Where was Jesus born? Where was the birthplace of a man associated with being at the very foundation of one of the world's largest religions? Where can I find the authentic nativity scene? It is a question that many are still curious to understand today.
The Messiah's birth was among the most momentous events in human history, and it was subtly foreshadowed centuries before Jesus was born. For centuries, Christian believers and influential figures have sought to learn more about the history of Jesus Christ and his fascinating life story.
What better way to start learning about Jesus' life than to start at Jesus' birth. It is possible that by vast research and intrigue, we may find answers to some of our questions concerning Jesus' early years.
Old Testament Prophecy
Everything in the Bible points to Jesus. The Old Testament points to Jesus and the New Testament revealed Jesus to us. The prophets in the Old Testament were the voice of God and they would prophecy of the Jesus, who would be born king and about his life.
There were numerous prophetic words spoken about the life of Jesus Christ, but to help answer our question we must look at the prophetic word of where Jesus was born.
The prophet Micah prophesied that the King would be born in a city called Bethlehem.
It says in Micah 5:2, "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will come forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His times of coming forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity"
In the Old Testament it was prophesied the birthplace of Jesus Christ would be Bethlehem and it was revealed that the birthplace of Jesus is in Bethlehem according to Matthew chapter 2. Matthew 2:1 reveals Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod.
The Significance of Bethlehem
Bethlehem, a little town in the hill country, located just a few miles south of Jerusalem in the ancient land of Israel, has a rich biblical history that dates back centuries before being the birthplace of Jesus.
Many stories of significance to Bethlehem predate the birth of Jesus and be well known among believers. Long before Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus in accordance with Jewish law, it is said that Bethlehem was a city ruled by King Melchizedek, who was both king and high priest, and it was from this same line of kings that Jesus' ancestor David rose.
Events in Bethlehem
Bethlehem was the place where Jacob buried his beloved wife, Rachel, after giving birth to Benjamin. This can be found in Genesis 35:18-20.
Bethlehem was the place where David would be anointed king by the prophet Samuel. In 1 Samuel 16:4, it tells us that the prophet Samuel arrived in Bethlehem and in verse 13 he anoints David to be king.
Bethlehem was the place where Naomi and her loyal daughter-in-law, Ruth, came to from Moab. It is here where Ruth met Boaz, working as a gleaner in his fields. Boaz asked her to marry him and become an ancestor of King David. This story can be found in Ruth chapters 2-4.
The Story of Jesus Christ's Birth
Both Matthew and Luke's gospel tell us about birth of Jesus Christ, including where Jesus was born.
According to The Gospel of Matthew, written in the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus' mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph and was found with child from the Holy Spirit before marriage.
At this time, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph and told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife because the conception was done by divine authority. The angel of the Lord said this after Joseph was contemplating divorce from Mary.
The angel then told him, "and you shall name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).
(What the angel said to Joseph in Matthew 1:21 directly relates to John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.")
What happened to Joseph confirmed the prophecy spoken by the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 7:14 which Matthew quotes in chapter one verse twenty-two.
Joseph obeyed what the Lord had told him and took Mary as his wife and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to Jesus Christ.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Magi, or wise men, they were searching for Jesus saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him" (Matthew 2:2).
The Magi, wise men, followed the star which they had seen in the east until it came to stop over the place where Jesus was to be found.
They rejoiced greatly and when they saw Jesus they fell down and worshipped him. The Magi also presented Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Upon hearing news of this new King in Judea, King Herod was threatened and ordered that all baby boys in the region two years old or younger were to be killed; an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph who then fled with Mary and Jesus into Egypt until Herod's death.
Afterward, an angel appeared again to Joseph revealing it was safe and he could return home, but only after being warned not to go into Judea.
In Matthew's account of the birth of Jesus, we see the story unfold through Joseph and how the angel of the Lord spoke to him.
According to The Gospel of Luke, written in the New Testament of the Bible, within chapters one and two we receive the story of John the Baptist's birth and the Jesus' birth.
Chapter one of the gospel of Luke details the birth of Jesus Christ. It tells of a man named Zechariah, a priest who, upon entering the temple to make an offering, encountered an angel, who announced to Zechariah that his wife Elizabeth would bear a son by the name of John.
Six months into Elizabeth's pregnancy, the angel Gabriel visited a virgin named Mary in Nazareth and revealed to her that she was chosen to bear the Messiah.
Once the angel left her, Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea to visit Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard her come in, John in Elizabeth's womb leaped for joy and she began to prophecy.
Elizabeth gave birth to John
In that time there was a census decreed by Caesar Augustus which caused Jospeh and Mary to move to Bethlehem so they could be registered.
In Bethlehem, she gave birth to her firstborn son, Jesus Christ. There was no guest room at the inn, so instead they wrapped up baby Jesus in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger.
An angel of the Lord appeared to a group of shepherds, keeping watch over their flocks at night, and said to them that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. They went to go see Jesus.
The shepherds were glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and saw.
So, where was Jesus born? Being supported by both scripture and historical evidence, it is safe to say Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
Through the accounts of Matthew and Luke in the Bible, we can see how God has brought the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus' birth to fulfillment.
It is amazing to see how God used a census decreed by Caesar Augustus to bring Mary and Jospeh to Bethlehem.
It is amazing to see how God confirmed the word that Mary received from the angel through Elizabeth.
It could have been anywhere that Jesus would be born, but because God is faithful to his word, he was born in a small town in Israel called Bethlehem to save the whole world, jews and gentiles, from their sins.
More Old Testament Prophecies about Jesus' Birth
Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and she will call Him Immanuel."
Psalm 72:9-10, "May the nomads of the desert bow before him, And his enemies lick the dust. May the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring gifts; May the kings of Sheba and Seba offer tributes
Jeremiah 31:15, "This is what the Lord says: A voice is heard in Ramah, Lamenting and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more"
Jeremiah 23:5-6, "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will live securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, The Lord Our Righteousness."