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Pictorial Explanation of the Birth of Jesus or the Christmas story
from the Bible, with helpful written comments

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Teaching notes for presenting:-  The Birth of Jesus.

These teaching notes for presenting the Birth of Jesus can be printed.

The Bible can be split into 4 parts:

Birth of Jesus - or the Christmas story or message using Matthew's and Luke's written accounts of the events.

References: Matthew Chapters 1 & 2 and Luke Chapters 1 & 2 & 3:21-38


Both Luke and Matthew have included Jesus' family tree because of its importance, in what they are about to tell us.

The Birth of Jesus divided time into BC and AD. Israel at that time was under Roman occupation.
The Roman's had Censuses every 14 years for taxation purposes.
Herod or Herod the Great died in 4BC and his four sons took over.
The name of Herod is used of a person and also as a family name.

Matthew wrote his Gospel to his own people the Jews.

Luke, a Greek Medical Doctor, wrote to his own people about the ministry of Jesus and the Early Church.


1. The Angel Gabriel - talks to Mary - Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel tells Mary that she is going to have a baby, and to call him Jesus. Also that Elizabeth her cousin is six months pregnant.

Mary in answering the angel calls herself a bond slave to the most high God. "I am the Lord's servant," in Greek the word servant is bond salve.

In Hebrew Gabriel means God is mighty.

Luke chapters 1:1-2:52 & 3:21-38

Matthew chapters 1 and 2

One of only three angels named in the Bible. They were Gabriel and Michael serving God and Satan who rebelled.

There are a number of groups of angels mentioned like Cherubim and Serabim. Cherub is the singular of Cherubim in Hebrew. Hebrew puts im on the end of a word to make the word plural. Were in English often puts a s to make the word have a plural ending.

Angels are messengers or emissaries of God.


2. Mary - understandsad and then she visits Elizabeth - Luke 1:39-40

Mary was excited because The Angel Gabriel had just told her that she was pregnant.

She visited her cousin Elizabeth immediately to share her news.

In Hebrew Mary means bitter.

Joseph married Mary who gave birth to Jesus.

Mary and Joseph were descendants of King David.

Mary like her husband Joseph were both from the tribe of Judah.

The couple were considered married, in the time of Jesus, from the day of the betrothal.

arranged marriages

The family tree of Jesus in Matthew is through the Legal line and in Luke through the Blood line.

Mary and Joseph had other children after Mary gave birth to Jesus. See Matthew 13:55-56, Mark 6:3, Luke 8:19.
see info on arranged marriages.


3. Elizabeth - gets a visit from Mary - Luke 1:41-45

Elizabeth welcomes Mary, her cousin, to her home.

Elizabeth was six months pregnant and her baby leaps for joy at the sound of Mary's voice.

In Hebrew Elizabeth means God is my Oath.

Elizabeth was the wife of Zacharias.

Elizabeth (God is my Oath) like her husband, Zechariah (Jehovah remembers) were from the tribe of Levi.

Elizabeth was told to call her son John the shorten form of Jehohanan which in Hebrew means Jehovah''s gift or God is gracious.

John was to become John the Baptist.


4. Mary Sings - praises to God - Luke 1:46-56

Mary sings a song of praise to God as she and Elizabeth greet each other.

Mary and Joseph had other children after Mary gave birth to Jesus. See Matthew 13:55-56, Mark 6:3, Luke 8:19
see info on arranged marriages.


5. Angel - talks to Joseph - Matthew 1:18-25
  The angel Gabriel talks to Joseph in a dream. Take Mary to be your wife.


6. Joseph - Luke 2:1-4 and Matthew 1:18-25

Joseph took Mary to Bethlehem, because all men had to go to their home towns to be counted, and registered to pay tax.
The Romans conducted a census, or head count, every fourteen years.

Joseph in Hebrew means: increaser.

arranged marriages

Joseph and Mary were both descendants of King David, Israel's royal family.

Mary and Joseph had an arranged marriage as was the custom of the time. The papers that made it legal were signed at the time of the arrangement of the marriage. This may even have happened before the two people had met.

This is different from our western marriage custom, when the legally binding contract is signed immediately after the marriage ceremony.


7. Donkey - mode of Travel - Luke 2:4

Mary traveled by donkey - At the time of Jesus' birth, people traveled by foot, or on an animal, or in a cart. Nazareth to Bethlehem was a four to six day journey over rough tracks. There was the added danger of robbers, or wild animals. People usually traveled in groups for their own protection.

We do not know the name or breed of the donkey that was used to carry Mary who was pregnant at the time with Jesus.
Traveling in winter eg December would be unlikely because of the cold and rain.

If the census was take over a period could the time Joseph and Mary could have gone to Bethlehem and been in Jerusalem at One of the three feast all males were compelled to attend.

The three feasts were
1. Unleavened and bread [which included Passover] spring

2. Pentecost, late spring,

3.Tabernacles, autumn


8. Jesus Birth - newly-born baby - Luke 2:6-7 and Matthew 1:18-25

The town was full of people because of the Roman census. Also there may have been a Jewish feast at the same time. One of the few private places available was were the animals were housed. This is where the birth took place.

Possible dates of the birth of Jesus

Jesus was born as a baby and then had to grow up as any baby does to become an adult.

Jesus was born in a feeding place (Greek Phatane - feeding place) were animals lived. Possibly the only private place in a town were many where living in the open. They had come because of the Roman census or head count. They would all go back to their home towns in a few days time.

The custom at a birth of a child born in a house. The musicians played at a birth of a boy but went away without playing if it was a girl. Jesus was born in a common courtyard not a house. So no musicians on hand but God provided heavenly musicians eg Angels who told the shepherds who then went to visit the newly born baby.

Tradition has Jesus born in a stable. More likely place was a rock cave for animals or a sheep pen with three sides. May be he also was born about the feast of sukkot also called the Feast of Ingathering or the Feast of Booths.


9. Shepherds - were the first to see Jesus - Luke 2:8-12 and Luke 2:16-20

Interaction of the shepherds and the angels. The sheherds were keeping watch of their sheep.

The reason why they were there looking after their sheep at night and what the sheep were going to be used for, is an interesting matter for discussion.

The sheperds lived in the open looking after their sheep. They all knew their sheep by name, and each animal knew the voice of its shepherd. Flocks were small, approximately ten to twenty sheep.

Unless these sheep were Temple sheep and that is a different story.

The shepherds found Jesus as a newly-born baby [Greek brephos].


10. Angels - praise God for the birth of Jesus - Luke 2:13-15

One of the angels spoke to the shepherds. Then, many angels started singing songs of praise to God about the birth of Jesus.

Remember Angels are messengers or ambassadors of God.


11. Baby Jesus - at 40 days old was taken to Jerusalem Why? - Luke 2:22-25
  Redemption of Jesus - Presented in the Temple

Jesus was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem for the Jewish religious ritual of redemption when he was 40 days old. This ritual was an obligatory ceremony for boys according to the law of Moses.

    Two of the many rituals that were performed at the Temple:
  1. The redemption of the first born at a cost of 5 shekels. See Exodus 3:2, Numbers 8:17, Numbers 18:15-16
  2. The purification of a woman after child birth: A pair of doves or two young pigeons were used by the poorer class and a lamb was used by the rich. See Leviticus 12:1-8; Exodus 13:2; Numbers18:15-16


12. Simeon - had some words for Jesus - Luke 2:25-35

Simeon, a prophet, was a very old man who was told by God he would see Jesus before he died.

In Hebrew Simeon means hearing or listening.


13. Anna the prophetess - had some words about Jesus life - Luke 2:36-38

Anna was a very devoted old lady who lived in the Temple and spent her days in fasting and prayer.

In Hebrew Anna means favor or grace.

Anna was a woman who loved God.


14. The Visit of the Magi - - Matthew 2:1-2

Magi, often called the wise men, traveled from the east to find Jesus. They arrived some time after his birth. The Magi may have come from the area we now call Iraq.

Sometimes called the three kings, but the Bible does not call them that. Neither does the Bible mention the number of these Magi.

Tradition has them as three wise men, or kings, and has given them the names of Balthazar, Gaspar, Melchior. Remember, the Bible does not mention either the number of men or their names who followed the star to where they found Jesus in a house.

Check out the information yourself in the Bible.

Wise men still seek Him.


15. Herod - the Great - Luke
  Herod the Great was told by the wise men [Magi] they have come to worship
      a king. Yet Herod was the King appointed by the Roman so he was worried.

      Herod the Great, was not a native born Israeli, but an Idumean. Herod was appointed king over the state of Israel

       by the Romans and was made king in37 BC and died in 4BC.

      Ruled in Palestine 37BC-4BC

      How do we find which Herod is which.

      There is a number of men called HEROD in the bible, starting with Herod the Great who died in spring
       [March, April, May] 4BC.There is also a number of rulers descending from this man to whom the
      bible gives names other than Herod in their Title.


16. Star - the star the magi followed to find Jesus - Matthew 2:9-10
  Magi follow the star
      The wise men, or their correct title Magi, arrived some 9 to18 months after Jesus was born.

     There are many theories which star God used.


17. Child - - Matthew 2:11-12
  The Visit of the Magi to Jesus

      Jesus as a young Child. When the wise men found Jesus, he was in a house as
      a toddler 8-18 months old. The house may have been back in Nazareth or near
      Bethlehem, we are not told.

      The Magi found a paidion (Greek) a child older than a new born baby but still under 2 years old.
      The house was possibility in Bethlehem.


18. The Angel - has a message for Joseph - Matthew 2:13-15
  The Escape to Egypt

      The angel tells Joseph to take Mary and Baby Jesus to EGYPT.
      In those times Egypt extended well beyond the north side of the Suez Canal.


19. Herod is angry - at the failed return of the Magi - Matthew 2:16-18
  First Plot to kill Jesus ref Matthew 26:3-4

Herod is angry because the Magi or wise men did not come back to see him.
Then he worked out how to kill Jesus who was born to be King of the Jews.

He would order the killing of all male children under 2 years old in a 16km or 10 mile radius of Bethlehem.

Herod the Great was an Idumean and was made king of Palestine in 37 BC and died in 4BC.

Herod the great -[ruled Palestine 37BC-4BC].  Herod died aged 69 possibility of chronic kidney disease.
How do we find which Herod is which. There is a number of men called HEROD in the bible
starting with Herod the Great who died in spring [March, April, May] 4BC.

There is also a number of rulers descending from this man to whom the bible gives names other
than Herod in their Title.

Herod the Great was an Idumean and was made king in37 BC and died in 4BC.

Ruled in Palestine 37BC-4BC

How do we find which Herod is which?

There is a number of men called HEROD in the bible, starting with Herod the Great who died in spring [March, April, May]
4BC. There is also a number of rulers descending from this man to whom the bible gives names other than Herod
in their Title.


20. Angel - says to Joseph "go back home" - Matthew 2:19-23
  The Return from Egypt

The angel tells Joseph to take Mary and Baby Jesus back to Israel. Jesus could at this time be
between 2-5 years old.

The Angel another of God's messengers.


21. Jesus as a youth - as a 12 year old boy - Luke 2:41-52
  The boy Jesus at the temple Matthew 2:19-23 return to Nazareth
Jesus about 12 years old. We have only this little piece of Jesus life from when his parents
came back to Nazareth and Jesus start of his public ministry.
Between 12-13 years old a Jewish boy becomes a man.

Jesus as a youth
Jesus at 12 like every Jewish boy became a son of the law or pais (Greek) servant of the law eg old enough to start serving God.
Jesus grew up and stayed with his parents until he left home.


22. Cross - click on Easter for the next module - Luke and Matthew - read the gospels
  Jesus' purpose in life was to go to die on the cross, followed by His Resurrection. These
events are explained in Easter - Palm Sunday to Pentecost
Jesus job was to die on the cross to allow us access to His father.
Jesus was possibly born between 12BC no later than 4BC,
because he was born before the death of Herod the Great in 4BC.

Jesus died between 26AD — 39AD during the reign of Roman procurator.
Pontius Pilate. Jesus was to die on the cross to allow us access to His father.

Some of the dates of Jesus' Crucifixion could have been;
Wednesday [Tuesday sunset-Wednesday sunset] April 10th AD32, Fri April 3rd AD33, April 14th AD33, March/April AD30, 5-6th April Wednesday-Thursday AD29.

Jesus was to die on the cross to allow us access to His father.
Jesus was to die on the cross to allow us access to His father GOD.


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Overview Presentations - The Birth of Jesus or the Christmas story — teaching notes