Of all the places for the Messiah to be born, God chose Bethlehem. Bethlehem reminds us that in God’s economy the small shall become great, and the last shall be first. “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.” (Micah 5:2) Bethlehem was a place of potential, and even though you may feel insignificant, like Bethlehem, you are full of potential.
When Jesus entered Simon Peter’s life, this plain fisherman became a new person with new goals and new priorities. “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which means “Christ”). Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, ‘Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas’ (which means “Peter”).” (John 1:40-42) Jesus saw not only who Simon was, but who he would become when transformed by the love of Jesus.
As the Lord looks at you, He doesn’t see you for what you are, but for what you could become. God is reminding us that in His eyes, we all have potential for greatness through Him and FOR Him, and the only way to do that is to humble ourselves before the Lord. “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:5b-7)
And in humbling ourselves before the Lord, we are willing to serve His purpose, not our own. “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:26-28)
- Life Application Study Bible
- The Christmas Code