At the time of Jesus’ birth, people traveled by foot, by animal, or in a cart. Nazareth to Bethlehem was a four to six-day journey over rough tracks with wild animals and robbers. People usually traveled in groups for their own protection.
Donkeys or asses were the normal animals used to carry loads and are still used in many countries today. Horses were only used by the rich or as a war animal.
The hand of God is seen everywhere, even here, with His using the Roman Census to get Jesus to be born in Bethlehem.
Jesus, to be the Messiah and Savior of the world, had to fulfill a number of prophecies. Can you think of any?
Background Reading: – Mary travels with Joseph
5 He went there to be registered with Mary, who had been promised to him in marriage and was pregnant.
We do not know the name or breed of the donkey that was used to carry Mary, who was pregnant at the time with Jesus.
The trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem could have taken 4-6 days by foot to cover the 120 km or 90-mile journey.
Traveling in winter, e.g. December, would be unlikely because of the cold and rain.
If the census was taken over a period of time, then Joseph and Mary could have gone to Bethlehem and been in Jerusalem at one of the three feasts. All Jewish males were compelled to attend.
The three feasts are:
1. Unleavened bread (which includes Passover): was in spring.
2. Pentecost: was in late spring.
3. Tabernacles: was in autumn – see Leviticus 8:10. John 1:14. Jesus “dwelt among us”. Literally, the meaning is – Jesus “tabernacled among us”.
Jerusalem covered one square mile and had an estimated population of 200,000, with one million Pilgrims annually, mainly arriving for the religious feasts.
Other modules in this unit:
- The Angel Gabriel spoke to Mary about the birth of Jesus – Luke 1:26-38
- Mary got a visit from the Angel Gabriel – Luke 1:39-40
- Elizabeth gets a visit from Mary – Luke 1:41-45
- Mary offered a hymn of praise to God – Luke 1:46-56
- An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream – Matthew 1:18-25
- Joseph goes to Bethlehem – Luke 2:1-4
- Mary traveled with Joseph on a donkey – Luke 2:5
- Jesus a newly born baby – Luke 2:6-7 and Matthew 1:18-25
- Shepherds keeping watch – Luke 2:8-12 and 2:15-20
- Angels praised God for the birth of Jesus – Luke 2:13-14
- Jesus at 40 days old was taken to the Temple – Luke 2:22-24
- Simeon blesses Jesus – Luke 2:25-35
- Anna the Prophetess – Luke 2:36-38
- Magi traveled from the east to find Jesus – Matthew 2:1-12
- The visit of the Magi to Herod – Matthew 2:3-8
- Magi followed the star to a house – Matthew 2:9-10
- Jesus as a child in a house – Matthew 2:11-12
- Joseph takes Jesus and escapes to Egypt – Matthew 2:13-15
- King Herod the Great plans how to kill Jesus – Matthew 2:16-18
- The return from Egypt to Nazareth – Matthew 2:19-23
- Jesus about twelve years old – Luke 2:41-52
- The cross is still to come – Luke 22:1-24:53 and Matthew 26:1-28:20
- Questions and Answers 1-11
- Questions and Answers 12-23
- Timeline for Birth of Jesus – The Christmas Story
- Background Information – Birth of Jesus – The Christmas Story
- Resources – Birth of Jesus
- Next Module – Ministry of Jesus » »