When was Jesus born? So many people want to know this question, which is amusing. We do, after all, celebrate Jesus' birthday on December 25th every year. Hmmmm, maybe the inquisitive crowd is onto something. Let's find out!
Please read Luke 2:1-40 before starting GraspingGod.com's free Bible study lessons, #1.18
Previous lesson: Fulfilled Prophecy #1.17
Preliminary Bible Study Questions:
1) Why was Jesus Christ born?
2) Where was Jesus born?
3) When was Christ born?
It seems funny that we're now talking about the Christ birth event after already discussing so much of Jesus' history. What I'm saying is that in our previous lessons we discovered that Christ was pre-existent.
Not only was he pre-existent, but he is eternal by nature - meaning he is above and beyond time and space. We've covered thousands of years of the history of Jesus Christ, and we're only now studying his birth?! Wow! What a God we have in Jesus! Grab a caramel macchiato and let's get started!
When was Jesus born? That's a great question, but let's first talk about why he was born.
God created man "good" and he was pure in his devotion to God. Man perfectly pleased God. Man could have chosen to obey God from the creation point and remained in perfect harmony with him. He had that kind of ability - we call it moral free will. Christ could have remained in his perfect heavenly form had that been the case. Unfortunately, it didn't happen and sin befell the human race. Sin is disobedience to God's will.
God demands an undefiled blood sacrifice for sin. We don't know why, he just demands a sacrifice for disobedience to appease his wrath. God used the animal sacrifice system for thousands of years, but it only temporarily appeased God's wrath.
God had a better, more permanent solution: He chose his only Son to come to earth, live a perfect life, and finally die and pay the penalty for human's sin. God's plan was a once-and-for-all human sacrifice.
One important aspect of the plan, though, is that sinners have to devote their lives to God to receive the forgiveness. Jesus in heaven agreed with the Father's plan, and the time for his human birth had come.
So, the most important reason Jesus was born a human, was to pay the cost for our sin. Jesus is our personal sacrifice for sin. Jesus was born to die, for you and for me.
Here is a partial list of additional, important reasons for the incarnation of Jesus Christ:
When was Jesus born? Well, good question, and we'll get to that in a minute. But, let's first talk about how he was conceived.
Remember back when we talked about mankind's original sin? You know, after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit? Since that day, every human has been born with a sin nature. That means people sin because they're born sinners.
God's plan could not and would not allow for a sinner to pay the sacrifice for mankind's sins. The sacrificial Lamb had to be holy and spotless, therefore, by-passing the man was the only way to accomplish this.
Since sin passes through the man's seed, God refused to allow a human father for his Son. Therefore, the Holy Spirit conceived the Christ in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Sin was therefore not passed on to the newly conceived Savior. Mary then carried the baby full term and gave birth to the holy Christ child - who was perfectly sinless.
When was Christ born? Excellent question, but let's first answer the question, "Where was Jesus born?"
We've always heard that Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem, haven't we? You guessed it - that's really not a biblical fact. He was laid in a feed trough, actually, because there wasn't room in the inn. Feed troughs were normally kept in caves at the time, so that is a more likely scenario for Jesus' birth.
Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, that part of the story is correct. Bethlehem is a small village that lies on the southern outskirts of Jerusalem. The town where Jesus was born should be no surprise because Micah predicted the exact location of Bethlehem around 720 years prior to his birth (Micah 5:2). Really!
The location of the birth of Jesus was announced hundreds of years prior. Jesus is so unique and wonderful - how could anyone pass on his offer for the forgiveness of sins?
I think we're finally ready to answer the question, "When was Jesus born?" I know you want to know so you can celebrate Jesus Christ's birthday. Well, I have some very sad news for you. He wasn't born on his birthday. Well, what I mean is that Jesus probably wasn't born on what we know of as Christmas Day.
The answer to the question, "When was Jesus born?" is a best-guess date of 4 B.C, give or take a year.
That date is based on several historical indicators. I won't bore you, just go with it. Alright, his month of birth was either January, July, September, or October, or one of the other eight months! We just don't know - I'm sorry! Nor do we have any indications of what day of the month he was born. His chance of being born on December 25th is about 1 in 365!
A group of theologians actually settled on December 25th as Jesus Christ's birthday back in the 4th Century A.D. Celebrating the nativity of Christ became popular and they needed a set date for Jesus' birthday. December 25th was the date they chose. On the day I wrote this lesson, Jesus' human life is 2,015 years of age and counting (since he rose from the dead and lives forever!). He is in his glorified body, so he doesn't have to worry about age catching up with him!
The Bible writers, being researchers and eyewitnesses themselves, such as Luke and Matthew, weren't too concerned about such details as exact dates and times. The Bible is written about the Good News of Jesus Christ (aka The Gospel). Jesus Christ offers salvation and he's not worried about celebrating his birthday. Don't get me wrong, celebrating Christmas isn't a bad thing, it's simply not a biblical mandate, by any means.
The writers weren't interested in biographical and encyclopedic information. They aren't Wikipedia writers nor historians. Don't forget the important fact that the Bible is God-breathed, as well. We aren't called to read the Bible as a fact book, although, it is 100% factual in its original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. We're instructed to read and study the Bible for the eternal, life-giving commands and principles that it teaches us.
Now you know the answer to the question, "When was Jesus born?" You can now celebrate his birthday with the rest of us around the world on December 25th every year. Even better, you can celebrate his resurrection every single day with the rest of us who know him personally!
Join the next lesson: The Life Of Jesus Christ #1.19
Bible Study Questions for When Was Jesus Born?
1) Can you think of more reasons why Jesus Christ was born a human?
2) Why did God require that the Christ child be born of a virgin, with the Holy Spirit as the biological father?
3) Why don't we know the exact date of the birth of Jesus Christ?
Inspirational Bible Verses:
'Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will over-shadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.'" Luke 1:34-35
This is real love - not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:10
Belief is a truth held in the mind; faith is a fire in the heart. J.F. Newton
Faith must always have an accompanying action. Diane Benze
Jesus Christ Quotes:
Of all the great sages and prophets throughout world history, Jesus alone claimed to be God-become-man. Luis Palau
Prayers of Thanksgiving:
Dear Lord, It's a joy celebrating your birthday on December 25th every year. Your arrival as the Christ child is truly worthy of all our praises. Thank you for giving up the riches of heaven for the terrors that humans and hell brought you. Because of your birth, life, death and resurrection, those who really love you can live forevermore! Thank you, Jesus! Amen.
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Special Note: I'm grateful to Big Book Media & Free Bible Images for the use of their photos for the When Was Jesus Born? study lesson. Thanks to Pastor Brett Owen for allowing use of this Youtube Video: