North Anderson Baptist church
On the Way to Bethlehem “Bethlehem, The City of David”
Locations & Times
  • North Anderson Baptist Church
    2308 N Main St, Anderson, SC 29621, United States
    Sunday 10:30 AM
Bethlehem is a very special place in the eyes of Jews, Muslims and Christians alike. The modern city stretches out from the historic center in all directions. Today Bethlehem is controlled by the Palestinian Authority and has a population of about 22,000 not including the suburbs of Beit Jala and Beit Sahour. In the city itself, 41% of the population is Christian, while 59% is Muslim. Christians used to be a large majority but their numbers have declined throughout the 20th century. Although Arabic is the language of Bethlehem's inhabitants, English, French and other languages are widely spoken and understood by many people in Bethlehem.

Bethlehem has meaning for Muslims as well as Christians and Jews, since they also believe in Jesus. However, unlike Christians, Muslims do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah - they think he was one of many prophets. The city also has great significance for Jews because it is the home of David, hence the City of David, and is also the traditional site of Rachel's Tomb (on the outskirts of the town) both in the Old Testament. Bethlehem is in the West Bank and as we know the biblical birthplace of Jesus, it’s a major Christian pilgrimage destination. The birth is considered to be in a grotto under the 6th-century Church of the Nativity, which shares Manger Square with the 15th-century Church of St. Catherine and the 1860 Mosque of Omar. When entering the church where the grotto is you have to first bend down because the entrance is a small door. Going inside, you see the remnants of the old church which is being preserved and areas that you are not able to go into. The structure is mostly sound but somewhat dark and gloomy in appearance, only the adjoining Franciscan Church of St Catherine (dated 1881 and the site of the yearly December 24 midnight mass broadcast around the world) being in excellent shape. The original Manger is called “the Grotto of the Nativity,” and is accessible from inside the church. (The tomb of famed theologian and Bethlehem resident St. Jerome, who spent his life translating the Bible, is also in the cave with the Grotto.) I remember that we had to go down some stairs into a darkened cave area to what was considered the actual birthplace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Like almost all historical sites in Israel, you just can’t say for certain that it is completely true. But, it was exciting to see and to witness all that went on in the cave.
The city of Bethlehem is first mentioned in the Bible in connection with the nearby Ephrath as the burial place for Rachel, the wife of the patriarch Jacob (Gen 35:19, Gen 48:7). Salma, a grandson of Caleb, is called the “father of Bethlehem” (1 Chronicles 2:51) and is associated with its founding. The city was probably established as an Israelite settlement during the time of Judges (ca. 12th-11th centuries B.C.).
When we think of Bethlehem, outside of the birth of Jesus, we think about Ruth and Naomi in the Book of Ruth (c. 1150 BC). Most of us know the story but if you don’t; Naomi and her husband, Elimelech, left their home in Bethlehem because of famine and went to Moab across the River of Jordan, to the East. While there Naomi’s husband died, as well as her two sons. Before the boys died, they both had married Moabite women. When Naomi was ready to go back to Bethlehem, one of her daughters stayed behind but Ruth was committed to go back to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law.
The story of Boaz and Ruth is seen in the Book of Ruth and is finalized with the birth of Ruth and Boaz’s son Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, who was the father of David, the future King of Israel, who was born in the city of Bethlehem. Even though Caleb, from the story of the spies into the promised land from Numbers 13, is considered “the father of Bethlehem” the city is really known as the “City of David” because it is the birthplace of King David.
Still, Bethlehem remained a small town in the shadow of mighty Jerusalem, and according to most estimates it had some 300 to 1000 inhabitants at the time of the event that gave Bethlehem its fame, namely the birth of Jesus.
Why did Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem? We know from the scripture that Joseph had to return to the place of his birth because of the census that was ordered by Caesar Augustus.
And we know that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem from the passage in Micah 5:2,
When the Magi arrived in Jerusalem to see King Herod they thought that the “King of the Jews” would have been born in the palace. When Herod heard of the birth of this child he asked his chief priest and scribes, where this birth was to take place. They told him in Bethlehem and pointed to the Micah passage. Later after Joseph had left with his small family to Egypt, wicked King Herod sent troops to Bethlehem and they slaughtered all little boys from birth to 2 years old, thinking he would kill this “King of the Jews.”
From this point on we hear only one other reference about the city of Bethlehem in the New Testament. It is in John 7:40-43,
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus did not tell them that He was born in Bethlehem and not in Nazareth, where He grew up and lived until He decided to leave and preach and teach? Why is so little else said in the New Testament? The event of Jesus’ birth is only told from Luke’s historical view and mentioned in Matthew, as I said, regarding the Magi and King Herod. This City of David was small and not very important in Jesus’ day but today stands as one of the most important tourists spots in all of the world.
You know that there is not much at all about the birth of the Savior in the scripture as there is the death and resurrection of the Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Why do you think that is so? Jesus’ birth is important and without, it there would never a Savior for the world and no hope for mankind. But with the birth there must be more! There is. This Jesus, born in a manger, born of a virgin, is truly the Man of God, who is also God Almighty, maker of the world and all the universe. This Jesus grew up, Luke 2:52, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” and became a man who was destined to died upon the “old rugged cross.” His whole life was pointing to the cross so that He might die for the sins of all mankind. His task was to go to Jerusalem and give His life a ransom for many who would believe. When He died, and He did die, He was buried, as all dead people should be, and then on the third day He arose from the dead, as the prophecies said He would and as He said to His disciples that He would.
Why was all of this done? His resurrection was accomplished so that He might give everyone who believes in Him, eternal life; for since He was raised from the dead, we to have the sure hope of heaven that we will to be raised from the dead and live forevermore with Lord God in heaven. Our forgiveness of sin and eternal life would not have been possible unless the prophecy of Jesus, The Christ, being born of a virgin girl, in Bethlehem, the City of David was fulfilled and true.
There would be an everlasting connection between the manger and the cross!
What does it mean to you and me today?
*For those who are saved, it is the source of our Joy and reason for our worship!
*For those of you here today who do not know Jesus Christ personally and all those out there, as your Savior and Lord, you are invited right now to join the family of God by faith in Jesus Christ and repentance of your sin while surrendering your heart and life to this Jesus who can forgive your sin and give to you eternal life with God.
*Today is that day! The day of rejoicing for the Savior has been born in the City of David and He will give unto men and women new life and real peace.

Come now to the Lord in humble contrition!


Dear friend if you are reading this by way of the internet please know that you are loved and cared for. If you have no relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son, then I invite you to trust Him by faith and receive Him as your personal Savior. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sin of everyone in the world that they may have eternal life. All of us have sinned and all are guilty before Almighty God who made us to have fellowship with Him. But sin broke that ability to have a relationship and Jesus has restored the possibility to know God personally through His sacrifice. Please know that if you will seek God and turn from your sin and pray He will respond with His love and give to you a personal relationship through your belief in His Son and the sacrifice He made just for you. He will call for a change in your life too. He wants you to follow Him, not the world, not your own desires, but to follow Jesus. That brings a life change when you turn from sin and self and by faith believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. There is no Savior without Him being Lord of your life. Your willingness to change by following Him daily in your life will be the proof of your faith. When life throws its curves your way and you have found yourself broken by others or by the world let us introduce you to the only One who can help you…Jesus! You can write or call the office and we will follow up by contacting you. Office phone number is 864-225-2575 and the website address is and the physical address is 2308 N. Main St., Anderson, SC 29621. Dear friend if you are a believer and you have been touched by the Lord and you would like to talk to someone at the church just contact us in one of the ways you see above. If you are a believer and would like to talk about the church and your interest in being a part, please call and we can set up an appointment for you and get to know you. It would be a great pleasure to share our Lord’s love with you. This is a loving church and you are important to us, so please let us know what we can do for you in the Lord.Pastor Bill Rigsby