Why it had to be Bethlehem 12/19
These weren’t just any lambs, however, these were special, spotless lambs...
See before Jesus, sin required an animal sacrifice to cleanse the sinner and allow them to go on living in community (beginning with Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden where God had to kill an animal to clothe the now self-aware naked sinners). God was very clear about what He would accept as a sacrifice, the “first fruits” or the best of the harvest or the spotless livestock, He was not interested in man taking his portion and leaving God the leftovers. This actually dates back to the 2nd generation of humanity, Cain & Abel. God accepted Abel’s offering as he brought the “firstlings of his flock” but rejected Cain’s because he brought “leftovers” attempting to keep the best for himself.
You may recall Aaron, the High Priest, performing the Day of Atonement ceremony by laying his hands on the head of a goat, confessing over it all the wickedness, rebellion and sins of the people of Israel. Then, the goat was driven away in the wilderness (or desert depending on your translation) to carry the people’s sins upon itself into a desolate land. Therefore, the “scapegoat” term we so often toss around today, is actually from an extremely significant biblical event around 3,500 years ago.
You see, Jesus was the ultimate “Sacrifice of Atonement” by which God paid for in full the forgiveness which He had extended before the Cross. Hebrews 10 tells us it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins, therefore, those sacrifices were in a matter of speaking, “putting their sins on layaway” until Jesus. Or another thought, like buying clothes on a credit card and wearing them before paying the bill.
So now do you know the answer? Why Bethlehem? If Bethlehem was the town where perfect, spotless sacrificial lambs were raised, doesn’t it stand to reason that the ultimate sacrificial lamb, Jesus, had to be born there?
The way I see it, God used an imperfect Roman ruler to decree an over-reaching government-serving census forcing a 9 month pregnant teenage couple to walk for a week to an overcrowded farm town known for raising spotless lambs, where they would deliver the Ultimate Sacrificial Lamb in a horse stable behind a “no vacancy” hotel, therefore the Word became flesh, making His dwelling among us, living the perfect life we cannot live, taking the sin we cannot defeat to the cross on our behalf so we can spend eternity together, with Him.