The Night That Changed The World

Author Unknown

The green hills near the town of Bethlehem, five miles to the south of Jerusalem, are dotted with caves, most of them man-made. Two thousand years ago, some of the caves were carved into the soft white limestone by shepherds. Here these outcasts of society made their homes and raised their families. Other caves were hollowed out as stables. These were dark, dank, filthy holes, fit only for the animals that inhabited them. In one of these unspeakably dirty hollows -- surrounded by sheep, donkeys, and maybe a camel or two -- the Son of Man was born of a virgin. It was a night that changed the world.

The Jews had been anxiously expecting a Messiah for 500 years before He actually appeared. The prophets of old had predicted it and, since Jews were indoctrinated in the Scriptures from childhood, nearly everyone knew the prophecies by heart. Yet, with anticipation came misconception. A king, they said, should be born into a palace surrounded by magnificence, not in a lowly stable. Furthermore the first announcement of his birth should have been made to the greatest men of Israel -- the chief priests of the Temple -- not to lowly shepherds.

But Christ did not come into the world to save just the rich and the powerful. He came to offer salvation to all. Could the lowliest of people have accepted Him had He been born into splendor and hobnobbed only with the rich?

The mistake of many people today, as it was then, is to expect God to conform to their expectations. The Jews expected a king, a great sword-wielding warrior who would be their salvation from the pagans of Rome. Instead, they got a gentle man of love and peace who taught that the way to salvation was repentance of sin and trust in God. What they got was totally unexpected, and Jesus went largely unrecognized by the powerful Jewish rulers except as a clear and present danger to their authority.

It was mainly the lowly and the humble who followed Him, who listened to His words and were ultimately saved. The powerful Jews of the Temple, with few exceptions, considered Jesus a dangerous, itinerate preacher from Nazareth who uttered blasphemy and, since He had so many followers, threatened to lure Jews away from Temple worship. All they saw was that Jesus was raining on their parade. The signs that the prophet Isaiah and others had predicted were largely ignored.

The fact that Jesus was miraculously born of a virgin proves that He was truly sent from God. His humble birth illustrates that He came to save all of mankind, not just the elite. His birth on that night of nights, in a humble cave in Bethlehem, began a chain of events that changed the world forever.

"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14 NIV)