Today I want to talk about birthdays – (grin) mine is coming up soon! When someone has a birthday, often the first question that comes to mind is, “I wonder how old they are?” – In my case, don’t even TRY to guess! Some younger friends of mine think I’m older than dirt. So…. Just how old IS dirt, anyway?
Let me ask it another way… How old is our world?
Most people would say: “Nobody knows.” Some say: “Who cares!”
But did you know that in the1650’s Bishop James Ussher author of the book Annals of the World said the world was created on Oct. 23, 4004 B.C. – We have just recently missed the 6011th Birthday of Planet Earth in this local Star system and beyond! What a party that should have been! NO I am nowhere near that age – yet!
Now you may well laugh, smirk, giggle today about this old fashioned posited date of October 23rd 4004BC, but I must tell you that Bishop Ussher was a highly intelligent, educated and respected man of his time. This was not some imagined date that he pulled out of his hat!
He worked from the Genealogies in Genesis 5 and Genesis 11 to come up with this, and in 1701 his “SUGGESTED” date was incorporated into an authorized version of the Holy Bible and thus came to be regarded with almost as much unquestioning reverence as the Bible itself.
He also calculated the dates of other biblical events, concluding, for example, that Adam and Eve were driven from Paradise on Monday10 November 4004 BC, and that the Ark touched down on Mt Ararat on the 5th of May 2348 BC `on a Wednesday’.
So was He Right? Ussher was neither charlatan nor naive; in fact, he was one of the most learned men of his day.
Understanding the assumptions with which he began his calculations – particularly the one we should all begin with, namely that God’s Word is true and reliable helps us to realize that for a man of his time and learning Bishop James Ussher did produce remarkable work!
Let’s jump a bit in time NOW to the Birth of OUR Saviour Jesus Christ
What year was Jesus born? Yes I know……. Christmas Day December 25th! But in which year?
Really we do not know, but we do have a few biblical pointers to help us become super sleuths.
We know that Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the King (Matt. 2: 1). History tells us that this Herod died in 4 B. C. Hence, Jesus would have been born no later than 4 B. C. We also learn from the Bible that a census was being taken at the time of Jesus’ birth, in fact, Joseph and Mary were at Bethlehem to enroll when Jesus was born (Lk. 2: 1-7).
Based on the believed date of this census, some scholars place Jesus’ birth at 6 B. C., some believe Jesus was born in 5 B. C.
The Bible itself gives us clues that December 25 is an unlikely date for His birth. Palestine is very cold in December. It was much too cold to ask everyone to travel to the city of their fathers to register for taxes. Also the shepherds were in the fields (Luke 2:8-12). Shepherds were not in the fields in the winter time. They are in the fields early in March until early October.
If you are anything like me… you will be asking yourself by now if any of this stuff…… times dates places etc is relevant. So what am I getting at?
The matter of great consequence is that Jesus was born of a virgin, just as prophesied 700 years earlier (Matt. 1: 23; Isa. 9: 6).
Have you ever wondered what would have happened if Mary of Nazareth, confronted by the Angel Gabriel …… possibly scared out of her wits at the thought of becoming pregnant by Divine Intervention, (even though I am sure Jewish Maidens were well aware of the prophecy of Isaiah —-) well errrrr what if Mary had said “NO WAY MATE!” to the Archangel Gabriel.
You fancy that God’s plan would have come to a halt, and the incarnation would not have occurred. But that is a foolish thought! God does not have to use coercion to accomplish His unchanging plans.
He Himself had chosen Mary for that very purpose, that she should willingly be the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mary Believed! – Personally I like to thank Mary for accepting God’s invitation to be the Mother of My Saviour and for believing in God’s promise.
In the same Bible reading, we learn how the angel also told Zechariah that his wife would conceive and have a son. Again the angel was not asking permission. Unlike Mary, Zechariah did not believe. What happened? Did that alter God’s plan? No, not one bit. Zechariah and Elizabeth still had a son, John, as determined and planned by God.
God orchestrated the history of salvation according to His eternal plan. We should therefore look to Him in adoration and with everlasting gratitude for the redemption which was planned before the world was begun and which was perfectly unfolded by the invisible hand of the sovereign and almighty God.
Jesus lived a sinless life and died a sacrificial death (Heb. 4: 15; Matt. 26: 28).
He claimed to be the Son of God and proved that claim by many undeniable miracles (Jn. 20: 30, 31).
We as Christians celebrate the glorious death and resurrection of Jesus each time we observe the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26: 26-29, Acts 20: 7).
Jesus is the truth, the way, and the life (Jn. 14: 6).
This same Jesus who experienced such a humble birth and horrific death is coming back as the exalted judge of all men (Matt. 25: 31-46).
A few simple yet profound thoughts ~~~
Manmade dates and time constraints don’t matter one iota!
What matters: Every Day is a celebration of life.
Every Day is the Birthday of Jesus Christ.
For without HIS BIRTH – day… His life, death, resurrection and ascension none of us would have any hope of redemption, or NEW LIFE!
Thank you Lord. I love you Lord! AMEN