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Birth of Jesus

The Birth of Jesus


Matthew 1:18-25
Luke 1:1-7

Key Differences

Matthew and Luke contain two completely different stories about Jesus' birth but both actually record the birth.  Matthew concentrates on what happens before the birth through the eyes of Joseph.  Luke covers the need for the trip to Bethlehem. 

Additional Commentary

Much is discussed about what a woman Mary was to have been chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus but Joseph is also a good man and it is no coincidence that he is the earthly father of Jesus.  When he discovered that Mary was pregnant, he intended to divorce her quietly.

Engagements were different in the ancient world than today.  An engagement was considered a legal contract and thus a divorce was needed to break that contract even though they were not married yet.  Divorcing Mary would not only put her to public shame as she would have been labeled an adulterer, according to the Old Testament law, an adulterer should have been put to death.  Even though Joseph felt betrayed when he discovered that Mary was pregnant with a child that was not his, Joseph still loved her and did not want her actions to become public.

Luke records that a census took place and all of the Israelites had to return to their hometowns to register.  The trip was likely a three day journey.  We can't be certain why Mary would make the journey along with Joseph.  It's possible that she was required to register as well as Joseph.  She may have been far enough along in her pregnancy that she did not want to be apart from her husband.  Or she may have not been due a short time yet and the stress of walking or riding brought about labor pains early.  Whatever the case was, it was all according to God's timing.

Bethlehem was a town of no more than 1,000 people at the time of Jesus.  As descendents of David were likely flooding the town to register for the census, it is no surprise that the inn of the small town was overrun by travelers.  The birth of the Savior would take place in the humble setting of a stable.

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