Of Dual Origins
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”
- Micah 5:2
What makes this week’s text a Messianic prophecy is the last phrase in the sentence. This was what made ancient religious leaders expect the Messiah to come from Bethlehem.
Apart from this last phrase, you might think that Micah had just been predicting the rise of a leader, a king like any other king. That might be helpful for the people to know. In an era where dynasties ran for generation after generation, a new dynasty could bring about a new destiny.
But Micah had something larger in mind.
The language that’s used of the “one who will be ruler over Israel” locates him in a special category. Think “Ancient of Days.” He will have dual origins: little Bethlehem Ephrathah and Eternity.
Christian theologians reflected on passages like these as wrestling with what they called the “hypostatic union,” the mystery that Jesus can be both fully God and fully human. As the Athanasian Creed said: “He is God from the essence of the Father, begotten before time; and he is human from the essence of his mother, born in time; completely God, completely human.” This is a great mystery.
In times of great uncertainty, God offers a mystery to those who will listen to the end. A God bigger than our imagination or comprehension will always be shrouded in mystery. He offers us a mystery; he offers us himself.
Don’t settle for something less than God himself. Don’t settle for religion or morality or service or activism or even community when God is offering you himself.
How might you invite God into your life today? What moments can you talk to him or think about him? Will you think about this?