- The genealogy differences of Luke 3 and Matthew 1 how to reconcile them?
- The value of Christmas being celebrated by Christians today, does it matter?
- Virgin Birth of Jesus and the Biblical evidence of it, what impact does it have?
- Was the star in the east a miracle that the magi followed?
- What were the days, months and years of events of the Christmas in sequence?
- Should believers use the Nativity or other Christmas symbols like trees to celebrate?
Christmas Questions lesson 2
Question #3. Virgin Birth: Class Discussion
- What would you answer to someone who said the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ is not important?
- Which verses would you give to prove that the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ is important?
- Which religions do not believe in the Virgin Birth?
#3. Question: “Why is the Virgin Birth so important?”
- “Answer: The doctrine of the virgin birth is crucially important (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27, 34). First, let’s look at how Scripture describes the event. In response to Mary’s question, “How will this be?” (Luke 1:34), Gabriel says, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Luke 1:35). The angel encourages Joseph to not fear marrying Mary with these words: “What is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20). Matthew states that the virgin “was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18). Galatians 4:4 also teaches the Virgin Birth: “God sent His Son, born of a woman.”
From these passages, it is certainly clear that Jesus’ birth was the result of the Holy Spirit working within Mary’s body. The immaterial (the Spirit) and the material (Mary’s womb) were both involved. Mary, of course, could not impregnate herself, and in that sense she was simply a “vessel.” Only God could perform the miracle of the Incarnation.
However, denying a physical connection between Mary and Jesus would imply that Jesus was not truly human. Scripture teaches that Jesus was fully human, with a physical body like ours. This He received from Mary. At the same time, Jesus was fully God, with an eternal, sinless nature (John 1:14; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:14-17.)
Jesus was not born in sin; that is, He had no sin nature (Hebrews 7:26). It would seem that the sin nature is passed down from generation to generation through the father (Romans 5:12, 17, 19). The Virgin Birth circumvented the transmission of the sin nature and allowed the eternal God to become a perfect man.”-got questions.com
Recommended Resources: The Case for Christmas by Lee Strobel and Logos Bible Software.
Question # 4. The star in the East: Class Discussion
- What do most scholars say was the reason for the star in the east that guided the Magi?
- What difference does the guiding star make and the validity of the star?
- How many times did stars or lights get mentioned in the Scriptures and what are the cases?
“Matthew 2:1-9: Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'” Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. (New King James Version)
There have been many attempts to explain the Christmas Star scientifically, and three ideas will be mentioned here.
Some scholars think this “star” was a comet, an object traditionally connected with important events in history, such as the birth of kings. However, records of comet sightings do not match up with the Lord’s birth. For example, Halley’s Comet was present in 11 B.C., but the first Christmas took place around 5 to 7 B.C.
Others believe that the Star of Bethlehem was a conjunction, or gathering of planets in the night sky. Since planets orbit the sun at different speeds and distances, they occasionally seem to approach each other closely. Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) preferred this view. However, multiple planets do not look like a single light source, as described in Scripture. Also, planet alignments are rather frequent and therefore not that unusual. There was a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 6 B.C., but an even closer gathering in 66 B.C., much too early!
Finally, an exploding star, or supernova, has been proposed to explain the Christmas Star. Some stars are unstable and explode in this way with a bright blaze. However, historical records do not indicate a supernova at the time of the Lord’s birth.
All three explanations for the Star of Bethlehem fall short of the nativity story as predicted in Numbers 24:17 and recorded in Matthew 2:1-12.
Two details in Matthew are of special interest:
First, the text implies that only the Magi saw the star. However comets, conjunctions, and exploding stars would be visible to everyone on earth.
Second, the star went before the Magi and led them directly from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. This is a distance of about six miles, in a direction from north to south. However, every natural object in the sky moves from east to west due to the earth’s rotation. It also is difficult to imagine how a natural light could lead the way to a particular house.
The conclusion is that the Star of Bethlehem cannot be naturally explained by science! It was a temporary and supernatural light. After all, the first Christmas was a time of miracles.
God has often used special, heavenly lights to guide his people, such as the glory that filled the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-38) and the temple (1 Kings 8:10) and that shone upon the apostle Paul (Acts 9:3). Such visible signs of God’s presence are known as the Shekinah Glory, or dwelling place of God. This special light is a visible manifestation of divine majesty.
The great mystery of the first Christmas is not the origin of its special star. It is the question of why the Magi were chosen to follow the light to the Messiah and why we are given the same invitation today.”