Timeline of Jesus' Birth, Life and Ministry
The birth of Jesus is celebrated on December 25 every year by most people even if they are not followers of Christ. Those who are disciples of Christ might not know that the actual date of Jesus' birth was probably not December 25.
Then those who know that is not the actual date might not know that Jesus pre-existed long before He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born to a virgin named Mary.
Pre-existence of Christ
Pre-existence is the doctrine about Jesus before His birth. According to John 1:1–18 and John 17:5, Jesus mentioned He had a relationship with His Father "before the world existed." Also, in John 17:24 God expressed His loving relationship with His Son "before the foundation of the world." Those scriptures should not be ignored when learning about the pre-existence of Jesus.
Jesus was with God before the foundation the world. Jesus existed long before He was born in Bethlehem. In other words, Jesus existed before He was born of a virgin. He existed before He came to earth as the Son of God.
Prophets Foretold the Existence of Jesus
Thousands of years before Jesus came to earth as a human, the Old Testament prophets predicted His coming as the long awaited Messiah, the incarnation of God.
Isaiah records a lot about the coming Messiah. He prophesied that the Messiah would be born of a virgin, and God would send a sign. The major prophet also predicted that "For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on His shoulders. These will be His royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of His ancestor David" (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Isaiah 53 is known as the prophecy of the suffering servant. The prophet tells how the Messiah would suffer and be rejected by His own people.
The minor prophet Micah predicted the birthplace of Jesus would be in the little town of Bethlehem far away from where Mary and Joseph lived (Micah 5:2). Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem when Mary was about to give birth to the baby to fulfill the scripture.
Zechariah also spoke about the coming Messiah. According to Zechariah 9:9, the Messiah would ride into Jerusalem triumphantly on a donkey before He would be sentenced to death and crucified on the cross before the week was over. He also foretold that Jesus would be betrayed for 30 shekels of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13), the same price paid for the life of a slave.
Incarnation of Jesus
The angel Gabriel announced to Mary that the Holy Ghost woull come upon her and overshadow her. She would give birth to a child and he would be called the Son of God and His name would be Jesus. Mary did not understand it because she was a virgin. She told the angel, "Be it unto me according to thy word" (Luke 1:35, 38).
The child was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was born of the virgin Mary just as the angel had announced. Jesus performed miracles, healed the sick, and raised the dead. He taught and preached until He was crucified to atone for the sins of the world. He rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven from where He promised He would return.
Only the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke tell about the birth of Jesus. The other two gospels, Mark and John tell about the life and ministry of Jesus. All four gospel writers tell about Jesus' teaching, preaching, performing miracles, and healing.
Timeline of Jesus' Birth
Jesus' birth, life and ministry can be clearly seen through the following timeline.
- Pre-existence of Jesus
- Prophesies of the coming Messiah
- Fulfillment of Old Testament prophesies
- Announcements of Jesus' birth to Mary and Joseph
- Jesus' birth in Bethlehem
- Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist
- Ministry of Jesus
- Jesus' death on the cross
- Resurrection of Jesus
- Ascension of Jesus
- Jesus' promise to return
Christmas Is More Than Receiving Gifts
It would be very nice for people to know that Christmas is more than giving and receiving gifts. Some people spend thousands of dollars on Christmas gifts. God would be pleased if they gave His one and only Son as a gift.
Jesus is the gift that came wrapped in flesh (John 1:1-5). Jesus is the gift that outlasts all other gifts. Jesus is the gift that keeps on giving. Jesus is the gift that doesn't need to be returned because of a wrong size. The best news of all is that Jesus is a free gift that is available to all who will accept Him.