God’s Perfect Plan

John 1:29 – The next day John (the Baptist) saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”.

The Lenten season is now upon us. So what does that mean to us as Christians and followers of Jesus Christ? Many of us think that it’s about giving something up until Easter and then, back to the way it was until next Lenten season. Being a Christian and follower of Jesus means way more than that. As Christians, it’s all about the relationship we have with Jesus as our savior. As we mature as Christians, that relationship needs to get closer and closer. Lenten season is a time to reflect what God did sending his Son to be “the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”.

When we became Christians, we were “born again” made new by the Holy Spirit. At that time, we became a temple of God, a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. We are now holy or “set apart” from the world we live in. As we mature as Christians, we allow the Holy Spirit to have more control over us. Our relationship with Jesus becomes closer and closer. Our eyes open more to what is around us and we start to see how lost we were without Jesus. We also see how lost the world is and where it is going.

Lenten season is a time to realize that we need to break away from this lost world; stop “eating” from the table of this world and start “eating” from the table of God. Lenten season is a season to realize our bad habits, our blindness to the sin rampant in the world and continue to set ourselves apart from this lost world. Make this Lenten season a real continuing life changing experience. Make this “fasting” from the bad things of this world a permanent change in your life and not just a annual Lenten thing.

God is amazing in how his perfect plan unfolds itself. We all know about the shepherds that went to see the new born King born in Bethlehem. But did you know who exactly these shepherds were that were out in the fields that night when the host of angels announced the birth of our Savior? These were special shepherds that took care of the special perfect unblemished sheep that were used in the sacrifices on Holy days in Jerusalem. What a Holy picture of our savior, when John said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Another Holy picture of how God’s plan unfolds itself is the exact time Jesus died on the cross some 2000 years ago. Ever since Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and they celebrated the Passover for thousands of years, the Priests prepared the lamb offerings and sacrificed them between the 15th and 16th hours, the day before the Passover sabbath. Guess when Jesus died on that cross?

When was Jesus born?

For many hundreds of years, December 25th has been the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The odd part is, there is nothing in the Bible that supports December 25th as the birth date of Jesus. The Bible is pretty vague about when Jesus was actually born but it is highly unlikely that it was the end of December.

One clue as to why late December is not likely, comes from the book of Luke, chapter 2 verses 8-12; “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

In Israel, the weather in December is cold and rainy. It is the rainy season and shepherds would not be out in the fields at night with their sheep. They would most likely be in shelters and not in open air.

Another reason that late December is unlikely the time Joseph and Mary were traveling to Bethlehem is due to the weather. People did not normally travel at this time of year, especially a young woman about to give birth. They would normally travel in the dryer seasons which would be spring through fall.

So when is the more likely time that Jesus was born? The Bible gives us some indirect information that can lead us to when Jesus was born. It starts with John the Baptist. We have more information about John’s birth and more importantly, the time between John the Baptist’s birth and Jesus’ birth.

In Luke, Chapter 1, when Zechariah was performing his duties as a priest from the division of Abijah, he was told by the angel Gabriel that he and Elizabeth were going to have a baby boy and they were to name him John. In those days, there were annual calendars set up as to when the different divisions of priests would serve in the temple. This schedule repeated itself year after year following the Jewish calendar. From this we can find when Zechariah was to serve in the temple. Most likely Zechariah served in the temple between June 13 and June 19. After performing his duties, Zechariah went home to Elizabeth and she became pregnant. If this is the case, John was born some time around the middle to end of March.

Another clue is when the Angel visited Mary and told her she was going to conceive by the Holy Spirit, have a son and to name him Jesus. Before leaving, the Angel told Mary about her cousin Elizabeth and that she was already in her 6th month.

Most likely Mary was pregnant before she went to visit Elizabeth which was soon after the angel left. Mary visited Elizabeth for 3 months and then returned home. Elizabeth had her baby John soon after. So that makes John about 6 months older than Jesus. So if John was born in middle to late March, adding 6 months to that suggests that Jesus may have been born in middle to late September.

This time of year more fits in with the shepherds out in the fields at night with their flock and Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem for the census. Keep in mind that this is taking into consideration as to when both Elizabeth and Mary became pregnant which may be later than described. We will never really know the true date but does it really matter? What we really need to keep in our hearts is that God sent his Son to save all of mankind from their sins. That’s what we really need to know about the birth of Jesus, whether of not it was December 25th or some other date. If God thought that the date of his Son’s birth was important, he would have revealed it to us in his word. Merry Christmas!

So where did December 25th come from?

The world celebrates the birth of Jesus on December 25th. But is that really when Jesus was born? The Bible doesn’t tell us exactly when Jesus was born and we probably will never know for sure until we can ask Jesus face to face when we get to heaven.

So where did December 25th come from? Research tells us that it goes back to the 4th century when the Roman ruler of that time, Emperor Constantine became a Christian. At that time, the Romans had a pagan holiday and feast for the birth of Sol (the sun god). I would imagine, Constantine now being a Christian wanted to turn this pagan holiday into something that would honor God and not a false god like Sol. So Constantine declared December 25th the day Christians should celebrate the birth of Jesus and not the false god Sol.

Since the Bible is unclear about the exact time of the birth of Jesus, why not? I guess its as good of date as any as it turns a Roman pagan holiday into something that honors God.

It’s up to us as to how this holiday really honors God or not. Making the miracle birth of our savior the reason and not letting all the commercialism, gifts and holiday distractions get in the way is a good start. Unfortunately, I think that most of the world has changed it back into a pagan holiday and put Jesus on the back burner.

Don’t let that happen to you and your family. Keep Jesus at the forefront and make sure your children know what is the most important part of Christmas and why. Have a Merry Christmas knowing what God did for us. Can you quote John 3:16?

Food Drive

We are continuing our food drive. The next collection date is November 21st. Drop off non-perishable food at the Elias church on those dates at 10-11 AM.

Thank you all that donated food in the past. It was very much appreciated by the food bank. Thank you and God Bless you for caring about others.