Jesus is the Eternal Son of God Born in Bethlehem
to Save Men from their Sins.
During Season of Advent Concordia will be mediating on Micah 5:2-4. These passages are Messianic prophecies teaching us about the Person and Work of Jesus to save men from their sin. Luther writes of the Prophet Micah:
Micah is one of the fine prophets who rebukes the people severely for their idolatry and constantly refers to the coming Christ and to his kingdom. In one respect he is unique among the prophets, in that he points with certainty to Bethlehem, naming it as the town where Christ was to be born [5:2]. For this reason he was famous under the Old Covenant, as Matthew certainly shows in chapter 2[:3-6]. In short he denounces, he prophesies, he preaches, etc. Ultimately, however, his meaning is that even though Israel and Judah have to go to pieces, Christ will yet come and make all things good.1
In verse 2 the Prophet Micah writes of the Incarnation of the Eternal Son of God:
But thou Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2.)
Because the Child born in Bethlehem is also the Eternal God, He is fully able to bear the burdens of men to save them from their sins. The Prophet Isaiah writes:
And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. (Isaiah 49:6.)
The burden is only light (a “trifle” in the Hebrew) when God the Father contrasts the infinite and eternal burden of man’s sins and obligations to the Almighty Power of the Son of God to fulfill those obligations. The Rev. Dr. John Gerhard writes:
Miserable man had angered the infinite God with his sin; therefore, he fell into an infinite evil. Such an infinite evil could be paid for and removed in no in no other way than with the infinite Good. Now then, apart from God nothing is infinitely good. That’s why God became man, so that man be enabled to pay on the strength of the infinite divinity, so that this divine payment avail for the benefit of man on account of the personal union, and so that divine righteousness adequately accomplish this. This is the wondrous accomplishment of divine righteousness and mercy.
Once the Work of Christ’s Atonement for sin on the Cross is completed, He proceeds to the Preaching of the Gospel in order to spread the Benefits of His Passion of all men to save. The Prophet Micah prophesies:
Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. (Micah 5:3.)
Jesus gives Judah up because the Law of Moses has been fulfilled with His Advent (Deuteronomy 18:15) and proceeds to gather children of Abraham from all nations through the Preaching of the Gospel. Luther writes:
Until the time of her who is in travail. He means until the time when the church is born and established through the Gospel. A summary of the meaning, then, is this: “When that Leader will have been born from Bethlehem, He will save this kingdom. He will still reserve the remaining part of the synagog until the church is born, although that external kingdom will cease to exist.”
Through the Gospel Christ nourishes His Church unto life everlasting. The Prophet Micah writes:
And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. (Micah 5:4)
Luther writes of Christ’s Work to nourish His Church unto salvation and life everlasting through the Gospel:
4. And He shall stand and feed His flock in the strength of the Lord. He proceeds to describe the remarkable kingdom and wonderful success of this kingdom. That King, who will hold all nations under His sway, will not do battle with force of arms and of soldiers. He will use no military force, no sword, but will “feed his flock.” This will be a strange sight, a new kind of fighting, which the Jews were completely incapable of understanding. Even the disciples of Christ had not yet understood it after the death of Christ, Luke 24:21, when they said, “We kept hoping that He was the One to redeem Israel.” The idea, then, is this: “That King Christ will stand and feed His flock. That is, He will declare the Word of the Gospel, and He will do this in the strength of the Lord, that is, with the Holy Spirit cooperating and adding His efficacy.” That Gospel, that humble-appearing Word, will set itself against all the gates of hell and powers of the air, for it is “the power of God,” Romans 1:16. When those who do battle under this King will have heard and believed by the power of this Word, they will conquer death, sin, and hell.
The Prophet Micah prophesied over 700 years before Jesus’ birth that the Eternal Son of God would be born of the Virgin St. Mary in order to save men by His Passion and gather His Church from all nations through the Gospel.
Sermon: Advent Vespers I.
Sermon: Advent Vespers II.
Sermon: Advent Vespers III.
Sermon: Christmas Eve.
1Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 35, p. 324. 325.
 The Rev. Dr. John Gerhard, Seven Christmas Sermons, tr. the Rev. Elmer M. Hohle, ed. the Rev. David O. Berger, Decatur, IL: The Johann Gerhard Institute, first edition, November 1996, pp. 37, 38.
Luther, M. (1999, c1975). Vol. 18: Luther's works, vol. 18 : Minor Prophets I: Hosea-Malachi (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). Luther's Works (Mic 5:3). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 18, pp. 249, 250.