When Was Jesus Born?

This is not an easy question to answer because no one is 100% sure when Jesus was born. The Romans originally kept track of dates using three complicated dating systems based on lunar cycles and significant events. One day a brilliant monk invented the concept of A.D. and counted backward to when he believed Jesus was born – calling that year 1 A.D. This is the system we still live by.

The problem with this is that Matthew 2:1 tells us Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod, who died somewhere between what is now called 4 B.C. – 1 B.C. Not to mention the Magi would have needed 1-2 years to see the star, start their trek, visit Jerusalem, and speak with Herod, which is why some theologians place the year of Jesus’ birth as 6 B.C. – 4 B.C. It gets even trickier though…Luke 3:1 tells us John the Baptist was preaching in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar which would have been the year 29 A.D.

We know Jesus’ public ministry started right after that. We also know in Luke 3:23 it states He was about 30 years old. Based on all of this, most theologians have determined His birth to be between 3 B.C. – 2 B.C. The most important thing to remember is that while we may be confused by the timing of what happened in history, God is not. Everything is done according to His flawless plan and His perfect knowledge. When Jesus was born is a fun fact to learn, but who He is and who He died for is much more important.

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