Happy Birthday, Lord

Q. My pastor believes that Jesus was born in the Spring, March or April because of the shepherds tending their sheep at that time of the year when the angels appeared to them in the fields, and because the Lord also died in the Spring when he was 33 which would match the time of his birth. Why do you believe that the Lord was born in September? Thank you, as always, for your great insights and for your ministry.

A. My view that Jesus was born in the fall is based on things we know about the birth of John the Baptist. John was born 6 months before Jesus (Luke 1:26 refers to Mary’s conception in the 6th month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy). There’s a calculation you can go through based on John’s father Zechariah’s position in the 24 divisions of the priesthood that will lead you to Passover as the likely time of John’s birth. Since Passover comes in March-April on our calendar, six months later is obviously September-October. Read this article to get all the background and detail that I used to support my conclusion.

By the way, shepherds would also be tending their sheep in open fields in September-October, and the idea of Jesus being exactly 33 at the time of His crucifixion is more tradition than fact. All we know from the Bible is that Jesus was “about 30 years old when He began His ministry “(Luke 3:23).

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