One of the things that the gospel authors emphasized in their accounts was that Jesus birth did in fact happen at a particular point of time in history. The historical, geographical, cultural, and religious details mentioned can be proved, explained, and/or be verified historically. The record of biblical events happened in real places showing that the birth of Jesus was real. The power of Holy Spirit overshadowed a virgin woman named Mary and indeed she gave birth to a Son, Jesus in Bethlehem in Judea.
According to the Bible, Jesus was born during the reign of Caesar Augustus (Lk. 2:1). Historically, Caesar Augustus, son of Octavius and Aria, ruled the Roman Empire from 27 B.C. to A.D. 14. Again, Jesus was born in the time of King Herod (Matt. 2:1). Historical evidence indicates King Herod the Great ruled until 4 B.C.; the approximate time Jesus was born.
Further, Mary and Joseph are not fictitious but real people. They both traveled to Bethlehem, a town 96Km south of Nazareth, to take census. Roman government took census every fourteen years for both military and tax purposes, and each person had to return to his homeland or where he own a property. Mary and Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea; to Bethlehem, the town of David because he belonged to the house and line of David. It is here in Bethlehem that Jesus was born (Lk. 2:4) thus fulfilling OT prophecies. This was while Quirinius was the governor of Syria (Lk.2:1-5). Today, we know of a tax census that was done in 6 A.D under Quirinius the governor of Syria; but Luke’s account seems to indicate one a prior to this.
The evidence for the historicity of Jesus is overwhelming; you can’t deny his physical existence in the face of the earth about 2000 years ago.
But why the historical emphasis?
It is very important not just for unbelievers/doubters to know but also for believers. Luke in his carefully investigated account to Theophilus, and by extension to us writes, “so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught” (Lk. 1:4). Luke had unrivalled access to the primary sources, the eye witnesses, and that speaks of the authoritative nature of his account just like other gospel accounts. It is also for us today to know that the things fulfilled and recorded in the NT concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus was “not cleverly invented stories” 2 Pet 1:16 but a clear testimony of the truth.
These historical facts may not increase one’s faith but it confirms the fact that our faith is not based on mythologies, human wisdom, or fictitious stories but on a solid foundation of truth. #merrychristmas