It will come as a surprise to many people to learn the true facts about the birth of Jesus. The problem with the teaching of men is the changes that take place over time that go unnoticed and unheeded by what is real truth. There are many people who believe Jesus was born on December 25 in a manger with shepherds and three wise men surrounding Him with a star shining above. Nothing is more foreign to the truth or the real story of what the Bible tells of the birth of Christ.
What are the facts about the birth of Jesus according to the WORD OF GOD?
- The birth of Jesus is announced to Joseph in Matthew 1 and to Mary in Luke 1.
- The birth of Jesus is found in Matthew 1 and Luke 2.
- An angel of the Lord announces to the shepherds the birth of Jesus the same night of His birth (Luke 2:8-14).
- The shepherds visit Jesus in the manger the same night of His birth (Luke 2:15-20).
- The “star” is not present at the manger.
- Eight days later Jesus is circumcised according to the Law of Moses (Luke 2:21).
- At least 32 days later (40 days following birth – Leviticus 12:2-6), Jesus is presented at the Temple and an offering of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons is given by Joseph and Mary (Luke 2:22-24).
- Jesus is presented to Simeon and witnessed by Anna at the Temple (Luke 2:25-38).
- Almost two years later wise men from the East come looking for Jesus – first going to Jerusalem inquiring of Herod – then journeying to Bethlehem (five miles from Jerusalem) to “the HOUSE, they saw the young Child” (Matthew 2:1-12).
- The “star” comes “over where the young Child was” – the house where Joseph and Mary are with Jesus (Matthew 2:9).
- We do not know how many wise men came to see Jesus. We do not know their names or their nationality. They brought gifts. (Matthew 2:11)
- Joseph is warned in a dream to go to Egypt by an angel of the Lord (Matthew 2:13-15). The gifts from the wise men would help make this journey possible. He 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.’”
- Herod massacres all the male children from two years old and under in Bethlehem “according to the time which he had determined from the wise men” (Matthew 2:16-18).
- Following the death of Herod, Joseph takes Mary and Jesus to Nazareth (Matthew 2:19-23; Luke 2:39-40).
- At the age of twelve, Jesus goes with Joseph and Mary to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover and amazes the scholars with his knowledge. Joseph and Mary find Him three days later (Luke 2:41-50).
- “Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:51-52).
- Jesus had four brothers born of Joseph and Mary (James, Joses, Judas and Simon) and at least two sisters (Mark 6:3)
- Jesus begins His ministry at the age of thirty (Luke 3:23).
The Lord does not reveal when Jesus was born. It was likely in spring but the Bible does not reveal his birthday or the year of His birth. Christ was born somewhere between 7 B.C. and 4 B.C. Herod (Matthew 2:3,16) died in 4 B.C. and Jesus was born during his reign. Ferrell Jenkins writes, “It is impossible to keep Christ in Christ-Mass for He was never in it. The Catholic Church dreamed that up all by themselves without the help of Christ, and I might add, without His approval.” Should we hold to traditions of men instead of God’s word? Jesus said, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition” (Mark 7:6-9)!
John wrote a warning at the end of the Revelation that is true for the rest of the Bible. It is a warning given by the Lord under the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 4:2). Does it matter if we tell the story of Jesus’ birth correctly? Can we worship in a manner that is not found in Scripture? “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).
The birth of Jesus is a most wonderful story that we should tell every day of the year. Without the manger there would be no cross but without the cross there would be no hope (Romans 6; 1 Corinthians 15). God shows us His power in the birth of Jesus and He shows us His will in the teachings of Jesus. Of the four gospels a small fraction pertains to His birth: proving Jesus was the Messiah of promise (Matthew) and showing Him to be as Adam in the flesh (Luke). Jesus came for men to worship Him in His death and the glory of His resurrection. May we honor Jesus as “Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).