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People Surrounding the Birth of Jesus

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.

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The Christmas Story

You have probably heard the Christmas story many times. The narrative is recorded only in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Matthew is the gospel about the Jews. Luke was written by the only Gentile of the entire Bible. Since Luke was a physician, the birth of Jesus was a great interest of his.

You know about Mary and Joseph, but there are so many other people and things surrounding the birth of Jesus. Why not learn about those associated with the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world?

The Prophets

Long before Jesus was born, His birth had already been ordered. It did not happen all of a sudden or in nine months.

The prophets had been prophesying the birth of Jesus long before He came to earth in the flesh, according to John 1:1.

The major prophet Isaiah promised the coming Messiah thousands of years before He was born. The minor prophet Micah predicted Jesus would be born in the little town of Bethlehem.

In other words, the birth of Jesus was the result of planned parenthood.

Zechariah and Elizabeth

Zechariah and Elizabeth were instrumental in the birth of Jesus. They could not see it when they were praying for a son and their prayers were not answered immediately. God had them wait for the right time.

God delayed Zechariah and Elizabeth's prayers to have a son because God wanted the couple's son to be the forerunner of Jesus. Since that was the case, John the Baptist had to be born shortly before Jesus.

The Angel Gabriel

When the timing was right, God sent the messenger angel Gabriel to give the news to Mary. He told her she would give birth to a son and His name should be Jesus.

After Mary received Gabriel's news, Joseph needed to be told about the birth of a son. Therefore, Gabriel went to Joseph in a dream and prepared him for what was about to happen. He wanted Joseph to know so he would not put Mary away or divorce her as was the law.

Mary, the Mother of Jesus

Mary was the young virgin betrothed to Joseph. When the angel Gabriel spoke to her, she did not understand what he meant when he talked to her about having a baby when she had not yet known a man.

She did not understand the virgin birth but said to the angel "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said" (Luke 1:38).

That was over two thousand years ago when Mary was given the news that she would have a baby and His name would be Jesus. Today, people still celebrate His birth and remember the story of Mary and her child.

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Joseph, Jesus' Earthly Father

Mary and Joseph were pledged to be married, but before they married, Mary was told by the angel Gabriel that she would bear a son. Because Joseph was a righteous man he did not want to expose her to public disgrace. Therefore, he had decided to divorce her quietly.

An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and told him to take Mary home as his wife. When he woke up, Joseph did exactly what the angel of the Lord had commanded him. He took Mary home as his wife (Matthew 1:18-20, 24).

Caesar Augusta

Caesar Augusta helped to fulfill the prophecy that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. It was during the last stage of Mary's pregnancy that Caesar Augusta gave a decree that all the people had to be taxed in their own hometowns.

Therefore, Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem to register. When they arrived, so many others were there, and there was no room in the inn.

The prophet Micah had prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, and his prophecy was fulfilled.

Jesus

The birth of Jesus had been prophecy thousands of years before He was born as God in the flesh, according to John 1:1.

Isaiah prophesied that He would come as the expected Messiah for Israel. Even though millions of people all over the world celebrate his birth on December 25 every year, no one knows the exact day He was born.

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Angels

The messager angel Gabriel spoke to Mary and told her about the birth of Jesus. He also spoke to Joseph three times in dreams to prepare Joseph about what was happening.

The angels notified people about the birth of Jesus. That's why there is a song called, "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing."

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Shepherds

Shepherds stayed outside with their sheep night and day the entire year. They were keeping watch over their flock by night when they saw the star in the sky. That let them know that the long-awaited Messiah had been born.

God chose to announce Jesus' birth to the lowly shepherds instead of to the kings and top officials and rulers of the world.

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Wise Men

The wise men are also known as the Magi. Even though only three appear on Christmas cards, there was a caravan of them who followed the star to find Jesus. It was no short trip. By the time, they reached Bethlehem to see Jesus he was a lad living in a house with His parents. It was about two years later because King Herod put out a decree to kill as boy babies up to two years old.

When the wise men did reach Jesus, three of them presents gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. That's why it has been mistaken that only three wise men went to see the lad.

King Herod

Herod was an evil and jealous king. He committed many brutal acts including the killing of his wife and two of his sons. Whenever he got sick, he would kill a lot of people so there would be mourning in the community if he died.

He was jealous when he heard from the Magi that Jesus was born. He was afraid he would lose his throne to a newborn King of the Jews. Therefore, he sent out a decree that all boys in the vicinity up to two years old must be killed.

Simeon

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The account of Simeon and his involvement in the birth story of Jesus is found in Luke 2:25-35. The Holy Spirit had assured him that he would not die until he had seen the baby.

Simeon did meet Mary, Joseph, and Jesus when they went to the Temple of Jerusalem on the 40th day of Jesus' birth for him to be presented to God. Simeon took the baby into his arms and held him said a prayer over him.

Anna, a Prophetess

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Anna is mentioned in the Bible in just three verses in Luke 2:36-38. However, those few verses are enough for readers to learn a lot about her and to let them know her involvement in the birth of Jesus.

Anna was an elderly Jewish woman whose husband died after seven years of marriage. The widow stayed at the temple night and day worshiping, praying and fasting. She prophesied that Jesus would appear at the Temple of Jerusalem to be presented to God.

Mary did go to the temple to be purified herself after giving birth. She also took the baby to be circumcised and presented. Anna got a chance to hold the baby before she died at the age of 84.

Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Who stayed in the Temple of Jerusalem praying and fasting and waiting to see Jesus?
    • Anna
    • Simeon
    • Herod
    • Wise Men
  2. Who did the Holy Spirit tell he wouldn't die until he held the baby Jesus?
    • Herod
    • A shephard
    • A wise man
    • Simeon
  3. What was the sign that Jesus had been born?
    • gold
    • frankincense
    • star in the sky
    • rainbow in the sky
  4. Who sent out a decree for all boy babies up to age two to be killed?
    • Caesar Augustus
    • King Herod
    • Wise Men
    • Shepherds
  5. Who required all people to go to their hometowns to be registered?
    • King Herod
    • Caesar Augustus
    • Zechariah
    • Wise Men

Answer Key

  1. Anna
  2. Simeon
  3. star in the sky
  4. King Herod
  5. Caesar Augustus

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