Bible Stories for Adults
Jesus is Born
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Next Week - God Calls Moses (Exodus 3-4)
Bible Words to Remember:
And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger. Luke 2:7
When Was Christ Born? (Luke 2:1-3)
What was Luke's purpose in writing his gospel?
Luke 1:1-4 = To accurately record the facts surrounding Jesus
With what facts does Luke begin the story of Jesus' birth?
Luke 2:1-3 = Caesar Augustus (27BC-14AD) ordered census, Quirinius - governor of Syria
Caius Octavius - Grandnephew of Julius Caesar, 19 when Julius Caesar was killed (44 BC)
Fought against Mark Antony for 14 yrs to take over, Won at Mark Antony's suicide
Quirinius (Kyrinios in Greek, Cyrenius in English) - Governor of Syria 6-4 BC and 6-9 AD
Given title Augustus in 27 BC (undertaken under favorable auguries or well-omened)
Brought time of peace called Pax Romana, ruled until 14 AD
Census in 6 AD led to revolts in Galilee, No record of census during early reign
What do the other gospels say about when Jesus was born?
John 1:1-3 = In the beginning Jesus was with God & was God
Herod the Great - Ruled Judea 37-4 BC, Could have conducted census mentioned by Luke
Mark 1:9 = Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee
Matthew 2:1 = During the time of King Herod
Jesus was therefore born between 6 and 4 BC, not 1 AD
Dyonisius Exiguus - Roman theologian around 500 AD
Said Jesus was born in 753 AUC (Ab Urbe Condita - From the founding of Rome)
Widely accepted, 1 AD (Anno Domini - Year of our Lord) equated with 753 AUC
Now understood to be 4-6 years off, Theologians range from 12 to 2 BC
What day was Jesus born?
Dec 25? = Some say May 14 or Oct 25 - Sheep not in open Nov-Mar
Saturnalia - 3 to 7-day winter festival in honor of Saturn, Roman god of agriculture
Celebrated at winter solstice (days grow longer) = 12/25 on old Roman calendar, 12/21 now
Mithraism (sun-worship) celebrated 12/25 as the birthday of the sun
Roman Catholics began ~330 AD celebrating 12/25 as the birthday of the Son
When do we celebrate Jesus' birth?
Dec 25 - Protestant & Catholic, Jan 6 - Eastern Orthodox, Jan 19 - Armenian
Christmas - Christ + Mass = Religious service (mass) celebrating the Christ
In the Fullness of Time (Galatians 4:4-5) - Bethel Picture
Was Jesus born at a randomly chosen time?
Galatians 4:4-5 = No. In the fullness of time ...
Sword = World brought together by conquests of Alexander the Great
Greek Pillar = Cultural barriers removed by spread of Hellenism (Greek thought)
Greek Letters = Common language allowed unhindered communications
Golden Eagle = Roman rule & unity eliminated power struggles
Manuscript = Hebrew Promises and Dispersions
White Flag = People lived without fear under the Pax Romana (Roman Peace)
Roads and Coliseum = Network of roads for army provided easy travel
Promises = Jews longed for the coming of the promised Messiah
Three Figures = Mankind desperately needed God's intervention
Dispersions = Earlier exiles carried the Hebrew message throughout the world
Clasped Hands = Foreign gods & philosophy led to spiritual confusion
Bowed Head = Roman way of life was filled with moral corruption
Upraised Arms = Many searched for decency & justice
O Little Town of Bethlehem (Luke 2:4-5)
Where did Joseph go to be registered in the census? = 72 miles, one week
Luke 2:4-5 = To Bethlehem of Judea (the town of David)
Why was Bethlehem called the town of David? = Also home of Ruth & Boaz
1 Samuel 16:1, 10-11, 13 = David was born, raised & anointed in Bethlehem
Why was it important for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem instead of Nazareth?
Micah 5:2-4 = Messiah was prophesied to come out of Bethlehem
Why does Micah call it Bethlehem Ephrathah?
Genesis 35:19 = Bethlehem had been called Ephrath (Rachel buried there)
How did this prophesy become a problem for people to Jesus as the Messiah (Christ)?
John 7:41-43 = They assumed Jesus had been born in Galilee
How was this town's blessing also its curse?
Matthew 2:16 = Herod ordered all Bethlehem area baby boys killed
Why was this event important? = Ramah (Samuel's home), Rachel (buried in B)
Matthew 2:17-18 = Fulfilled prophesy from Jeremiah
Herod the Great - Known for ruthless jealousy
Had favorite wife and three sons executed - Better to be one of Herod's pigs than his son
Ordered officials gathered & executed when he died to ensure people would mourn
They were released instead, leading to a great celebration
Bethlehem means house of bread. How is this significant?
John 6:35 = I am the bread of life.
Bread represents a basic necessity of life. How is Jesus our bread of life?
John 6:32-33 = the bread of God ... gives life to the world
No Room in the Inn (Luke 2:6-7)
What happened while Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem?
Luke 2:6-7 = She gave birth to Jesus, laid him in a manger
Why was there no room in the inn?
Luke 2:3 = Everyone went to his own town to register, City crowded
Birthing procedures in Jesus time:
Joseph's role = Jewish men didn't act as midwives
Mary's role = Jewish women were proud of delivering their own babies
Salt = Baby washed, then salt rubbed on body to prevent infection
Swaddling cloths = Restrained movements so arms & legs would grow straight & strong
Long linen strips = Tightly wound daily for first 6 months
Ezekiel 16:4-5 = Washing, salt & swaddling cloths by loving parents
The Royal Announcement (Luke 2:8)
How did the Jews expect their Messiah to arrive?
Isaiah 9:6-7 = In majesty & power as a king
How did God plan to bring His promised Savior?
Zechariah 9:9 = In humility and gentleness -- laid him in a manger
To whom did the Jews expect the Messiah to be revealed?
Matthew 2:1-2 = Kings, royalty, nobles, Pharisees, priests, ...
To whom was the Messiah first proclaimed? = Jesus is the Good Shepherd
Luke 2:8 = Shepherds, a lower class of society (came for sinners, not the righteous)
Shepherds Tending Flocks by Night (Luke 2:9-20)
What surprised the shepherds as they tended their flocks at night?
Luke 2:9 = An angel appeared with the glory of the Lord, they were terrified
What did the angel say to calm their fears?
Luke 2:10-11 = Don't be afraid. I bring good news, the Messiah has been born
How did an angel calm fears after Jesus' rebirth (resurrection)?
Mark 16:6-7 = Don't be alarmed. He has risen. You will see him
How could the other angels restrain themselves at this great point of God's plan?
Luke 2:13-14 = They couldn't, a great company of angels joined & praised God
How would this baby bring peace to all men? = Christmas tree symbol of tree as cross
Colossians 1:19-20 = Reconciled all things, making peace thru His blood on a cross
How would the shepherds find this Savior?
Luke 2:12 = The baby will be wrapped & lying in a manger
How much attention did the shepherds give their sheep after seeing the angels?
Luke 2:15-16 = None, they hurried off and found them
How much attention did the shepherds give their sheep after seeing Jesus?
Luke 2:17-19 = None, they spread the word
Did the shepherds ever return to their sheep?
Luke 2:20 = Yes, but they continued glorifying & praising God
God's Promises (2 Samuel 7:12-13)
What promise to David did this birth fulfill?
2 Samuel 7:12-13 = Raise up offspring & establish His kingdom forever
What other promises has God kept to His people?
Genesis 9:8, 11 = Promise to Noah not to destroy all life with flood
Genesis 17:5-6 = Promise to Abraham of many descendants & kings
Genesis 35:11-12 = Promise to Israel of descendants & land
Does God always keep His promises?
Psalm 145:13b = The Lord is faithful to all His promises.
Through whom does God fulfill His promises?
2 Corinthians 1:20 = All God's promises are "Yes" in Christ
What promises has God made to us?
Psalm 34:19 = Deliver us from our troubles
Psalm 34:18 = Close to the brokenhearted, save the crushed in spirit
John 14:2 = I am going there to prepare a place for you
Mark 11:24 = Whatever you pray for, believe...and it will be yours
Jeremiah 31:3 = He loves us with everlasting love
Copyright © 1997 by Kurt Rosenhagen
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