How many people really know that Jesus was born on Wednesday?


There is no way of knowing that Jesus was born on a Wednesday, His birth date is unknown. The only significant fact surrounding Wednesday is that Jesus in fact died on a Wednesday at 3PM AD 31. There are many things of note that surround the birth of Jesus starting with the travels of Mary and Joseph prior to His birth because of the Census of Caesar Augustus.

The Census

Lukes account was written in 60-62AD to a Roman audience.

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city”. Luke 2:1-3

Mary and Joseph travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:1-3) because of the census ordered by Caesar Augustus (who was emperor from 27BC to 14AD). Men had to register at their home town (so they could be taxed by the Romans), Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem because Joseph was a descendent of King David and Joseph’s family came from Bethlehem.

What marks the period in time is that the census took place when Cyrenius was the Roman governor of Syria.

NOTE:

This Roman census actually occurred eleven or twelve years after Jesus birth. Jesus was born while Herod the Great was King of Judaea, no Roman Governor of Syria would have had the jurisdiction to organize a census and general taxation in Judaea at the time of Jesus’s birth. (This means there was some other intervention, that caused Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem, it is thought this was a spiritual intervention)

Jesus is born in Bethlehem in 6 or 5 BC. He is laid in a manger – (an animal’s feeding trough) – as there is no room for Mary and Joseph in the Inn. Luke 2:6-8

The Greek word for Inn is ‘kataluma’, but it actually means a guest-room or chamber “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn”.

Luke 2:7.

The Shepard’s go into the city of Bethlehem and find Jesus Mary and Joseph in the Inn - there are No Angels nor Magi present. Luke 2:15-17

Their encounters were actually months if not years apart. Only the Shepherds saw Jesus in the manger (a water trough animals drink from) the same day of His actual birth if not a day or two later. - Luke 2:1-19

The actual date of Christ birth is unknown and lost in antiquity, but it is NOT December 25th.

The oldest existing record of a Christmas celebration is found in a Roman almanac that tells of a Christ’s Nativity festival led by the church of Rome in 336 C.E. The precise reason why Christmas came to be celebrated on December 25th was based on obscure reasoning, but the date was originated as a Christian substitute for pagan celebrations of the winter solstice.

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 commemorating the “birthday of the unconquered sun” (natalis solis invicti)–the Roman name for the winter solstice.

Every winter, Romans honored the pagan god Saturn, the god of agriculture, with a festival that began on December 17 and usually ended on or around December 25 with a winter-solstice celebration in honor of the beginning of the new solar cycle.

This festival was a time of merry making, and families and friends would exchange gifts. At the same time, Mithraism–worship of the ancient Persian god of light–was popular in the Roman army, and the cult held some of its most important rituals on the winter solstice.

After the Roman Emperor Constantine 1st, converted to Christianity in 312 CE and sanctioned Christianity, church leaders made efforts to appropriate the winter-solstice holidays and thereby achieve a more seamless conversion to Christianity for the emperor’s subjects. In rationalizing the celebration of Jesus’ birthday in late December, church leaders argued that since the world was allegedly created on the spring equinox (late March), so too would Jesus have been conceived by God on that date. The Virgin Mary, pregnant with the son of God, would have given birth to Jesus nine months later on the winter solstice. (obscure reasoning)

From Rome, the Christ’s Nativity celebration spread to other Christian churches to the west and east, and soon most Christians were celebrating Christ’s birth on December 25th. The Roman celebration later added other winter-solstice rituals observed by various pagan groups, such as the lighting of the Yule log and decorations with evergreens by Germanic tribes later adopted by Christians by decorating Christmas trees and burning logs in fireplaces.

The word Christmas entered the English language originally as Christes maesse, meaning “Christ’s mass” or “festival of Christ” in Old English. A popular medieval feast was that of St. Nicholas of Myra, a saint said to 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,” a derivative of the Dutch name for St. Nicholas–Sinterklaas. This is the basis for modern Christmas celebrations on December 25th that embody pagan rituals.

The Magi - Matthew 2:7-13

There are some defining details that help us understand the age gap of Jesus during the encounter of the Wise men, who are assumed to be three people, but the number of wise men (also known as Magi - astrologers) is an extrapolation, their number is not revealed in scripture.

Most make this leap because of the number of gifts presented to Joseph and Mary for Jesus.

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh”. Mathew 2:11

In Eastern Christianity, especially the Syriac churches, the number of Magi is pro ported to be twelve. Syriac Christianity speaks ancient Syriac, a dialect of Middle Aramaic that started in Edessa in the early 1st century AD, and is closely related to the Aramaic language of Jesus. Syriac Christianity dates back to the 1st century CE, in modern times, the denominations are primarily in the Middle East, Asia Minor and in Kerala, India.

Jesus circumcised in Bethlehem 8 days later - Luke 2:21, Genesis 17: 10-12, Leviticus 12:2-3, Exodus 13:1-2

Magi sent to Bethlehem - Matthew 2: 1-15

Some months after Jesus is born, perhaps as much as 24 months, the Magi arrive in Jerusalem from the east.

They head to King Herod's palace to sell their merchandise to the wealthy in the royal court. They congratulate the king on his good fortune. They tell him they have seen a star indicating that they will find “the baby who was born to be the king of the Jews” Matthew 2:2.

When the wise men see Jesus he is in Nazareth, NOT Bethlehem, Jerusalem or Egypt. It is typically assumed that the wise men saw Jesus in Bethlehem because Herod dispatched the wise men to Bethlehem.

"Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also”. Matthew 2:7-8

The wise men never even went to Bethlehem, they followed the star in the East to where Jesus was, Galilee in the city of Nazareth. (Mathew 2:9-12, Luke 2:39)

“And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.” Luke 2:39

The Magi did not arrive until sometime after Christ’s presentation in the Temple in Jerusalem (Luke 2:22-39). By the time the wise men saw Jesus, he was a young child in a house.

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother” Matthew 2:11

A young child means one who is between the ages of 3 months to 2 years of age. There were no Angels, shepherds or animals at the house with the Magi.

The approximate age of Jesus is supported by Herod’s decree to kill every child in Bethlehem from a new born to the age of 2 years.

“Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men”. Matthew 2:16

NOTE:

The ‘massacre of the innocents’ was typical of Herod’s extreme behavior recorded independently by the Jewish historian Josephus.

Herod was intensely jealous and chronically insecure. He had suffered a severe breakdown in 29BC after he murdered his wife Mariamne and his brother-in-law Joseph after falsely accusing them of having an affair.

As recently as 7BC, Herod had executed his own sons Aristobulus and Alexander (whom he accused of plotting to take the throne) and the following year, around the time of Jesus’s birth, he tortured each of his slave-girls in turn to reveal any further threats to his authority. In 4BC Herod executed his own son Antipater.

When Joseph and Mary escaped with Jesus to Egypt in 5 or 4BC, it was to Judaea with a large Jewish community.

Following the defeat of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII (the last Ptolemaic “Greek” ruler of Egypt) by Octavian (Augustus Caesar) at the Battle of Actium in 31BC, Egypt had become part of the Roman Empire.

Why Christians Believe What They Believe 

© Tony - W.A.M