Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Some things don't make much sense until we can see them in retrospect. That is the case with our prophetic reading from Micah 5:2-5. It is cryptic until we consider it in light of the birth of Christ.
Bethlehem, the place which is out of the way and easily forgotten, that's where the ruler of Israel comes from. Yes, we know that refers to David the King, but it is greater than him. The origin of this ruler is "from of old." There are prophecies from the very beginning of the human period, referring to someone who will come to destroy sin. But he waits until the appointed time.
At that appointed time, there's a birth, there's a return of the brothers to Israel, and the ruler stands and acts as a shepherd, but one who rules in majesty. Like a shepherd keeps his sheep safe, this ruler keeps his people in peace, all over the world.
David never did this. His brothers weren't part of his reign. He sometimes kept his nation safe, but at other times it was characterized by war and dissent. And he certainly didn't rule all over the world.
Jesus, on the other hand, draws all nations to himself, restoring Israel itself. He will bring a reign of peace, eternal peace, in the last day. And his reign knows no boundaries.
This is Christ, who is born to save us, come to deliver us, prophesied of old, reigning now from his seat at the right hand of the Father in majesty. When we look to Christ as a baby on Christmas, we also look at the eternal king of Israel. From a humble place, apparently nothing but a child, but the ruler and shepherd of all.
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