Thursday- Week 3
Jesus’ Birth Luke 2:1-7
1And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.
2This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.
3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife,who was with child.
6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger,because there was no room for them in the inn.
What is the purpose of the details in verses 1-3?
[To establish the historical fact of Jesus’ birth- that it is not a myth. He was mentioned by contemporaries in extra-biblical sources as well (Josephus, Pliny, Tacitus, Suetonius, Thallus, Lucian, and the Talmud).*]
What is the significance of Joseph being from the house and lineage of David?
[Bethlehem --which, by the way, means ‘house of bread’-- was the birthplace of King David. The Saviour had to be born of the lineage of David per God’s promise to him (2 Samuel 7:16). However, since Joseph was not actually Jesus' father, his lineage was only important to their contemporaries. Mary was also of the lineage of David, and since the mother passes on the DNA, He inherited His genetic heritage from her. ]
What is the prophetic importance of Jesus being born in Bethlehem?
[The prophet Micah had predicted that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem-Ephrathah (Micah 5:2).]
In some translations, verse 5 in today's focal passage is rendered ‘betrothed wife’ as ‘espoused wife’ and others ‘pledged to be married to him.’ Matthew makes it clear that after the dream Joseph married Mary (Matthew 1:20, 24,l), thus they were married when Jesus was born. Although it is a popular supposition, there is no evidence that anyone ever suspected that Joseph was not Jesus' biological father. According to Jewish law, anyone born out of wedlock was forbidden to enter the temple. If anyone suspected that Jesus was not Joseph’s son, He would not be allowed to teach or even set foot in the temple (Deut. 23:2).
Why do you think Joseph took Mary with him to Bethlehem?
[Answers vary. Some think she had to be registered in Bethlehem too, being of the lineage of David; the Romans weren’t known for their compassion. Regardless, it was ultimately to fulfill the prophecy of Micah 5:2.]
Notice that verse 6 states, ‘while they were there,’ not ‘upon their arrival in Bethlehem.’ What does this tell us about the way we traditionally envision the events of that pivotal night?
[They may have been in Bethlehem for some time before Jesus’ birth—perhaps days or even weeks.]
It was a common Hebrew practice to wash a newborn, rub him in salt and wrap him in cloths (see Ezekiel 16:4).
According to verse 7, was there anything special about Jesus’ birth that would indicate His royal lineage or future? Why would He come in such a way?
[No. He came to fulfill scripture that He would be a suffering servant (Isaiah 53:2--see Saturday- Week 2) and humble (Zechariah 9:9). And so He came as humbly as any king ever could (Philippians 2:6-7).
It is a broadly held, but unfounded belief that Jesus was born in a cave or barn. This is due to a misconception about mangers and the design of homes in the ancient world.
This mistaken belief is furthered by the rendering of the Greek word for 'inn.' Click here: Was Jesus born in a stable? a cave? a barn? for a more detailed explanation of why the 'inn' was probably more likely an 'upper room' (like that prepared for the last supper) and why the manger would have been a downstairs room inside an ancestral home.
*There has been some controversy concerning Luke’s documentation in these verses, due to his reference to Quirinius as governor over Syria, at the time that Herod the Great was king. It is a well-documented fact that there was a census under Quirinius in AD 6, however, Herod the Great died in 4 BC. Obviously, Herod the Great was alive when Jesus was born (the massacre of the innocents), therefore some scholars have argued that Luke was incorrect in stating that Quirinius was governor during the time of Jesus’ birth.
See Holman Bible Dictionary: Quirinius for explanation and archaeological discovery that show Luke was correct.
Close in Prayer
The King of the universe chose to come into the world in the most humble of conditions and circumstances. He did this solely out of His unfathomable love for you and for me (Ephesians 3:18-19 NLT). If you doubt whether the Lord truly loves you, pray that He would reveal that truth to your heart, mind and spirit (Matt. 7:7-8). If you are a friend of God, having accepted His great sacrifice for you, pray that you will use whatever circumstances you find yourself in to bring glory to His name.
Make a Joyful Sound!
Choose a song from Songs for Advent-Week 3 or choose your own.