Dear Jesus, my birthday gift to you this year is to learn about each of the miracles you preformed during your life on earth, as told in the bible. Starting with your virgin birth, followed by 26 miracles of healing, plus 9 more. We will look at them one at a time and name the series “Miracles of Jesus, The Complete List.”
And to you, reading this, please know that the main focus of www.TYAJesus.com is to find and present new evidence of Jesus interacting with us during our lifetime, here and now. However this particular post examines previous evidence that is documented in the bible. I like adding these to the mix because (1) it helps us learn, while (2) creating an environment in which new miracles happen right before our eyes as Jesus interacts with our learning. You can see an example of this interaction in my post titled “Easter’s Surprise Communication from Heaven.”
So let’s begin the series with this first miracle. Number one, his virgin birth.
Most Christians celebrate December 25 as the birthday of Jesus Christ, but no one in the first two centuries since his birth have claimed any knowledge of the exact day and year in which Jesus was born. The oldest existing record of a Christmas celebration is found in a Roman almanac that describes “Christ’s Nativity Festival” led by the Church of Rome in 336 A.D. The exact reason why Christmas came to be celebrated on December 25 remains undocumented. However, as Christianity began to take hold in the Roman world in the early fourth century, church leaders had to contend with a popular Roman pagan holiday that began on December 17 and ended on December 25 with a celebration in honor of the winter-solstice and the beginning of a new cycle. This festival was a time where families and friends would exchange gifts.
After the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in 312 and sanctioned Christianity, church leaders made efforts to make a seamless conversion to Christianity for the population at large.
In rationalizing the celebration of Jesus’ birthday in late December, church leaders felt that since the world was allegedly created on the spring equinox (late March), so too would Jesus have been conceived by God on the spring equinox. The Virgin Mary, pregnant with the son of God, would have given birth to Jesus nine months later, which is late December. The same time as the winter solstice.
From Rome, the celebration of Christ’s birth spread to other Christian churches to the west and east, and soon Christians everywhere were celebrating Christ’s birth on December 25.
Other rituals of the pagan winter-solstice celebration were added to the Roman Christmas celebrations too. Such as lighting of the Yule log and decorations with evergreen trees.
The word Christmas entered the English language originally as “Christes maesse”, meaning “Christ’s mass” or “festival of Christ” in Old English.
St. Nicholas of Myra had a popular annual feast where a saint would visit children with gifts and admonitions just before Christmas.
This story evolved into the modern practice of leaving gifts for children said to be brought by “Santa Claus,” which is a derivative of the Dutch name for St. Nicholas, “Sinterklaas.”
By the early 20th century, Christmas had become a cultural signature of Christianity and the Western culture.
Even though the exact day and year of Christ’s birth is unclear, his birth is described in two different gospels within the Bible: Luke, and Matthew. Both gospels agree that Jesus was born in Bethlehem to a virgin named Mary who was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph during the time of King Herod’s rule.
The Quranic birth of Jesus, like the gospels, places the virgin birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, at a time when “dates were ripe on the trees.” The Quran code of Rashad Khalifa sees numerological significance in the birth of Muhammad (ca 570) occurring 570 years after the traditional birth date of Jesus.
Though they do have agreement, the two gospels also have differences. For example, Matthew’s account of an angel appearing to Joseph in a dream; the wise men from the East; the massacre of the innocents; and the flight to Egypt, which do not appear in Luke, who instead describes the appearance of an angel to Mary; the Roman census; the birth in a manger; and the choir of angels.
Some scholars feel the gospels were primarily written as theological documents rather than chronological timelines.
Other scholars believe the two gospels are historically accurate and do not contradict each other. Pointing to the similarities such as: the virgin birth; the birth at Bethlehem; and the upbringing at Nazareth. They feel although there are differences, a general narrative can be constructed by combining the two gospels of Matthew and Luke into one. This one narrative would begin with a trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem where Jesus is born, followed by the flight to Egypt, and ending with a return to Nazareth.
Neither Luke nor Matthew claim their gospel about the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ, has any direct testimony from people who were there. And due to very few records being found from that time in history, chronological accuracy is impossible.
However it is through the preponderance of evidence, the sheer volume of testimony recorded in the Bible, that we know Jesus preformed numerous miracles in front of many witnesses.
The virgin birth of Jesus shows the ability of a powerful God to enter our world as a small newborn. This powerful God Jesus was born “in a stable in the most humble of circumstances.” Beginning at birth and throughout his life, Jesus showed us how God’s favor is with the poor and those who are treated badly by people in power.
Emphasis is placed on the humility of Jesus and his poverty of birth: the image of Jesus at birth became the image of God. Not a severe and punishing God but one who is humble at birth and sacrificed at death.
The concept of an omnipotent God setting aside all power in order to conquer the hearts and minds of humans with love, and that he would allow himself to be helplessly placed in a manger in order to do so, is as marvelous and touching to Christians as is his sacrifice of dying on a cross for our sins.
Thank you so much for taking time to read my work and I pray for God to bless you in every way you need. Also, I pray for you to go out of your way for God by helping someone else. This I’ve learned is one of the best ways to actually get to know Jesus personally.
Amen, Happy Birthday Jesus, and Merry Christmas to All!!!
In closing, here are the two actual gospels referenced in this post: Luke, and Matthew.
Luke 2:1-20 (NIV) – The Birth of Jesus
2. In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
3. And everyone went to their own town to register.
4. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
5. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
6. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,
7. and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
9. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
11. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
12. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14. “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15. When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16. So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
17. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
18. and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
19. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Matthew 1:18-25 (NIV) – Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: [a] His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.
19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet [b] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, [c] because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” [d] (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.