The events of Christmas night are ever resounding each and every year. The marvel and mystery of Old Testament prophecy and New Testament happenings produce joy and peace in the hearts and minds of many. But what about after Christ’s birth? What is said and what is revealed about Jesus? Actually, the events recorded in Matthew and in Luke are minimal yet still powerful enough to have impact on us today.
The first event after Christ’s birth is found in Luke 2: And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb (Luk 2:21). The name “Jesus” was recorded that day for census purposes in the Roman Empire. That day, actually, became day one in the BC/AD division of time which would appear about 500 years later. (Interestingly, 8 days backwards is the 25th day of the last month of 1 BC. Also of notice is that 8 days forward from Christ’s birth is the first day of 1 AD.) Joseph and Mary observed the Jewish law with this action: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised (Lev 12:1-3).
The second event is also recorded by Luke in the very next verse: And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord (Luk 2:22). This event occurred about 40 days from the time of birth and again was an example of Joseph and Mary observing the Jewish law: And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days. And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest: Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female (Lev 12:4-7).
The third event must have happened very soon after Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus returned to Bethlehem from Jerusalem and is recorded in Matthew: And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son (Mat 2:13-15).
The final event is also recorded by Matthew: But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother…..And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene (Mat 2:19-23).
Scott and Jane Johnson minister with East Faulkner Church of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to [email protected]