working together for the future of faith
(2a) Matt 1:18-25
(2b) Matt 2:13-15
(2c) Matt 2:16-18
(2d) Matt 2:19-23
(3a) Luke 2:1-7
(3b) Luke 2:8-20
(3c) Luke 2:21-40
(?4) InJas 17:1-11; 19:1-19
(1) Gal 4:4b
/4:4/ But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, /5/ in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.
(2a) Matt 1:18-25
/1:18/ The birth of Jesus the Anointed took place as follows: While his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they slept together, she was found to be pregnant by the holy spirit. /19/ Since Joseph her husband was a decent man and did not wish to expose her publicly, he planned to break off their engagement quietly.
/20/ While he was thinking about these things, a messenger of the Lord surprised him in a dream with these words: “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t hesitate to take Mary as your wife, since the holy spirit is responsible for her pregnancy. /21/ She will give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus—the name means ‘he will save his people from their sins.’” /22/ All of this has happened so the prediction of the Lord given by the prophet would come true:
/23/ Behold, a virgin will conceive a child
and she will give birth to a son,
and they will name him Emmanuel
(which means “God with us”).
/24/ Joseph got up and did what the messenger of the Lord told him: he took <Mary as> his wife. /25/ He did not have sex with her until she had given birth to a son. Joseph named him Jesus. [Complete Gospels]
For Matt 2:1-12 (the Magi's visit), see 369. Star of Revelation
(2b) Matt 2:13-15 (Flight to Egypt)
/2:13/ After <the astrologers> had departed, a messenger of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph, saying, “Get ready, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I give you instructions. You see, Herod is determined to hunt the child down and destroy him.”
/14/ So Joseph got ready and took the child and his mother under cover of night and set out for Egypt. /15/ There they remained until Herod’s death. This happened so the Lord’s prediction spoken by the prophet would come true:
Out of Egypt I have called my son. [Complete Gospels]
(2c) Matt 2:16-18 (Murder of the Babies)
/2:16/ When Herod realized he had been duped by the astrologers, he was outraged. He then issued instructions to kill all the children two years old and younger in Bethlehem and the surrounding region. This corresponded to the time <of the star> that he had learned from the astrologers. /17/ With this event the prediction made by Jeremiah the prophet came true:
/18/ In Ramah the sound of mourning
and bitter grieving was heard:
Rachel weeping for her children.
She refused to be consoled:
They were no more. [Complete Gospels]
(2d) Matt 2:19-23 (Relocation to Nazareth)
/2:19/ After Herod’s death, a messenger of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt: /20/ ”Get ready, take the child and his mother, and return to the land of Israel; those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.”
/21/ So he got ready, took the child and his mother, and returned to the land of Israel. /22/ He heard that Archelaus was the king of Judea in the place of his father Herod; as a consequence, he was afraid to go there. He was instructed in a dream to go to Galilee; /23/ so he went there and settled in a town called Nazareth. So the prophecy uttered by the prophets came true: “He will be called a Nazorean.” [Complete Gospels]
(3a) Luke 2:1-7 (Babe in a Manger)
/2:1/ In those days it so happened that a decree was issued by Emperor Augustus that a census be taken of the whole civilized world. /2/ This first census was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. /3/ Everybody had to travel to their ancestral city to be counted in the census. /4/ So Joseph too went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the town of David called Bethlehem, because he was a descendant of David, /5/ to be counted in the census with Mary, to whom he was engaged; Mary was pregnant. /6/ It so happened while they were there that the time came for her to give birth; /7/ and she gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough, because the travelers’ shelter was no place for those things. [Complete Gospels]
(3b) Luke 2:8–20 (Shepherds at the Manger)
8Now in the same area there were shepherds living outdoors. They were keeping watch over their sheep at night, 9when a messenger of the Lord stood near them and the glory of the Lord shone around them. They became terrified. 10But the messenger said to them, “Don’t be afraid: I bring you good news of a great joy, which is to benefit the whole nation; 11today in the city of David, the Savior was born to you—he is the Anointed, the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”
13And suddenly there appeared with the messenger a whole troop of the heavenly army praising God:
14Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people whom he has favored!
15It so happened when the messengers left and returned to heaven that the shepherds said to one another, “Come on! Let’s go over to Bethlehem and see what has happened, the event the Lord has told us about.” 16And they hurried away, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a feeding trough. 17And when they saw it they reported what they had been told about this child. 18Everyone who listened was astonished at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary took all this in and reflected on it. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; everything turned out just as they had been told. [Complete Gospels]
(3c) Luke 2:21-40 (Circumcision)
/2:21/ Now eight days later, when the time came to circumcise him, they gave him the name Jesus, the name assigned him by the heavenly messenger before he was conceived in the womb.
/22/ Now when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord /23/ as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb is to be considered holy to the Lord” /24/ and to offer sacrifice according to what is dictated in the Law of the Lord: “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
/25/ Now there was a man in Jerusalem, named Simeon, a decent and devout man who was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the holy spirit was with him. /26/ It had been disclosed to him by the holy spirit that he would not see death before he had laid eyes on the Lord’s Anointed. /27/ And so he was guided by the spirit to the temple area. When the parents brought in the child Jesus, to perform for him what was customary according to the Law, /28/ he took him in his arms and blessed God: /29/ ”Now, Lord, you can dismiss your slave in peace, according to your word, /30/ now that my eyes have seen your salvation, /31/ which you have prepared in the sight of all the peoples 32a revelatory light for foreigners, and glory for your people Israel.”
/33/ His father and mother were astonished at what was being said about him.
/34/ Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “This child is linked to the fall and rise of many in Israel, and is destined to be a sign that is rejected. /35/ You too will have your heart brokenæand the schemes of many minds will be exposed.”
/36/ A prophetess was also there, Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well along in years, since she had married as a young girl and lived with her husband for seven years, /37/ and then alone as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple area, and she worshiped day and night with fasting and prayer. /38/ Coming on the scene at that very moment, she gave thanks to God, and began to speak about the child to all who were waiting for the liberation of Jerusalem.
/39/ And when they had carried out everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to Nazareth, their own city. /40/ And the boy grew up and became strong, and was filled with wisdom; and God regarded him favorably. [Complete Gospels]
(?4) InJas 17:1-11; 19:1-19; 22:1-9
/17:1/ Now an order came from the Emperor Augustus that everybody in Bethlehem of Judea be enrolled in the census. /2/ And Joseph wondered, “I’ll enroll my sons, but what am I going to do with this girl? How will I enroll her? /3/ As my wife? I’m ashamed to do that. As my daughter? The people of Israel know she’s not my daughter. /4/ How this is to be decided depends on the Lord.”
/5/ And so he saddled his donkey and had her get on it. His son led it and Samuel brought up the rear. /6/ As they neared the three mile marker, Joseph turned around and saw that she was sulking. /7/ And he said to himself, “Perhaps the baby she is carrying is causing her discomfort.” /8/ Joseph turned around again and saw her laughing and said to her, “Mary, what’s going on with you? One minute I see you laughing and the next minute you’re sulking.”
/9/ And she replied, “Joseph, it’s because I imagine two peoples in front of me, one weeping and mourning and the other celebrating and jumping for joy.”
/10/ Halfway through the trip Mary said to him, “Joseph,help me down from the donkey--the child inside me is about to be born.”
/11/ And he helped her down and said to her, “Where will I take you to give you some privacy, since this place is out in the open?” [Complete Gospels]
/19:1/ ”Then I saw a woman coming down from the hill country, and she asked, ‘Where are you going, sir?’
/2/ ”I replied, ‘I am looking for a Hebrew midwife.’
/3/ ”She inquired, ‘Are you an Israelite?’
/4/ ”I told her, ‘Yes.’
/5/ ”And she said, ‘And who’s the one having a baby in the cave?’
/6/ ”I replied, ‘My fiancée.’
/7/ ”And she continued, ‘She isn’t your wife?’
/8/ ”I said to her, ‘She is Mary, who was raised in the temple of the Lord; I obtained her by lot as my wife. /9/ But she’s not really my wife; she’s pregnant by the holy spirit.’
/10/ ”The midwife said, ‘Really?’”
/11/ Joseph responded, “Come and see.”
/12/ And the midwife went with him. /13/ As they stood in front of the cave, a dark cloud overshadowed it. /14/ The midwife said, “I’ve really been privileged, because today my eyes have seen a miracle in that salvation has come to Israel.”
/15/ Suddenly the cloud withdrew from the cave and an intense light appeared inside the cave, so that their eyes could not bear to look. /16/ And a little later that light receded until an infant became visible; he took the breast of his mother Mary.
/17/ Then the midwife shouted: “What a great day this is for me because I’ve seen this new miracle!”
/18/ And the midwife left the cave and met Salome and said to her, “Salome, Salome, let me tell you about a new marvel: a virgin has given birth, and you know that’s impossible!”
/19/ And Salome replied, “As the Lord my God lives, unless I insert my finger and examine her, I will never believe that a virgin has given birth.” [Complete Gospels]
/22:1/ When Herod realized he had been duped by the astrologers, he flew into a rage /2/ and dispatched his executioners with instructions to kill all the infants two years old and younger.
/3/ When Mary heard that the infants were being killed, she was frightened /4/and took her child, wrapped him in strips of cloth, and put him in a feeding trough used by cattle.
/5/ As for Elizabeth, when she heard that they were looking for John, she took him and went up into the hill country. /6/ She kept searching for a place to hide him, but there was none to be had. /7/ Then she groaned and said out loud, “Mountain of God, please take in a mother with her child.” You see, Elizabeth was unable to keep on climbing because her nerve failed her. /8/ But suddenly the mountain was split open and let them in. This mountain allowed the light to shine through to her, /9/ since a messenger of the Lord was with them for protection. [Complete Gospels]
RCL & RC: Christmas & Christmas 1
ECUSA : Christmas
John Dominic Crossan
Stratum: II (60-80 CE)
The voting data here is from the October 1994 meeting of the Jesus Seminar. The data was originally published in The Fourth R 7,5-6 (1994) and republished in Forum NS 2,1 (1999) 169-72.
Color Matthew 1:18-2:23 Mary was the name of Jesus' mother. 92 8 0 0 0.97 Red Joseph was the name of Jesus' father. 62 31 8 0 0.85 Red Jesus was born when Herod the Great was king of the Jews. 27 31 38 4 0.60 Pink Jesus was of Davidic descent. 4 36 48 12 0.44 Gray Jesus was conceived while Mary and Joseph were betrothed. 4 23 54 19 0.37 Gray Mary was a virgin at the time she conceived. 0 29 46 25 0.35 Gray Mary conceived Jesus without sexual intercourse with a man. 0 0 4 96 0.01 Black The statement "Jesus was conceived of the holy spirit" is a theological and not a historical statement. 96 4 0 0 0.99 Red Mary conceived of some unknown man by rape or seduction. 4 12 62 23 0.32 Gray Mary conceived of Joseph. 0 50 46 4 0.49 Gray Jesus was born in Bethlehem. 0 0 4 96 0.01 Black After Jesus was born, magi guided by a star or some other astral phenomenon sought and visited him. 0 0 0 100 0.00 Black After Jesus was born, Jesus was taken to Egypt by his parents. 0 0 0 100 0.00 Black After Jesus was born, children were slaughtered in Bethlehem by Herod. 0 0 4 96 0.01 Black Luke 1:1-56, 2:1-52 John the Baptist was born during the reign of Herod the Great. 4 46 46 4 0.50 Gray John's parents were names Zechariah and Elizabeth. 0 4 80 16 0.29 Gray John was of priestly descent. 0 4 54 42 0.21 Black An angel appeared to Zechariah. 0 0 0 100 0.00 Black John was a spirit filled ascetic. 50 50 0 0 0.83 Red Jesus' parents were named Joseph and Mary. 63 33 0 4 0.85 Red Jesus and John were close relatives. 0 0 19 81 0.06 Black Mary visited the pregnant Elizabeth. 0 0 9 91 0.03 Black John was circumcised on the eighth day. 28 44 24 4 0.65 Pink Neighbors and relatives wanted to name the infant after his father. 0 0 10 90 0.03 Black There was a census of Jews while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 58 16 5 21 0.70 Pink Jesus was born during a universal Roman census. 4 0 12 85 0.08 Black Jesus was laid in an animal feeding trough. 0 0 4 96 0.01 Black Shepherds were the first to celebrate Jesus' birth. 0 0 0 100 0.00 Black Jesus was brought to the Jerusalem temple. 0 8 0 84 0.08 Black Simeon and Anna saw Jesus in the temple 0 8 8 92 0.03 Black Jesus' Family Tree: Matt 1:1-17 The genealogies of Jesus are legitimizing fictions. 92 0 4 4 0.93 Red Jesus was descended from David. 4 16 32 48 0.25 Black Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. 0 12 81 8 0.35 Gray Joseph was the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus. 69 19 8 4 0.85 Red Mary was the mother of Jesus. 100 0 0 0 1.00 Red
For further details of the JS voting on John the Baptist, see 213. John the Baptist
Raymond E. Brown, The Messiah of the Messiah. A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. (New updated edition. Anchor Bible Reference Library. New York: Doubleday, 1993.)
Chilton, Bruce D., Rabbi Jesus. An Intimate Biography. (New York: Doubleday, 2000.)
John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew. Rethinking the Historical Jesus. 1: The Roots of the Problem and the Person. (Anchor Bible Reference Library. New York: Doubleday, 1991.) See especially ch. 5. In the Beginning: The Origins of Jesus of Nazareth (205-52)
Robert J. Miller, Born Divine. The Births of Jesus and Other Sons of God. (Santa Rosa: Polebridge, 2003.)
Jane Schaberg, The Illegitimacy of Jesus. A Feminist Theological Interpretation of the Infancy Narratives. (New York: Crossroads, 1990.)
John Shelby Spong, Born of a Woman. A Bishop Rethinks the Birth of Jesus. (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992.) See especially ch. 8. Behind Luke--An original Pageant? (99-112), ch. 9. Luke's Story, Part I (113-36), and ch. 10. Luke's Story, Part II (137-59).
John Shelby Spong, Liberating the Gospels: Reading the Bible with Jewish Eyes. (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1996.) See especially ch. 11. Jewish Starts in the Stories of Jesus' birth (185-99), ch. 12. Joseph: The Shadowy Figure (201-18), and ch. 13. How the Virgin Birth Tradition Began (219-32).
This poem originated as a contribution to the HODOS online community by Gene Stecher. It is published with Gene's consent but he explicitly retains full rights as the creative author. You welcome to use it for personal study and worship, but it should not be published in any other form without the author's prior consent. Index to Gene Stecher's poems
Horse barn accommodations
Siblings and relatives
So says Paul
Brief paragraph from the Jerusalem Herald, p. 10, c. 30 C.E. Galilean Jew claims that his brother appeared to him after being crucifed. Jesus, from some obscure village called Nazareth, an illegitimate wanderer and wannabe royalist and exorcist, considered crazy even by his relatives ... James may be pushing his own agenda.