be born. The Jewish leaders pulled out their scrolls and read from the prophet Micah (quoted in verse six below). They read that the Messiah would be born in the little town of Bethlehem. The king and religious leaders knew the right answers, but were too concerned with the threat to their own power to understand why the fulfillment of God’s promises were good news for the whole world!

Matthew 2:1-6
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

6 “ ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ”

Shedding some light...

Have you ever had the experience of finding yourself on the defensive on your own turf? What about when someone new shows up in your classroom? Or how about when a new employee arrives at work? Or how about when someone moves into your neighborhood that seems to know everything? We can be very protective of what we perceive as our own insider standing and knowledge! Why is that? What causes that? How can we overcome that temptation?

Children’s Prayer

Dear God, help us get excited when others get things we don’t get. Help us rejoice when other people do well. When we don’t get what we want, help us to believe that you give us everything that we need. Help us not get so frustrated by what we don’t have that we can’t be excited about what you are doing.

Adults’ Prayer

Dear God, sometimes you speak to us from people that are strange and of no account. They seem to know more about us than we know of ourselves. Sometimes we also can look down on people who are not from places we value. Help us to love outsiders as we marvel in Jesus’ humble beginnings.

Advent Singing: O Little Town of Bethlehem

Advent Devotional Guide Download

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. 

Compilation and Text
Bruce Benedict

Elliot Grudem

Ladye Jane Vickers

Amelia Reynolds 

PO Box 10095 | Raleigh, NC 27605
919-546-0515 |