The Journey to Bethlehem

Ancient Palestine Map Printed 1845
An old 19th century map, engraved and printed in England in 1845, depicting ancient Palestine (‘Antiqua Palestina’ as it’s written on the map itself) at the times of Jesus Christ, from Damascus in the north down to the land south of the Dead Sea in the south. On the bottom right corner there’s an enlargement of the old city of Jerusalem.

At our church we were listening to Dr. Edward Sri’s series on Mary.  He was talking about the Journey to Bethlehem and how Mary and Joseph might have walked it.  They were poor and might not have had the donkey that we always picture Mary traveling on. Actually my first thought was this was Mary’s carrying of the cross except she was carrying Jesus.

Mary had already made the difficult journey once when she went to see Elizabeth but this time was different.  She was nine months pregnant and heavy with child.  Just as it took every bit of strength for Jesus to climb up Calvary, so it must have taxed Mary’s resources to limit as well.

We all have a destination, for Mary it was Bethlehem and for Jesus it was Calvary.  Our destination is heaven.  I do not think it is meant to be an easy journey.  The first commandment is “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”

We are called to be saints. Do you think we will not be tested to our limits?  I tell you we are tested beyond our limits in order to throw our dependence completely upon God.  Jesus tells us: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

At the end of Mary’s journey there was life! At the end of Jesus’ journey there was the Resurrection.  We pick up our cross and follow Jesus not because of Calvary but because of our belief in Heaven.

Scriptures referenced: Mark 12:29-30, Matthew 7:13-14

Link to Dr. Sri’s wonderful Bible study.




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