The gospel stories repeat a mantra of “as it was written”, linking events in Jesus’ life with ancient prophecies. Christianity uniquely proves itself through the fulfillment of ancient prophecies. I’ve put the story of Jesus’ birth into my own words, in chronological order, with footnotes of the prophecies referred to. This is part of a larger study of the context of those prophecies, in which we learn about Jesus purpose, the 2nd Jewish exile and their return and Jesus’ return to govern the world.
Jesus is the Word of God
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.* 2He was with God in the beginning. 3All things were made by him. And nothing that exists was made without him. 4In him was life. And the life was the light of men. 5And the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness doesn’t understand it.
6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came to bear witness of the Light, that through him, all people might believe. 8He wasn’t that Light but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9That was the true Light, which illuminates every person who comes into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made by him, but the world didn’t know him. 11He came to his own, but his own didn’t receive him. 12But as many as received him, to them he gave power to become children of God – to all who believe on his name: 13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14And the Word became flesh, and lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory of the only one born from the Father, full of grace and truth.
- Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God made the heavens and the Earth.
26Then God said, “Let us make humans in our image…”
The angel appears to Mary
Luke 1:26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to a city of Nazareth in Galilee, 27to a virgin called Mary, who was engaged to a man called Joseph, a descendant of David. 28The angel came to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored, the Lord is with you. You are blessed among women.” 29When she saw him, she was troubled with his words, and wondered about this strange greeting. 30The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you’ve found favor with God. 31Look, you’ll become pregnant, and give birth to a son, and call him Jesus. 32He’ll be great and be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.* 33And he’ll reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.” 34Then Mary said to the angel, “How is this possible, since I’ve never had sex?” 35And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy one which you will give birth to will be called the Son of God. 36Look, your cousin Elizabeth, who is old and couldn’t have children, is pregnant with a son in her sixth month.* 37For with God nothing is impossible.” 38And Mary said, “Look at the Lord’s servant. Let it be as you said.” And the angel went away.
- Jeremiah 23:5 The Lord declares, “The days will come, that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and a King will reign and prosper, and will execute judgment and justice in the earth.
- Genesis 18:14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time, I will return to you, according to the duration of pregnancy, and Sarah will have a son.
The angel appears to Joseph
Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened like this. When his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, before they came together, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was considering breaking up quietly.* 20But while he thought about this, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, you descendant of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. Because what is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21And she’ll have a son, and you’ll call him Jesus. Because he’ll save his people from their sins.” 22Now all this was done, to fulfill what the Lord said by the prophet, saying, 23“Behold,* a virgin will become pregnant, and give birth to a son, and they’ll call him Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, ‘God with us.’”
24Then when Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord had invited him and took to him his wife. 25But they didn’t have sex until she gave birth to her firstborn son.* And he was named Jesus.
- Deuteronomy 24:1 When a man has taken a wife, and married her, and she displeases him, because he has found her to be unfaithful, then let him write her a bill of divorce, and give it in her hand, and send her away from his house.
- Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: A virgin will become pregnant, and give birth to a son, and call his name Immanuel.
- This disproves the theory that Mary remained a virgin.
Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem for the census
Luke 2:1 In those days, Caesar Augustus decreed, that all the world should be taxed. 2(This was the first taxing made while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3Everyone went to be taxed, each to their own city. 4Joseph 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) 5He went to be taxed with Mary his fiancée, who was very pregnant.
Jesus is born
Luke 2:6 And so, while they were there, she went into labor. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son, and wrapped him in fine baby clothes, and laid him in an animal feed trough because there was no room for them in the inn.*
- Note, there is no mention of a stable. One theory holds that they camped out in the over-crowded town square like refugees.
Angels announce the news to shepherds
Luke 2:8 Some shepherds in that area were staying in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, look, the angel of the Lord came to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. And they were very afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, “Don’t be afraid, because I’m bringing you good news of great joy for all people. 11For today, among you in the city of David, a Savior is born, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: You’ll find the baby wrapped in fine clothes, lying in an animal feed trough.” 13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host was with the angel praising God, and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward all people.”
The shepherds visit
Luke 2:15 So, as the angels left them to return to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem, and see what’s happened – what the Lord’s shown us.” 16They hurried there, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the baby lying in an animal feed trough. 17And when they saw him, they told everyone around, what they’d been told about this child. 18And everyone that heard it was amazed at the things the shepherds were telling them. 19But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they’d heard, and they’d seen exactly what they’d been told.
Jesus is dedicated to God
Luke 2:21 And on the eighth day they circumcised the child, and he was called Jesus, just as the angel had named him before he was conceived in the womb. 22And when Mary completed the days of her purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord.
23(As it is written in the law of the Lord,* “Every firstborn male will be called holy to the Lord”) 24And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”
- Exodus 13:2 Set apart for me every firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both human and animal. It is mine.
Simeon recognizes the Messiah
Luke 2:25 And, look, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon. He was just and devout, waiting for the one who would comfort Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26And the Holy Spirit had revealed to him, that he wouldn’t die, before he saw the Lord’s Christ. 27And the Spirit led him into the temple when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to fulfill the custom of the law for him. 28Then he took him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29“Lord, now you can let your servant depart in peace, according to your word. 30For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you’ve prepared in front of all people, 32a light to shine on all people,* and the glory of your people Israel. 33And Joseph and his mother were amazed at the things that were spoken of him. 34And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother, “Look, this child is destined to cause the falling and rising again of many in Israel, and to be a sign which shall be spoken against. 35So, the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed, even a sword will pierce through your own soul.
- Isaiah 49:6 And he said, “It’s an easy thing for you to be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel. You will also be my gift as a light to the nations, that you may save people to the end of the world.”
Anna recognizes the Messiah
Luke 2:36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage. 37After that she was a widow for about eighty-four years. She never left the temple but served God with fasting and prayers night and day. 38And when she came in that moment, she also gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of him to all who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
The magi visit after Jesus’ birth
Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea in the days of Herod the king, wise men came from the east to Jerusalem, 2saying, “Where is the one that is born King of the Jews? For we’ve seen his star in the east* and have come to worship him.”
3When King Herod had heard about this, he was troubled, and so was everyone in Jerusalem. 4And when he’d gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5And they replied, “In Bethlehem of Judaea.* Because it’s written by the prophet, 6“Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you’re not insignificant among the princes of Judah. For a Governor will come out of you, who’ll rule my people Israel.”
7Then Herod called the wise men privately and asked them precisely when the star appeared.” 8And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, “Go and search carefully for the young child. And when you’ve found him, let me know, so that I can come and worship him too.”
9When they’d heard the king, they left. And, look! The star, which they saw in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the young child was. 10When they saw the star they were delighted with excitement. 11And when they came into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him. And when they’d opened their treasures, they presented gifts to him of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.* 12And being warned by God in a dream that they shouldn’t return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.
- Genesis 1:14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the heavens to distinguish the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years”
- Micah 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, although you are small among the thousands of Judah, yet he who is to be ruler in Israel, will come out of you to me – he who is from ancient times, from everlasting.
- Isaiah 60:6 The multitude of camels will cover you, the dromedaries of all of Arabia will come. They’ll bring gold and incense; and they’ll display the praises of the Lord.
They flee to Egypt
Matthew 2:13 And when they left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Get up, and take the young child and his mother, and flee to Egypt. And stay there until I bring you word. Because Herod will search for the young child to destroy him.”
14When he got up, he took the young child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. 15And stayed there until the death of Herod. This fulfilled what was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, “I’ve called my son out of Egypt.”*
- Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.
The infants are slaughtered by Herod
Matthew 2:16 Then when Herod saw that he’d been duped by the wise men, he was absolutely furious. He sent soldiers to slaughter all the children that were in Bethlehem, and the surrounding area, aged two years and under, according to the precise time he’d learned from the wise men. 17This fulfilled what Jeremiah the prophet spoke of, saying, 18“A voice was heard in Rama,* wailing, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted, because they’re dead.”
- Jeremiah 31:15 The Lord declares, “A voice was heard in Ramah, grieving, and weeping bitterly. Rachel is mourning for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are dead.”
They return to Nazareth
Matthew 2:19 But when Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in Egypt in a dream, 20saying, “Get up, and take the young child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel. Because those who attempted to take the young child’s life are dead.” 21And he got up, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22But when he heard that Archelaus was King in Judaea in the place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. So, having been warned by God in a dream, he withdrew to the area of Galilee. 23And he came and settled in a city called Nazareth. So, this fulfilled what the prophets spoke of, “He’ll be called a Nazarene.”*
- I could find no Biblical prophecy saying he’d be a Nazarene. They may be extra-biblical. The word Nazerene also means “branch” and “despised”.
- Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected by people – a man of sorrows, and familiar with grief. And we hid as it were our faces from him. He was despised, and we turned our backs on him.
Luke 2:39 And when they’d done everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. 40And the child grew, and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
I pray that God would bless your understanding as you continue to seek him in truth and humility.