Jesus Christ’s Birth

Jesus Christ’s Birth and the Gregorian Calendar

Although other civilizations use a different calendar, the Gregorian calendar is today’s most extensively used system. In the sixth century A.D., Christian thinkers recommended beginning the numbering of years with the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. The proposition had received widespread support by the end of the ninth century.

The era preceding the birth of Jesus is referred to as B.C., or “Before Christ.” A.D. is the designation for our present period, derived from the Latin phrase Anno Domini, which means “in the year of the Lord.”

Therefore, if Alexander the Great was born in 356 B.C., he was born 356 years before the birth of Jesus. And to say you were born in 1992 is like saying you were born 1,992 years after Jesus.

Gregorian calendar, Jesus of Nazareth

This raises several intriguing questions. How do we know the date of Jesus’ birth? Are we sure we’ve gotten it right? When exactly was Jesus born?

We must first acknowledge that there is no year zero in this dating system. Early Christians who founded their calendar on the birth of Jesus determined that the year immediately before the birth was 1 B.C., and the year immediately after was A.D. 1.

Was then Jesus born precisely midway between 1 BCE and 1 A.D.? Well, it’s not entirely straightforward.

In actuality, the majority of experts concur that Jesus was likely born between 7 and 4 BCE. In the early Middle Ages, when the Christian monk Dionysius Exiguus attempted to determine the year of Jesus’ birth and, as a result, created our date numbering system, he was wrong by a few years. 2

The Nativity of Jesus and Matthew’s Gospel

Why do experts believe Jesus was born between 7 and 4 B.C.? One of the oldest historical records of Jesus’ birth is that it occurred during the time of Herod the Great, the Roman emperor of Judea.

According to the Gospel of Matthew, Magi traveled to Judea to visit the infant Jesus. When Herod learned from the magi that a “king” had been born in Bethlehem, he was envious. Herod wanted to eliminate potential threats to his rule, so he asked the magi when the infant was born. Then, based on their information, he secretly ordered the execution of all boys in Bethlehem aged two and younger.

Based on the specifics of this mandate, we may conclude that the magi likely visited Jesus when he was between one and two years old and not when he was in the manger as is commonly believed.

Shortly after that, Herod the Great passed away. Herein lies the use of other ancient historians. According to the Jewish historian Josephus and other sources, Herod the Great passed away around 4 BC. 5 Therefore, Jesus was born before 4 B.C., maybe as early as 7 B.C. if we allow a year between the arrival of the magi and the death of Herod.

Unfortunately, Dionysius, a Christian monk, did not have access to the sources and information utilized by current academics. Consequently, he incorrectly computed Herod the Great’s rule by a few years. Craig Blomberg, a scholar of the New Testament, says that the erroneous date of Jesus’ birth finally became so ingrained that revising the calendar was impossible.

The Nativity of Jesus and Luke’s Gospel

The Gospel of Luke adds more historical context: “Caesar Augustus commanded a census of the entire Roman world at that time. “(This was the first census conducted in Syria when Quirinius was governor..”

Joseph and Mary journeyed to Bethlehem for the census, which is how they got to be there for Jesus’ birth, as described in Luke’s narrative.

Nevertheless, there is an issue. Other ancient accounts place Quirinius’ tenure as governor of Syria between 6 and 9 A.D. rather than during Herod’s reign.

Did Luke get his rulers wrong? Maybe. However, new Roman documents offer an alternative scenario. Other accounts mention that Quirinius led military operations in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire a decade earlier, which is most easily explained if he held an official position in Syria.

Indeed, two other ancient inscriptions prove that Quirinius held this position from 7–4 BCE.

We are left with further evidence supporting the earlier date.

Jesus’s Birth and the Great Star

There is one additional piece of evidence that merits investigation. Matthew’s narrative recalls a strange star that appeared in the sky shortly after Jesus’ birth. Some consider this a supernatural phenomenon, and others dismiss it as a myth. Others adopt a third position: perhaps there was an extraordinary star in the sky that can be explained commonly.

According to scientists, Jupiter and Saturn were in conjunction from 7 to 6 B.C. in the constellation Pisces, which would have been very dazzling.

11 And in 5 B.C., records of what may have been a supernova or bursting star exist. 12 Although we cannot conclude that one of these physical events explains the “Bethlehem star,” they are intriguing possibilities.

The Nativity of Jesus and December 25

Jesus of Nazareth was most likely born between 7 and 4 B.C. But there is one last thing to investigate: Did the birth occur on December 25 of one of those years?

Almost probably not. The actual date of Jesus’ birth is uncertain. Still, Christians in the Roman Empire began celebrating Christmas on December 25 or January 6, which corresponded with Roman celebrations and the winter solstice, hundreds of years later.

13 Once this custom was established, the rest, as they say, is history.

Jesus’s Birth and Its Significance

What makes Jesus Christ’s Birth significant is not the exact day or year it occurred, and his birth is remarkable because it occurred at all. The advent of Jesus triggered a revolution. Since then, billions of people throughout the globe have celebrated a new period in history: the age of “Immanuel,” which is Hebrew for “God with us.”

Jesus, also known as Jesus Christ, Jesus of Galilee, and Jesus of Nazareth (c. 6–4 BCE in Bethlehem; c. 30 CE in Jerusalem), was a venerated religious leader of Christianity, one of the world’s main faiths. The majority of Christians consider him to be the incarnation of God. Christology examines the history of Christian contemplation on the teachings and nature of Jesus.

When further clarity was required, it was traditional for ancient Jews to add their father’s name or their place of origin. Consequently, Jesus was known throughout his lifetime as Jesus son of Joseph (Luke 4:22; John 1:45, 6:42), Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 10:38), and Jesus the Nazarene (Mark 1:24; Luke 24:19). Following his death, he became known as Jesus Christ. Christ was originally a title derived from the Greek word christos, which translates the Hebrew word meshiah (Messiah), which means “the anointed one.” This title suggests that Jesus’ disciples believed he was the anointed son of King David, whom some Jews anticipated would restore Israel’s fortunes. Some early Christian writers were aware that the Christ was technically a title, as seen by Acts 2:36, but in many New Testament passages, especially those in the writings of Paul, the name and title are merged and used as Jesus’ name: Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus (Romans 1:1; 3:24). Paul occasionally simply referred to Jesus as Christ (e.g., Romans 5:6).

According to Matthew and Luke, while Jesus was born at Bethlehem, he was a Galilean from Nazareth, a hamlet near Sepphoris, one of the two major cities in Galilee (Tiberias was the other). Joseph and Mary gave birth to him in 6 BCE and shortly before Herod the Great’s death in 4 BCE (Matthew 2; Luke 1:5). However, according to Matthew and Luke, Joseph was just his legal father. They state that Mary was a virgin at the time of Jesus’ conception and that she “was discovered to be pregnant by the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18; cf. Luke 1:35). According to Matthew 13:55, Joseph was a carpenter, that is, a craftsman who worked with his hands, and according to Mark 6:3, Jesus likewise became a carpenter.
Luke (2:41–52) claims that Jesus was precociously educated as a kid, but there is little more information about his childhood or early life. Shortly after was baptised by the prophet John the Baptist as a young adult, he became a travelling preacher and healer (Mark 1:2–28). Jesus had a brief public career in his mid-30s, lasting maybe less than a year, during which he garnered tremendous notice. Between 29 and 33 CE, or maybe 30 CE, Jesus travelled to Jerusalem to commemorate Passover, when, according to the Gospels, his entry was triumphal and filled with eschatological significance. He was captured, tried, and killed there. His followers became convinced that Jesus appeared to them after his resurrection. They persuaded others to believe in him, resulting in the establishment of a new religion, Christianity.

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