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. Matthew 2:6
(cf Micah 2:5) But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
JESUS CHRIST IS KING!
My dad is now 96 years old and lives in a ‘nursery rhyme’ (my little 4 year old granddaughter’s confused reference to his nursing home). In his heyday, however, he was a wheat and sheep farmer.
On his farm, he had between 750 and 1000 sheep at any given time. During the late autumn, winter and spring there was usually enough pasture for the sheep to graze, depending on the weather. In the drier times, Dad would have to hand feed the sheep.
It was a treat to watch him and his sheep interact at these times. Dad loved his sheep. As a flock he called them ‘Sheepies’. He didn’t have names for them all, but some were his favourites and he knew them by name.
Matthew tells us that the ruler who would come from Bethlehem, the Messiah, would shepherd the people of God. In John 10, Jesus uses the analogy of the shepherd and his sheep to explain how much he cares for his people and what he is prepared to do to protect them.
Jesus goes on to say:
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. (vv14-15)
This ruler of Israel from Bethlehem, the one from eternity past, the one born from the royal clans of Judah – this one was prepared to die for the sake of his sheep.
What a contrast between the mighty King of kings and the likes of Herod who would never lay his life down for others. Rather, he would kill small children for the sake of self-preservation.
All praise and honour to Jesus Christ the King!