Let’s begin by reading Luke 2:8-11, “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” According to Jewish historians, it was customary for the Jews to send their sheep to pasture from the spring until early October. As the winter months began to move in, the flocks would return from the fields for shelter and warmth. Since the shepherds were still tending their flocks in the fields around Bethlehem, in all likelihood, the angels announced the news of Jesus’ birth no later than October. Most realize that the Lord Jesus was NOT born on December 25th.

WHAT YEAR WAS JESUS BORN? In giving dates, the entire span of time is divided into B.C. and A.D. It is interesting to note that the purpose of the B.C. /A.D. dating system was to make the birth of Jesus Christ the dividing point of world history. B.C. refers to the time “Before Christ” was born in a manger in Jerusalem. Of course, the use of B.C. was used in hindsight. A.D. comes from the Greek saying, “Anno Domini”. This, being translated to English, simply means, “Year of our Lord” and it refers to the year of the birth of Christ. However, most authors agree that the Lord Jesus WAS NOT born in 1 A.D. In fact, it was in A.D. 525 that Pope John the First asked a monk named Dionysius to prepare a standardized calendar for the western Church. Unfortunately, according to research, Dionysius missed the real B.C. /A.D. division by at least four years! It is thought by most that the Lord Jesus was born 4-6 B.C.

WHAT YEAR WAS JESUS CRUCIFIED? Let’s begin by reading Luke 3:21-23, “Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age…” It was after Christ was baptized by John the Baptist that He began His public ministry. Verse 23 tells us that Christ was “about thirty years of age” at that time. While we have no exact timeline, we can see that the Lord’s ministry years was about 3 ½ years before He was crucified. By using just a little bit of math, we can conclude that the Lord Jesus was crucified around 27-29 A.D.

Is it important to know the dates of the birth and death of the Lord Jesus? It was obviously important to the one who asked the question, but it is most important to know that the Lord was truly born into the world and that he died on the cross for our sins. We read in Galatians 4:4-5, “But when THE FULNESS OF THE TIME WAS COME, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem THEM that were under the law, that WE might receive the adoption of sons.” We see, then, that the Lord Jesus came at the exact time that He should have come. And His purpose in coming was for the redemption of sinful men and women. Notice that the Apostle Paul uses the words ‘THEM’ and ‘WE’ in verse 5. “THEM” refers to Israel, and “WE” refers to all the Gentile nations.

Concerning the Lord’s birth and death, we read in 1 Timothy 1:15, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that CHRIST JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS; of whom I am chief. Then we read in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS according to the scriptures; And that HE WAS BURIED, and that HE ROSE AGAIN the third day according to the scriptures.” Whatever month or year in which He was born, or whatever year He was crucified, certainly the fact that it happened “according to the scriptures” is cause for eternal thankfulness and celebration. (281.8)