When Was Jesus Born?

Written by Drew on December 20th, 2006

Every year about this time most of the world turns its thoughts to Jesus and His birth. Since the fourth century, December 25 has been celebrated as the nativity of Christ.

But was Jesus really born on Christmas Day? Probably not. We can never know for certain when He was born. God did not reveal to us the date of that miraculous affair in Bethlehem.

What really matters, though, is not the question of when Jesus was born, but rather the question of whether He was really born at all. Skeptics deny it. They call the gospel a myth and mock Christians for their allegiance to a person they deem to be a figment of the human imagination.

I am appalled that historians are doing away with the system that we have used for 2,000 years to mark time. Until recently, history was measured as “B.C.” (Before Christ) or “A.D.” (Anno Domini, “in the year of our Lord”). This, no doubt, agitated the unbelievers, for every time a date was recorded, it was a testimony to the life of Jesus Christ. Now historians prefer the abbreviations “C.E.” (Common Era) and “B.C.E.” (Before Common Era), as these terms carry no religious connotations.

Jesus was born. He lived, He was crucified, and He rose the third day from Joseph’s tomb. The New Testament alone is enough to establish these facts. Though it has been attacked for centuries, its enemies have never been able to produce enough evidence to discredit it. But if that wasn’t enough, we have the testimony of non-inspired historians as well. Consider these words from Josephus, an important first-century Jewish historian.

About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Christ (Ant. 18.63-64).

“There lived Jesus.” That is all that matters. We may quibble over the date of His birth until He returns, but the real news is that God sent His Son, our Savior, and, having died for our sins, He redeems all those who call on His name (Acts 2:21; 22:16).


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