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Jesus' Birth as told by Luke                                                                    Lesson 7

Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus – Luke 2:1-20

 1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register. 4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." 15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." 16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.


Four thoughts to take away from Luke 2:1-7 

  • Jesus was a historical person.
    • Jesus is mentioned not only in the New Testament, but by contemporaries such as Josephus, Pliny, Tacitus, Suetonius, Bar-Serapion, Thallus, Lucian, and the Talmud. Note that Tacitus, Bar-Serapion and Thallus were Gentile historians that were against Christianity and even they testified that there was one called Christ that lived in Palestine and died under Pontius Pilate.
    • It was announced in the November-December 2002 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review that a First Century ossuary (bone burial box) had been found and that it appeared to bear the name of Jesus' brother James, as well as Jesus' own name.
    • We talked about those in power at the time of Jesus birth and how the Bible matches the time tables of other historical documents and finds.
  • Jesus was born in David's birthplace as was prophesied.
    • "Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever" (2 Samuel 7:16).
    • 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)
  • Jesus' birth is attended by hardship.
    • Nazareth is a three or four day journey from the northern section of Israel where it is located to the region of Galilee in Judea where Bethlehem lies. Since Mary and Joseph were both from the house of David, the trip would have to be made even through it was winter and Mary was pregnant.
  • Jesus was born among the people in circumstance that were not out of the ordinary for this time period.


Special Note: Bethlehem means “House of Bread”


Thought to Ponder

Why did Jesus come as a newborn baby?


The Jews of the time of Jesus birth thought that the Messiah would be a great conqueror that was Joshua’s equal. They thought that he would posses the godliness of Moses with the charisma of David and the wisdom of Solomon. And ultimately, he would be someone who would wield the sword and bring vengeance on all those who wronged God’s people. However, Jesus came as a baby and would grow into manhood as part of humanity. He would be fully God and fully Human. He would bridge the gap that separated man from God. Luke 2:52 “He would grow in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.” Matthew 13:55-56 we see him as he begins his ministry with everyone doubting him, "He's just a carpenter's son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers - James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. All his sisters live right here among us"



Thought to Ponder

Would we have listened to him, would his story have been carried down through the ages if he wasn’t fully human?


By being fully human he would set an example to us as we would see him wrestle with temptation in the desert, experience the frustration with those that professed to be the righteous but did not understand the directions of God, and we would understand that anger would sometimes run away with our emotions as we saw him with the money changers. It would all culminate in his crucifixion as he paid the price for our sins. His death on the cross would demand that we either believe in Him or reject Him. So the early church did not celebrate Jesus’ birth only His death.


One additional note in favor of December 25th as the day of Jesus’ birth:

New Testament Scholar and Author, Daniel B. Wallace Ph.D. is a tenured professor at Dallas Theological Seminary had this to say about when Jesus was born: “The earliest mention that I have been able to find identifying the birth of Jesus as December 25th comes from a document entitled The Constitution of the Holy Apostles.  Modern scholars continue to debate the date when this early catechism of the Church was written.  The Constitution of the Holy Apostles is not as old as the Church document known as the Didache, meaning“The Teaching,”that was written between 50-100AD and which is acknowledged as the first catechism of the early Church.  Scholars agree that the Didache is the predecessor of the Constitution and the content of that ancient first catechism is, in fact, included within the eight books of the Constitution.  There is no doubt, however, that the Constitution of the Holy Apostles is an extremely ancient document written by the Fathers of the Church.  Most scholars agree that the first six books cannot be written later than the 300s and some scholars argue that it may have been written in the 200’s or even earlier.  In the ancient writings of the Church that have survived, it is frequently quoted and appears to have been an updating of the Didache as the official catechism of the universal Catholic Church—just as the Church recently updated the catechism by the publication of the Universal Catechism in 1994The Constitution of the Holy Apostles contains instructions on the celebration of the Holy Days.  Book V, section 3 of the Constitution of the Holy Apostles begins with the subject heading and then addresses the Holy Days including the celebration of the Lord’s birthday:  ON FEAST DAYS AND FAST DAYS:  A CATALOGUE OF THE FEASTS OF THE LORD WHICH ARE TO BE KEPT, AND WHEN EACH OF THEM OUGHT TO BE OBSERVED.  XIII. Brethren, observe the festival days; and first of all the birthday which you are to celebrate on the twenty-fifth of the ninth month….  The ancient date of the Constitution can be verified by the fact that its authors were still using the Jewish liturgical calendar.  The “ninth month” in the Old Covenant liturgical calendar is our December, since their liturgical year began with the spring equinox which fell in late March/ early April.”


9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

  • Three separate visits by the angels – Mary, Joseph, the shepherds – all declare that he will save his people.
  • Greek words in this passage:
    • “Christos” or Christ based on the Hebrew word for Messiah “Meshisach”
    • “Soter” meaning savior or one who saves
    • “Kurios” which is based on the Hebrew word “Adonai.” This word was used in the Old Testament for Yahweh.


Thought to Ponder:

Is the appearance to the shepherds that were keeping watch over the sacrificial flock a foreshadowing of Jesus’ purpose on this earth?


Click Here "Jesus Presented in the Temple" lesson 8.



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RCR Ministries was born out of a sincere desire to help all who seek God to find Him. It is our hope that by providing you with sound interpretation of the scriptures along with the historical background that you will gain a foundation of God's word that will lead you to a un-shakable personal relationship with him. A realtionship where by you will experience a steadfast confidence  in His love, compassion, and grace.  Learn More

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Before You Begin

Dear Heavenly Father,

Praise and glory to the one true Living God, the alpha and the omega. Holy, Holy, Holy is   your   name.   Thank   you Father, for your son Jesus Christ who redeemed us from our sins. And thank you for this day and everything you have brought to me. May my prayer rise to you as sweet incense from the alter. I ask that you guide me, Father, through your Word. Please open my heart and mind to recieve your word and please reveal your Holy Truth. Please dwell in me and help me to live each day of my life in keeping with your Word. In the Holy name of Jesus Christ, I pray and ask it. Amen.