Bible Stories for Adults
Jesus Is Born
Welcome and Announcements
Next Week - The Presentation of Jesus (Luke 2:21-38)
What Year Was Jesus Born? (Luke 2:1-2)
In 525 AD, Pope John I asked Dionysius (a Scythian monk) to prepare a calendar
Saw Jesus' birthday as December 25, 753 AUC (anno urbis conditae) = yr of Rome
When does Luke say that Jesus was born? = Augustus was first Roman emperor
Dionysius selected January 1, 754 AUC to be January 1, 1 AD (anno domini)
Luke 2:1 = During reign of Caesar Augustus (44BC-19AD)
What does Matthew add that helps narrow down the date?
Matthew 2:1 (Luke 1:5) = Herod was king of Jews (40BC-4BC)
What other timemark does Luke give to narrow the date? = Same before as John 1:15
Luke 2:2 = Before Quirinius (Cyrenius) was governor of Syria (3-2BC & 6-7AD)
What event best nails down the precise date of Jesus' birth?
Luke 2:1-2 = A census of the entire Roman world
Historical records show that a census was taken every 14 years, One was known in 6AD
Counting back leads to 8BC = Would have taken a few years to reach Palestine
Herod disfavored by Augustus in 8-7BC, executed 2 sons in 7BC, serious health problems
Historians believe Palestine census would have been pushed to 6-4BC
Other details further narrow to late 5BC or early 4BC, some say 6BC
What Day Was Jesus Born? (Galatians 4:4)
First known mention of December 25 is by Hippolytus (165-235AD)
Confirmed as correct by Chrysostom (345-407AD) in 386AD
Some feel winter date is wrong because sheep were typically penned up November - March
Luke 2:8 = Shepherds attended flocks at night
Others don't see conflict because:
Could have been a mild winter, shepherds would have been outside with sheep
Not for certain that sheep were brought under cover during winter
Sheep were brought in from wilderness during winter, around Bethlehem fits
Only 6 miles south of Jerusalem, Bethlehem shepherds raised sheep for sacrifices
Sheep were in fields at least 30 days before Passover (as early as February)
What is the importance of when Jesus was born?
Galatians 4:4 = In the fullness of time, God sent His Son ...
The Census (Luke 2:1-3)
Rome law: Whoever has property in another city must deliver his tax declaration in that city.
In Palestine, many had ownership in property of "patriarchal houses"
What resulted in Palestine from this part of the Roman census law?
Romans surveyed & valued property, registered & verified owners, taxed accordingly
Luke 2:3 = Everyone went to his own town to register, time to verify credentials
Bethlehem (Luke 2:4-5) = Bethlehem means house of bread
Who specifically was affected by this need to travel to be registered?
Luke 2:4 = Joseph went from Nazareth to Bethlehem (72 miles, 3 days)
What did Joseph being of the line of David have to do with going to Bethlehem?
1 Samuel 17:12 = David was from Bethlehem
Who went with Joseph to be officially registered as property owner?
Ruth 1:22; 4:13, 17 = David's great grandparents, Boaz & Ruth, from Bethlehem
Luke 2:5 = Mary, Joseph's pregnant fiancee'
Why was it an important part of God's eternal plan that Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem?
Micah 5:2 = Prophesy that Messiah would come from Bethlehem (David's town)
Why does Micah refer to the town as Bethlehem Ephrathah? = Ephrathah means fruitful
Genesis 35:19 = It was called Ephrath during Jacob's time, Rachel buried there
Why was it important that Mary was only pledged to be married and not married to Joseph?
Matthew 1:18-25 = Prophesy that Messiah would be born of a virgin, no union
The Birth (Luke 2:6-7)
After getting the pregnant mother of His Son to Bethlehem, what does God bring about?
Luke 2:6 = Mary goes into labor
What royal and special treatment did God's only Son receive upon birth?
Luke 2:7 = Poor, cast out conditions, no room or bed, just a feeding trough
Did this change after Jesus was revealed as the Messiah?
Matthew 8:20 = No, the Son of Man has no place to lay His head
Why was this important?
2 Corinthians 8:9 = For your sakes he became poor, so ... you might become rich
Philippians 2:5-8 = Made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant ...
Khan (caravansary) - Square, single-story building with open, unfurnished recesses
Traveler brought his own carpet, food, water; Paid little for shelter
Swaddling cloths - Strips of cloth wrapped around a baby like a mummy
Leewans (recesses) provided on first-come, first-served basis
Late-comers could stay with animals penned in back of khan, often in caves
Intended to straighten body from fetal position & keeps arms & legs from flailing
How widely were swaddling cloths used?
Ezekiel 16:4-5 = Not having been wrapped was a sign of neglect & being unloved
The First to Hear (Luke 2:8)
What important people did God select to first learn about the Messiah's birth?
Luke 2:8 = Uneducated, unclean, smelly shepherds living in field tents, night shift
Had God ever shown His grace to anyone like these before? = Unworthy to be presented by Jesse
1 Samuel 16:11-12 = He chose another Bethlehem shepherd, David, as great king
What other group of people did God call to see the newborn Messiah?
Matthew 2:1-2 = Wise men from the east, Intelligent & blessed, but not Jews
What point does God's selection make?
Revelation 5:9 = Jesus was sent to save all types of people
The Glory of the Lord (Luke 2:9)
How was the shepherd's normally quiet and boring night interrupted?
Luke 2:9 = An angel appeared and the glory of the Lord shone around them
How had God revealed His glory in the past?
Exodus 40:34-35 = Filled the temple as a cloud, people couldn't enter
How long had it been since the glory of the Lord had been revealed?
Ezekiel 10:4, 18-19; 11:22-23 = Ezekiel saw it leave the temple 500 years earlier
Besides being startled, why were the shepherds afraid of what they saw?
Exodus 33:20 = No one may see me and live
The Message (Luke 2:10-14)
After calming the shepherds, who did the angel say he had a message for?
Luke 2:10 = Good news of great joy that will be for all the people
What was this great news?
Luke 2:11 = The promised Messiah has been born today in Bethlehem
What names did the angel give Jesus that defined who He was? = Write names on board
Titus 3:5-7 = Savior - Saved us to be justified by His grace for eternal life
John 1:41, 45 = Christ (Messiah) - The one God promised, The Anointed One
John 20:28 = Lord - God, ruler, king
How would the shepherds know they weren't just hallucinating from the sheep smells?
Luke 2:12 = The angel gave a sign - A baby wrapped in cloths lying in a manger
How were all of the other angels in heaven able to hold themselves back at this great time?
Luke 2:13-14 = They couldn't, they all joined in praising God
The Sign (Luke 2:15-16)
Did the shepherds stay with the sheep and try to figure out what they had seen?
Luke 2:15-16 = No, they left the sheep & hurried off and found the angel's sign
Was it surprising that the shepherds were able to find the baby they were seeking?
Matthew 7:7-8 = Seek and you will find
The First Evangelists (Luke 2:17-20)
After seeing Jesus, did the shepherds remember their sheep and go back to them?
Luke 2:17 = No, they spread the word
How did Peter later explain why those who have received Jesus must spread the news?
Acts 4:20 = We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard
How was this strange message from the shepherds received?
Luke 2:18-19 = All who heard it were amazed, Mary treasured & pondered them
After running throughout Bethlehem, did the shepherds finally go check on their sheep?
Luke 2:20 = Yes, they returned to their responsibility & praised God
The shepherds give us the following sequence on responding to God's gospel (good news):
Heard, Believed, Obeyed, Received, Testified, Rejoiced, Praised
Copyright © 1997 by Kurt Rosenhagen
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