Summary: A look at where we get the "Christmas Story," giving specific Bible references.
If a non-Christian were to approach you and say, “Which gospel contains the entire Christmas Story?” Would you be able to tell them?
We get most of our information about the birth of Jesus from two gospels, Matthew and Luke. And neither gives us all the details of the familiar birth of Christ. Instead the story is a compilation of both of these gospels.
And interestingly enough neither Mark nor John’s gospel say nothing at all of the birth of Christ. Instead they both begin roughly with John the Baptist’s ministry
Let’s look how the story is presented in each:
Matthew tells of the angel dealing with Joseph but Luke does not.
Matthew says nothing of the census, nor the trip to Bethlehem for the birth.
Matthew tells us of the visit of the Magi (wise men) who followed the star but Luke does not.
Matthew tells us of Herod’s slaughter of the children, Luke does not.
Matthew tells us of the flight to Egypt, Luke does not.
Matthew tells us that Mary and Joseph and Jesus settled in Nazareth, Luke does not mention it.
Luke on the other hand details the angel visiting Mary and gives us little detail about Joseph.
Luke lets us know that the one who is to prepare the way for Jesus is actually his relative, Matthew does not.
Luke gives us great detail on the birth of John the Baptist but Matthew does not.
Luke details the trip to Bethlehem and the circumcision and dedication of Jesus, Matthew does not.
Luke tells us about the announcement of the birth to the shepherds, Matthew does not.
So although many believers think the story of the birth of Jesus in it’s entirety is all together in one of the gospels we find that to get the full details we must look at both of these gospels, overlay the two, and assemble it.
That may come as a surprise to some very established Christians.
Some Christians “assume” that three wise men came from the east and worshipped Jesus in the manger. And they “assume” that every manger scene they have ever seen, showing the wise men at the manger is correct. Also they “assume” that these were Kings. They assume incorrectly.
Matthew clearly says “Magi” or “Wise men” came from the east. It does not tell how many there were. (The number 3 comes from the fact that there were three gifts given----so it is “assumed” there were three wise men. ) Also Matthew 2:11 clearly says that “………they came to the house, they saw the child with His mother Mary, and they bowed and worshiped Him."
How sad that all these years tradition has led them astray. This is what happens when the world tries to portray the things of God.
Many will also be surprised to learn that Jesus Christ and John the Baptist are relatives! (Luke 1:36) Mary and Elizabeth are related.
Isn’t it amazing what real Bible study does to knock out the worlds translation of the birth of Christ.
To many the story ends when the shepherds returned to the fields rejoicing but that is just the beginning.
Let’s go to Luke’s Gospel Chapter 2 starting with verse 21.
Here we will see the beginning of something that Jesus will do all through his life—fulfilling the law.
We find that following the requirement of the Law (See Leviticus 12:1-5)
There was a seven day waiting period before the child could be circumcised because the mother giving birth was considered “ceremonially unclean” for this time period.
This is why Luke writes, “On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise Him, he was named Jesus……….” Under the Law He could not be presented for circumcision by his mother if she was “unclean.” So now we know why there was a seven day wait.
The point that I am making here is that immediately after His birth Jesus life long pattern to fulfill the Law began. Every thing that was done was done because He had come to fulfill the Law.
Then there was a waiting period before He could be consecrated to the Lord after He was circumcised (Leviticus 12:4)
(Luke 2:22-24) And Luke will continue on to tell us that: “When their time of purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord’) and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
And thus begins the life of Jesus the Christ the Messiah of Israel. He will now proceed to fulfill the law in every aspect of His life.