First Reading: Micah 5:1-4a


An Unexpected Source


1 Now you shall gather yourself in troops,
daughter of troops.
He has laid siege against us.
They will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek.
2 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
being small among the clans of Judah,
out of you one will come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel;
whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.
3 Therefore he will abandon them until the time that she who is in labor gives birth.
Then the rest of his brothers will return to the children of Israel.
4 He shall stand, and shall shepherd in the strength of YHWH,
in the majesty of the name of YHWH his God.


World English Bible


Great people sometimes come from the smallest of places. Their origins keep them connected to the common folk and turn their stories into legend. J. C. Penney, John Rockefeller, and even Bill Gates had common beginnings. What they did not share with other people was an uncommon vision and a burning desire to make their vision a reality.


Micah wrote the passages about Bethlehem in the midst of foreign invasion. The Assyrians, who destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel, now threatened Jerusalem itself. As a prophet, Micah condemned the city for its sins, but promised a time of renewed glory. And the restoration would begin in most insignificant of places, just as David, Israel's greatest king, came from the shepherding fields around a small village.


Such would be the case for the coming Messiah, Israel's leader at the end of time. He would seem to come from nowhere, yet, his linage would be from ancient times. He would be something new to get excited about, yet his pedigree would be impeccable. [1]


Until his time, Israel would be scattered among the nations. But his birth would be the sign of Israel's return to its homeland. [2]


Continuing the theme of David, the coming Messiah would rule (like a shepherd) in God's strength and in God's name. So great would his reign be, that it would extend to the ends of the earth. [3] Notice, his rule was peaceful, just like the pastoral image of shepherding depicted. [4]


Jesus was born in the smallest of places, did not travel more than 50 miles from his home in his life, left no personal writing, and died a humiliating death. Yet, his vision of God's kingdom and his burning desire to see it fulfilled has changed the world.


How have we seen Christ's vision and desire fulfilled in our lives?