“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . .” (John 1:14). It is important to remember that Jesus existed prior to His physical birth. He existed before the world was (John 17:5). He has always existed. He is eternal. His “goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).

His Ancestry: Two accounts are given of the ancestry of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23- 38). God had promised Abraham “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). This promise was repeated to Isaac (Genesis 26:4) and to Jacob (Genesis 28:14). He was to come through the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10) and through the family of David. God promised that He would reign on the throne of David forever (2 Samuel 7:11-13). Matthew shows Jesus’ ancestry qualifies His legal right to the throne of David. Luke’s account demonstrates Jesus is qualified from blood or physical descent. These accounts establish that Jesus has the credentials to be considered the Christ, the promised Messiah.

Manner of His birth: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . .” (John 1:14). How did the Word become flesh? By a supernatural, one-of-a- kind event. A virgin conceived and gave birth to Him. Mary, a virgin betrothed to Joseph, was visited by the angel, Gabriel, and told she would conceive in her womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus (Luke 1:26- 32). Knowing she was a virgin, she inquired, “How can this be, since I do not know a man? And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God’” (Luke 1:34,35). Matthew says “she was found with child of the Holy Spirit,” and an angel told Joseph, “do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18-20). Matthew then says all that was done as a fulfillment of that which had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet Isaiah (found in Isaiah 7:14).

Time of His birth: It was in the days of Caesar Augustus and Quirinius, when Augustus had issued a decree that all the world should be registered (Luke 2:1,2). Paul says it was “when the fullness of the time had come” (Galatians 4:4). In other words, the right time, God’s chosen time, when God was ready. Wayne Jackson comments, “For centuries this time had been in preparation and various societal elements had contributed to it. (1) The Jews, with their concept of monotheism and the Old Testament Scriptures (with scores of prophecies regarding the Messiah) had prepared the way. (2) The Greeks had provided a language that was the most precise instrument for the conveyance of human thought the world had ever known. (3) The Romans had given humanity a time of peace and marvelous transportation and communication systems. When Jesus was born, it was indeed the fullness of time” [www.christian].

Where Jesus was born: Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a little town about six miles south of Jerusalem, in fulfillment of Micah 5:2. Notice the answer that the chief priests and scribes gave Herod when he asked them where the Christ was to be born (Matthew 2:5). Why were Joseph and Mary there? Because of Caesar Augustus’ decree (Luke 2:1-5). Notice the providence of God in this matter. He was in the background using an earthly king’s decree to carry out the plans of the real King! Because there was no room for them in the inn, Jesus was born in a stable, wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger (feeding trough) (Luke 2:7). Think of that. Here is the Creator of all things (John 1:3) taking on earthly existence in a barn and being placed in a feeding trough!

So much more could be said about the birth of Jesus (i.e., the visit of the shepherds, circumcision, names, growth, etc.). I hope this will motivate you to study further.

“In the birth of Jesus, heaven met earth and deity became clothed with humanity” (Winkler). He was God manifest in the flesh, Immanuel — God with us!

— John Priola