Every year before Christmas we see many displays of the birth of Jesus. The display normally consists of a baby in a manger with Joseph, Mary, some shepherds, and the Wise Men gathered around him. The birth of Jesus was an important event in history and it is appropriate that we should remember it but our traditional picture of how it happened is inaccurate. The Wise Men were not there. They were probably still in their home country and hadn’t even started their journey to Bethlehem.
Most of the elements in the traditional manger scene are taken from Luke’s gospel. He tells us why Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem in the first place and that they had to lay Jesus in a manger because there was no room in the inn. He describes the visit of the shepherds to see the baby. But he never speaks of the Wise Men here or anyplace else. Read the rest of this entry
If you read the Bible regularly you know that much of it consists of genealogies. Many of us find them uninteresting; we skim through them and wonder why they are in the Bible at all. But if we believe the Bible was inspired by God we must also believe that the genealogies are important or God wouldn’t have included them in the Bible in the first place.
We live in a culture which emphasizes individual rights and freedoms. Sometimes we focus so much on individuality that we forget we are also connected to others. The genealogies remind us of one of the most important connections, that of family.
The Bible contains many genealogies. They can be very boring and when I read through the Bible I often skim over them without studying them in detail but they do shed light on one very controversial issue regarding the interpretation of the Bible.
The Bible contains four accounts of the life of Jesus which are very different from each other and each one contains some information that isn’t in the others. Some of the differences are so great that the gospels almost seem to contradict each other. Why would God inspire men to write four different accounts rather than just one?