The Birth of Jesus

Jesus was born in Sept or Oct though we celebrate His birth Dec 24-25

Reference for dates - Jesus Born Tishri 10, 5BC – Died Nisan 14, 30AD

 

Jesus had to be born quietly, secretly, to avoid all the enemies He would have, enemies who would kill Him before He could become our Savior. This would include King Herod, the Romans, and some of the powerful Sadducees and Pharisees. They would kill, destroy, anyone who would threaten their power, their religious beliefs, or cause them any problems. Our Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation had the perfect solution; Jesus would be born in a humble stable, where no one would look for a newborn King.    

 

This message is a continuation of “God Becomes Man”, where the Son of God came down from Heaven and was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and became man. The Son became Jesus, both the Son of God, and the Son of Man, in the womb of Mary, who was engaged to be married to Joseph. Only Mary knew about this great miracle happening within her, for she alone was told by the angel Gabriel that she had been chosen to be the physical mother of Jesus. And because of her strong faith in the Lord, she knew she had the little baby Jesus in her womb. And Mary had revealed this secret to no one.

 

Mary was in a quandary about what she should do, for she was in danger for 2 reasons. She could be stoned to death for being engaged to be married, and being pregnant with someone else’s child within her womb. At the very least she would be put away, looked down upon, and she did not want that for the baby she was carrying. And if she told the truth, that she had the Son of God in her womb, no one would believe her; not Joseph, her parents or friends. She could be charged with blasphemy, for which she would likewise be stoned to death; and she would not lie about Jesus being in her womb.

Notice a betrothed, is considered the same as a husband or wife; and they are committing adultery when they have sexual relations with any who are not their betrothed. Their punishment for committing adultery is stoning; which is greater than adultery of married people, which is just death.

*“If there is a betrothed virgin, and a man meets her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor’s wife. Dt 22:23-24 ESV+

*Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death. Lev 24:16 ESV+

 

Yet Mary trusted in God and then remembered what the angel had told her about her cousin Elizabeth. Mary had been friends with Elizabeth, probably visited with her during the ceremonial Feasts in Jerusalem. Elizabeth had also just received a miracle, though not as great as Mary’s; Elizabeth had conceived a son though she was past her child bearing years. Since God had just given a miracle to Elizabeth, she would understand about the greater miracle Mary had living within her. The Lord’s plan had provided the perfect person for Mary to talk with, confide in.

*And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. Lk 1:36 ESV+

 

Mary hurriedly went to the hill country around Jerusalem to visit Elizabeth, who was over six months pregnant with John. When Mary greeted Elizabeth, the baby John jumped for joy in Elizabeth’s womb. John, though still a child in the womb, had been given a revelation by the Holy Spirit, allowing him to recognized that Jesus was in the womb of Mary. The Spirit also filled Elizabeth with the same revelation, allowing her to know that Mary was pregnant with the promised Messiah. Mary was relieved that the Spirit, through Elizabeth and John, had confirmed what she knew in her heart; that she was pregnant with Jesus, the Son of God.

*At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"  Lk 1:39-45 NIV+

 

At last someone else knew about the great miracle which was happening within her. Mary could at last visit with someone about the feelings, the joy she had held within her heart. She could at last tell someone about the love, the praise she felt for her great God. 

*And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever."  Lk 1:46-55 NKJV+

 

John’s Birth – Around Nisan (March/April) 15th 5 BC

Mary stayed with Elizabeth through John’s birth, probably his circumcision, and maybe through Passover before returning home. Mary not only received much needed companionship from Elizabeth, but learned everything she would have to know about birthing a baby. This would be a task she would soon have to do with only the help of Joseph. She learned about the care of a newborn baby, and the correct ceremonial rites for herself and Jesus after He was born. There was no question in her heart that God would take care of them, for she was the physical mother of His Son.

At this time it still seems only Mary, Elizabeth, and spiritually the baby John in Elizabeth’s womb, knew Mary was with child. Zechariah’s prophesy, when he was filled with the Spirit at John’s circumcision, indicates he did not know anything about Jesus. Zechariah’s emphasis was only on his son John becoming a great prophet, who would precede the Lord, never mentioning anything about Mary being with child, having the Messiah, the Lord in her womb. Zechariah’s Song Luke 1:67-80

*And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, Lk 1:76 ESV+

 

Mary left Elizabeth and returned to Nazareth because she was around 3 months pregnant, and was starting to show. She did not want anyone to know she was pregnant until Joseph knew about her situation. She would go home, meet with Joseph, and explain what had happened, and with God’s help maybe Joseph would be able to understand.   

*Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son. Lk 1:57 NASB+

*And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.  Lk 1:56 KJV

 

When Mary returned home, Joseph soon knew she was pregnant. We do not know if Mary told Joseph, her parents learned she was pregnant and talked with Joseph, or Joseph just noticed on his own. But Joseph, not wanting to expose her to public disgrace, planned to quietly divorce her. A betrothal was a marriage contract, and Joseph would have to break this contract to Mary, though they had never been married.

*This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. Matt 1:18-19 NIV+

 

An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream telling him that Mary’s baby was conceived by the Spirit. The angel told Joseph to name the child Jesus, for He would save us from our sins. And Joseph was to take Mary home as his (engaged) wife. The Father had now told Joseph the secret of His Son becoming man to save us. Joseph now knew along with Mary, Elizabeth and the baby John in her womb.

*But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" --which means, "God with us." When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. Matt 1:20-25 NIV+

 

Luke clearly tells us that when Joseph took Mary to Bethlehem to be registered she was still engaged to him, they had not been married.

Our Heavenly Father designed the Jewish engagement customs for the birth of Jesus. It was customary for a man and woman to be engaged to each other for a period of time before they were married, often a year. The engaged husband could bring his engaged wife home to live with him until they were married, though they were not to have sexual relations.

*in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. Lk 2:5 NASB+

 

Because the engaged couple was bound together as man and wife with a contract, they were often called husband and wife though they had not yet been married. Matthew calls Joseph, Mary’s husband, before they were married in Matt 1:19; the same way he refers to Joseph taking Mary as his wife, when she was actually his engaged wife in Matt 1:24.

*And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. Matt 1:19 ESV+

*When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, Matt 1:24 ESV+

 

Mary was pregnant because the Holy Spirit conceived Jesus in the womb of Mary; Joseph was not the father of Jesus. Yet Mary was accepted within the Jewish community, for she had been pledged to Joseph, and was living with him as his engaged wife. Mary and Joseph were probably married in Jerusalem after her purification from having a son was completed. Joseph was a righteous man and would not have sexual relations with Mary until after they were married; which was after Jesus was born.

*But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, [made] of a woman, born under the law, Gal 4:4 NKJV+

*But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. Matt 1:20-25 NIV+

 

Bethlehem is where the Messiah, Jesus, would be born, as prophesized by Micah. The Heavenly Father used a Roman census to bring Joseph and Mary to the town of Bethlehem. Joseph and his betrothed wife Mary were both descendants of King David, both were required to register at David’s birth place in Bethlehem.

*"But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity." Mi 5:2 NASB+

*And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. Lk 2:1-5 NKJV+

 

Jesus Birth - The Day of Atonement, Tishri (Sept/Oct) 10th 5BC

The Day of Atonement was the only day of the year God would come down in the Temple at Jerusalem to be with His people. He would annually come into the Holy of Holies of the Temple and there forgive the sins of Israel. The spiritual significance of this being the holiest day of the Jewish year, and the only day God came down to man; foreshadows the Day of Atonement as the day Jesus was born.

*The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the Lord." You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God.  Lev 23:26-28 NASB+.  

*and the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat that is on the ark, so that he may not die. For I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat. Lev 16:2 ESV+

 

Tishri was the 7th month of the Jewish Sabbatical (religious) year (Nisan the first), yet it was the first calendar month of the Jewish secular year. The Day of Atonement was celebrated on Tishri 10, and was followed by the Feast of Gathering (Tabernacles) from Tishri 15-22, which all Jewish men were required to attend by the ceremonial law. These fall celebrations were celebrated at the end of the harvest season, which made it a good time for the Roman census to be taken. The people would not be as busy, and would have money from their crops to pay for any taxes levied.

Joseph would take Mary, register them as required by the Roman censes in Bethlehem, and then attend the Feast of Tabernacles at Jerusalem; which God required him to attend. He also planned to remain in the Jerusalem area until the ceremonial requirements for Mary and Jesus, which had to be done at the temple in Jerusalem, were completed. Joseph being a carpenter could find some odd jobs, and this would be easier, less trouble, them making an additional trip between Nazareth and Jerusalem.

The trip from Nazareth to Jerusalem would take around 4 days; and another half day to Bethlehem. But with Mary being very close to giving birth, it would take a little more time to complete this trip.

*So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Lk 2:6-7 NKJV+

 

We do not know how the situation was created, but we know what the situation was. Joseph and Mary had traveled to Bethlehem on Tishri 9, on the day before the Day of Atonement. At sundown, the special Sabbath of the Day of Atonement Tishri 10, 5BC would begin, and all of its strict ceremonial laws would have to be observed. All were to pray and praise God for forgiving their sins, and they were to fast, not eat on this day; except the children, and women who were in labor or had just given birth. No one was to work, and business could not even be discussed; including renting a house or to secure lodging. Virtualreligion.net/iho/Sabbath.html  155 - 21

 

The inn was full of those who came to eat a good meal before they had to fast as sundown, and they would need a room to live in until the special Sabbath was over. It probably included many who had come to register for the census. Mary and Joseph were stranded in Bethlehem, Mary had probably started labor without a place to stay; and it would be hard to find lodging until the special Sabbath was over. The inn keeper could only offer them a stable, where animals’ hay was kept and fed to the animals in a manger.

*You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath." Lev 23:31-32 NIV+

*And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Lk 2:1-7 KJV

 

On the Day of Atonement two goats would be offered up yearly to forgive the sins of all believers. The first goat would be slaughtered, his blood offered up as a sacrifice. The second goat would have the blood of the sacrificed animals put on it, would have the sins of the world put on its head. This goat would then be under the care of a man, who would release it in the desert. This would allow the goat to carry the sins of all into a solitary place.

*Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. He is to cast lots for the two goats--one lot for the Lord and the other for the scapegoat. Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the Lord and sacrifice it for a sin offering. But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat. Lev 16:7-10 NIV+

*"When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites--all their sins--and put them on the goat's head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert. Lev 16:20-22 NIV+

 

Jesus was released from His mother’s womb on that quiet, holy night. He would be under the care of His Heavenly Father, until He would come out of the desert to begin His ministry. Jesus would have all the sins of the world placed upon Him when He was crucified upon the cross. He would physically die, His spiritual being taking all of our sins, all the sins which have or ever will be committed, and depositing them in a solitary place, in the Abyss. Then Jesus arose from the dead to sit at the right hand of God, interceding for us. Sacrifices are not needed any more, only faith in the atoning grace of our Savior’s death upon the cross for our sins. What Spiritually Happened on the Cross  

*But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Heb 10:3-4 NKJV+

*Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Heb 10:9-10 NIV+

 

The Father’s plan for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem in a stable had been completed. Jesus would always be symbolically tied with the lamb. Lamb was a term that could refer to either a young sheep or goat. An animal which was continually sacrificed to remove sins, in anticipation of a Savior who would die once to forgive all believers’ sins forever. Jesus would be born where they were born, for He would replace all of them, including the Passover lamb and the scapegoat.

*'Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Ex 12:5 NASB+

 

*And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Lk 2:8-12 NIV+

The shepherds usually would have been spread out in the fields with their flocks. But this night they would have gathered the sheep together early, probably at a site close to town. For on the Day of Atonement they could not do any work, except feed bundled hay to the sheep. They would have done all of their other chores before sundown, while they were still allowed to work. They would have just eaten a large meal before sundown, before the fast would begin, to hold them over to the next day.

When the angel of the Lord appeared to them they were probably gathered together around a campsite, which was reasonably close to town and the stable where Jesus was born (no one could walk any more than 500 yards without breaking ceremonial laws). The angel simply announced that Christ, which means Messiah or the Anointed One, had been born.  We do not know how many shepherds there were, but they were scared at the appearance of the angel. The shepherds were poor, of lowly status, and deemed undesirable by the prominent. Yet Jesus came to save the poor, the downtrodden, He would become the great Shepherd. Now besides Mary, Elizabeth, the baby John, and Joseph; a few shepherds also knew that Jesus our Savior was born this night.

 

*And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"  Lk 2:13-14 NKJV+

Then there was a multitude of angels who spoke words of praise to God, wished peace to all on earth. The angels did not sing, but made the greatest announcement ever, and then disappeared back into the heavenly realms. There was not a great show in the heavens above, nor did the angels physically appear at or over the stable, to either Mary or Joseph, or to anyone else; though there would always be angels spiritually watching over Jesus. For if there were reliable, respected people close by who would then see this great event, the news would come back to Christ’s enemies. King Herod, the leaders of the Sanhedrin, would hear of it, putting a Babe born in a manager at risk.

 

*When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us." So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them. Lk 2:15-20 NASB+

God’s plan of salvation would always be first for the Jew, then the gentile. These Jewish shepherds would be the first to come and worship Jesus, the first to announce that the Messiah had been born. Ceremonial laws would allow them to walk to town, for their campsite was within 500 yards, approximately 1/3 mile of the town’s boundaries; though shepherds did not always strictly obey ceremonial laws. They might have told the story to family, friends, possibly at the inn, or just announced it out loud as they walked through the empty streets. There would not be many people around or accepting company on a special Sabbath. But those who heard it, wondered about what was said. Yet because it was the Day of Atonement, a time of praying and praising God, and at night, no one would venture out to the manger to see if it was true.

Joseph would quickly move his family the next day at dusk when the Sabbath was over (remember Jewish days started around 6 PM our time); to get away from the confines of a dirty stable, as the darkness of night approached. Those in the town would not come out to look for the Baby the shepherds told them about until after they had eaten a dinner that night, hungry from the previous day of fasting. They would miss them if they looked after dark; and mostly likely did not look for them until the light of the next day; when the family had already found a new house to live in. Since no one found Mary, Joseph and the babe, they would believe this was just a tale the shepherds had made up. No one took the shepherds’ story very seriously, and Jesus’ enemies did not even hear about it. It was not yet time for the nation of Israel to know about the Messiah, the King who had come.  

 

Note: The Jewish day began and ended at sundown in the evening. This is around 6 hours ahead of our time, our day beginning and ending at midnight. Jesus was born in the early evening for the shepherds to be able to tell others about what they had seen, before everyone would be sleeping. This is why Jesus was born on our Christmas Eve, for he was probably born very early in the evening, around 7-9 PM. The beginning of the Day of Atonement would begin at sunset, around 6 PM. This would be the eve of the night before we celebrate Christmas, as Christmas Day starts at midnight, 12 AM.

 

The Father gave Jesus earthly parents who obeyed His laws. Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day and presented to the Lord at the temple in Jerusalem on the fortieth day, when Mary’s ceremonial cleansing was completed. These ceremonial laws, though out of Jesus’ control as a baby, would have to be kept or Jesus would have become unrighteous, sinful. (Ceremonial laws completed after Mary purified, 7 days unclean then 33 days to be purified = 40 days.)

*On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived. When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” Lk 2:21-24 NIV+

*The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, ‘If a woman conceives and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days. As at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. Then she shall continue for thirty-three days in the blood of her purifying. She shall not touch anything holy, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying are completed. Lev 12:1-4 ESV+

 

When Jesus was presented at the temple, God’s promise to Simeon was completed; the Spirit guided Simeon to recognize the Messiah, who would bring salvation to believers. Jesus was also revealed to Anna, a faithful prophetess who thanked God for the child who would redeem Jerusalem. Though because Simeon and Anna were very old, their knowledge was not readily accepted by others; now a few more Jewish believers knew about the Messiah.

*So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, Lk 2:27-31 NKJV+

*and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Lk 2:37-38 NIV+

 

Simeon prophesied that Jesus would bring salvation to both Israel and the Gentiles; which amazed His parents. 

*Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” Lk 2:29-32 KJV

*And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. Lk 2:33 NASB+

 

We do not know when the Magi came following a star to find and worship the new King. It would be before King Herod died in the spring of 4 BC, around 6 months after Christ’s birth, for he met with the Magi. And it would have to be after the 40 day period needed for Mary to be purified and Jesus to be presented at the Temple in Jerusalem. This leaves a 4 to 5 month period between November 5BC and March 4BC in which the Magi came. 

*“‘And when the days of her purifying are completed, whether for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting a lamb a year old for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering, Lev 12:6 ESV+

*Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him."  Matt 2:1-2 NASB+

 

When the Magi came to King Herod looking for the baby who had been born as the King of the Jews; Herod was troubled, he would give up his crown to no one. Herod deceived the Magi by asking for the location of the baby when they found him, so he could worship the new King; when he really wanted to kill Jesus. Herod got all the information he could from the Magi, including the exact time the star appeared to them; in case he would have to search out and kill this new King on his own. Herod would later kill all baby boys in Bethlehem born after the date this star appeared to the Magi.

*When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Matt 2:3 NKJV+

*Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him. Matt 2: 7-8 NASB+

 

A star which only the Magi, who were Gentiles, could see led them to Jesus. It could have been a special star created by the Father for only the Magi to see, or because the Magi were astronomers it could be a star only they would recognize. But either way a star led them to Jesus, and they found the Babe they were looking for.

*When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. Matt 2:9 NKJV+

 

The Magi came into the house where the baby Jesus was, and were the first Gentiles to believe in Him. Simeon’s prophesy become a reality; Jesus was “a light to lighten the Gentiles”; and the Magi, though gentiles, fell down on their knees and worshipped Jesus as their Savior and King. God’s grace would always be first for the Jews, and then the Gentiles.

*And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. Matt 2:ptn11 NKJV+

*I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. Ro 1:16

 

We know there were at least two Magi, but the exact number is unknown. There were probably more magi needed along with servants to travel this great distance; a trip which took up to 2 years. The expensive gifts the Magi gave Jesus were symbolic. Gold was given because Jesus was our King; frankincense because He would become our priest; and myrrh because His death would save us from our sins. These gifts would be sold to cover the expenses this family would have when they had to flee into Egypt to save Jesus.

The Magi were warned by God to go back home by a different route to avoid King Herod; avoid giving him information about Jesus. The Magi would bring their knowledge of the new King back to the Gentile world in the east; who would have to wait until the Apostle Paul came to hear the good news of Christ’s grace.

*Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way. Matt 2:ptn11-12 NASB+

 

After the Magi had left, the Lord warned Joseph in a dream to bring his family into Egypt, to avoid being killed by King Herod. This would fulfill the prophecy of Hosea, that Jesus would be called out of Egypt by His Father. 

*Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him." When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, "Out of Egypt I called My Son.” Matt 2:13-15 NKJV+

 

Because the Magi avoided King Herod, his only option to destroy the new born King was to kill all male children 2 years and younger in the Bethlehem area; which covered the time the Magi first saw the star which brought them to Jerusalem. This evil deed would fulfill Jeremiah’s prophesy of mothers’ weeping for their lost children. Herod and his advisers believed they killed this new King in the Bethlehem slaughter. All who would follow Herod as king, would always be enemies of Jesus; never knowing He was the new born King born from Bethlehem, who they thought they had killed. 

*When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." Matt 2:16-18 NIV+

 

An angel told Joseph when it was safe for the family to return from Egypt to Israel. But since a son of Herod was now ruling, God warned Joseph in a dream to take his family to the city of Nazareth instead. Jesus would return from obscurity in Egypt to obscurity in Nazareth, where He safely lived until it was time for His ministry to begin. Where He would incorrectly be known as a son of Joseph, and be called a Nazarene. 

*But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child's life are dead."  Matt 2:19-20 NKJV+

*But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Then after being warned by God in a dream, he left for the regions of Galilee and came and lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: "He shall be called a Nazarene." Matt 2:22-23 NASB+

 

Mary and Joseph would always know that Jesus was the Son of God. Yet there were few other people who knew this when Jesus was a child, as He matured into a man; not even His brothers believed Jesus was God. This was done by design, for the Father wanted to protect His Son, until it was time for Him to be presented to the world. This would happen when John ceremonially washed Jesus to begin His ministry, the Holy Spirit then anointed Him, and our Heavenly Father announced Jesus as His Son, with whom He was well pleased. All who heard now knew Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Son of God who had become man to save us.

*He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. Jn 1:10 KJV

*For not even his brothers believed in him. Jn 7:5 ESV+

*and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”  Lk 3:22 ESV+

 

Today at Christmas time we celebrate our God’s great love for us, the miracle of the Son of God becoming man to save us. We do this proudly by praising and thanking our God, by singing beautiful carols about the great gift He gave us, His only Son Christ the Lord. We pass this great gift on to others, by telling them about our great God, how much He loves us, to what extremes He was willing to go to save us. As we love all others as we love ourselves, always helping the needy, and not just at Christmas time.

 

And then quietly, individually, thank our Savior. Praying, mediating, and just talking with Jesus. Who became our eldest brother to save us from our sins, so He could bring us to Paradise, to live with Him forever.  

*This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 1Jn 4:9 NIV+

*For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, Heb 2:11 ESV+

 

*Dates – see Jesus Born Tishri 10, 5BC – Died Nissan 14, 30AD

 

     Our Time                    Jewish Calendar

(June/July) 6BC -- Around Tammuz 15th 3755 John the Baptizer is conceived, about 6 plus months before Jesus (9 month gestation).

 

(Sept/Oct) 6BC -- Tishri 1 3756 A new Jewish calendar year begins

 

(Dec/Jan) 6/5BC -- Around Tevet 10th 3756 Jesus is conceived in Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit (9 month gestation).

 

(March/April) 5BC -- Around Nisan 15th 3756 John was born.

 

(Sept/Oct) 5BC -- Tishri 1 3757 A new Jewish calendar year begins

 

(Sept/Oct) 5BC -- Day of Atonement Tishri 10th 3757 Jesus was born.

 

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Copyright 2009 revised 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 by Ron Borkey

+ ESV “Scripture quotations marked [ESV] are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version,” copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good New Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

+ NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE (1995 Update) Copyright © 1981, 1998 The Lockman Foundation, A Corporation Not for Profit, La Habra, California. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

+ NIV Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

+ NKJV "Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

Some words in the verses from these Bibles may be emphasized with bold letters.