Where Was Jesus Born? 5 Important Facts About Bethlehem

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Published by Kimberly Wall

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Co-Founder, Disciple Group Leader, Author

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According to the Bible, Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, a city south of Jerusalem. Due to its appearance in several well-known Christmas hymns and carols, it is a fact that most Christians and many non-Christians are aware of. There is a fair possibility that even someone who attends church just once a year may hear something about Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem.

Every believer has a special place in their heart reserved just for Christmas. We are taken back to a completely different culture and site where the Word first became flesh[1] as we set up our nativity sets, sing our favorite carols, practice Christmas plays, and review cherished scriptures. It was not by chance that the extraordinary occurrence that altered the course of human history took place in such an improbable location.

When Was Jesus Born?

The early decades of the Christian tradition are where the expected date of December 25 originated. There is no proof that Christians “borrowed” that date from a pagan celebration worshiping the sun, despite what some have claimed.

Luke 2:8–9 in the Bible explains the precise season of historical Jesus’ birth: “Now in the same country, there were shepherds dwelling in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. They were frightened to death when they saw a Lord’s angel standing before them and the Lord’s light surrounding them.” Moreover, the truth can also be approached in another way. Jesus was born “during the reign of King Herod” the Great (Matthew 2:1).

Biblical scholars assert that it was customary for the shepherds in that area to herd their sheep into the fields from the spring until the first few weeks of October. The flocks would return from the pastures when the colder winter months got underway in search of safety and warmth. It might be assumed that the angels announced Jesus’s birth at the latest in October because the shepherds were still watching over their sheep in the fields close to Bethlehem.

Where Was Jesus Born?

Jesus’ birthplace is frequently identified as the city of Bethlehem. Early church fathers and some biblical prophecies like Luke 2:4 and Matthew 2:1 prove this. However, early Christians and Bible scholars are less sure about the setting’s specifics. Again, the gospel of Luke informs us that Jesus was not born in an inn because his parents couldn’t stay there (Luke 2:7).

The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, a small village close to Jerusalem, according to Micah 5:2 and Jewish tradition. Before the birth of Jesus, Luke 2 tells us that Mary and Joseph visited the town for a census, fulfilling the prophecy.

The common belief is that Jesus was born in a barn, though. This is the prevalent representation on most modern nativity sets and manger scenes. It makes sense that the argument goes as follows: Since Jesus was placed in a manger, a feeding container for animals, he was likely born in a barn alongside the other animals.

Farmers today keep their animals at this location, but this was different in the ancient Near East (which included Israel). This hypothesis, a byproduct of modern Western culture, is simple to disprove.

photo of painting of three wise men visiting the baby jesus as mary and joseph look on

5 Important Things To Know About Bethlehem

1. Bethlehem, which means “house of bread,” is a hilly region outside Jerusalem. The town’s fields, vineyards, and orchards develop into repeatedly abundant harvests thanks to a moderate environment and copious rainfall. The area was likely given the name Bethlehem or Beit Lehem, meaning “house of bread,” because of the region’s fertile terrain.

2. Bethlehem was regarded as a little, unimportant town—instead of deciding on the holy land of Jerusalem as the location of the King of Kings’ birth. Today, Bethlehem’s tiny hamlet is located six miles south of Jerusalem among the limestone hills of the Holy Land. One of the holiest places in Christianity is the Church of the Nativity, which represents the traditional site of Jesus’ birth and is the oldest Christian church still in continuous use.

3. Scripture predicted that Bethlehem would be the birthplace of the Messiah, and 700 years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Micah made this prediction. Micah 5:2 states, “Although Bethlehem Ephrathah is a tiny clan among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one whose origins are from old, from ancient times, who will rule over Israel.”

4. While on Jacob’s extended journey to return to his native country, Rachel passed away during the delivery of their second son, Benjamin. Jacob buried her close to Bethlehem. Jacob decided to bury Rachel outside Bethlehem rather than there (Genesis 48:7).

5. The City of David is the name given to Bethlehem. According to the Bible, the prophet Samuel, like the magi centuries later, traveled to Bethlehem in quest of a new ruler. David was a young shepherd boy, while Samuel was found and anointed at God’s command (1 Samuel 16:4–13). The new king’s title would eventually be bestowed on Bethlehem.

Why Does It Matter To Know Where Jesus Was Born?

You might be wondering why it matters that Bethlehem, as opposed to any other town in the area, is where Jesus was born. You need to realize how much of Jesus’ life was predicted before he ever took his first breath as a person here on earth, in addition to the prophecy we have previously highlighted.

What does this reveal concerning God? First, he is competent and willing to fulfill his promises throughout the ages. It also shows that the birth of Christ was not an accident or a last-minute occurrence.

Moreover, throughout human history, God has been advancing a tale of redemption. The knowledge that the faith of billions of Christians for 2000 years can be supported by the historical record and places still visible on the globe today is one of the most consoling facts to come out of this revelation.

watercolor painting of mary cradling the baby jesus

Conclusion

Jesus’ birth was not ordinary, according to the narratives of his birth in Matthew and Luke. He was not a typical child because he’s always been a born king. The Holy Spirit transformed Mary’s womb into the cradle of the Son’s incarnation.

In conclusion, Christians place great significance on the birth of Christ. It is thought that God sent his only begotten son to offer himself as a sacrifice to atone for the world’s people’s sins. This sacrifice alludes to Christ’s crucifixion, which many Christian congregations hold to be the sacrifice he made for the sins of the rest of the world to be absolved. Thus, we should worship Jesus.

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