Chronology of the Birth and Life of Jesus Christ

Virgin Mary with baby Jesus

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Learn about important events in the first half of the Christian Savior's life, including his birth, boyhood, and maturity into manhood. This chronology also includes significant events regarding John the Baptist as he prepared the way for Jesus.

Revelation to Zacharias Regarding the Birth of John

Zacharias and the Angel

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Luke 1:5-25

While at the temple in Jerusalem, the priest Zacharias was visited by the Angel Gabriel who promised Zacharias that his wife, Elisabeth, although barren and "stricken in years" (verse 7), would bear him a son and that his name would be John.

Zacharias didn't believe the angel and was struck dumb, unable to speak. After he completed his time at the temple, Zacharias returned home. Soon after his return, Elisabeth conceived a child.

The Annunciation: Revelation to Mary Regarding the Birth of Jesus

The Annunciation - Filippo Lippi

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Luke 1:26-38

In Nazareth of Galilee, during Elisabeth's sixth month of pregnancy, the Angel Gabriel visited Mary and announced to her that she would be the mother of Jesus, the Savior of the world. Mary, who was a virgin and espoused (engaged) to Joseph, asked the angel, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" (verse 34). The angel said the Holy Ghost would come upon her and that it would be through the power of God. Mary was humble and meek and submitted herself to the will of the Lord.

Mary Visits Elisabeth

Luke 1:39-56

​During the Annunciation, the angel also told Mary that her cousin, Elisabeth, although in her old age and barren, had conceived a son, "For with God nothing shall be impossible" (verse 37). This must have been a great comfort to Mary because soon after the angel's visit she traveled to the hill country of Judea to visit her kinswoman, Elisabeth.

Upon Mary's arrival there follows a beautiful interchange between these two righteous women. When she heard Mary's voice, Elisabeth's "babe leaped in her womb" and she was filled with the Holy Ghost, which blessed her to know that Mary was pregnant with the Son of God. Mary's reply (verses 46-55) to Elisabeth's salutation is called the Magnificat, or the hymn of the Virgin Mary.

John Is Born

Luke 1:57-80

Elisabeth carried her baby to full term (see verse 57) and then bore a son. Eight days later when the boy was to be circumcised, the family wanted to name him Zacharias after his father, but Elisabeth said, "he shall be called John" (verse 60). The people protested and then turned to Zacharias for his opinion. Still mute, Zacharias wrote on a writing tablet, "His name is John" (verse 63). Immediately Zacharias' ability to speak was restored, he was filled with the Holy Ghost, and he praised God.

Revelation to Joseph Regarding the Birth of Jesus

Joseph's Dream by Giotto di Bondone, fresco Italy, Padua, Capella Scrovegni, Arena Chapel, circa1305-13

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Matthew 1:18-25

Sometime after Mary's return from her three-month visit with Elisabeth, it was discovered that Mary was pregnant. Since Joseph and Mary were not yet married, and Joseph knew the child was not his, Mary's supposed unfaithfulness could publicly be punishable by her death. But Joseph was a righteous, merciful man and chose to privately sever their engagement (see verse 19).

After making this decision Joseph had a dream in which the Angel Gabriel appeared to him. Joseph was told of the virgin Mary's immaculate conception and the upcoming birth of Jesus and was commanded to take Mary to wife, which he did.

The Nativity: The Birth of Jesus

Basilica of the Nativity, Israel

Dan Lundber/CC BY-SA 2.0/Flickr

Luke 2:1-20

As the birth of Jesus drew near, Caesar Augustus sent out a decree for all to be taxed. A census was put into place, and according to Jewish custom, the people were required to register at their ancestral homes. Thus, Joseph and Mary (who was "great with child" see verse 5) traveled to Bethlehem. With the taxation causing the travel of so many people, the inns were all full, all that was available was a lone stable.

The Son of God, the greatest of us all, was born in the lowest of circumstances and slept in a manger. An angel appeared to local shepherds who were watching over their flocks and told them of the birth of Jesus. They followed the star and worshiped the baby Jesus.

The Genealogies of Jesus

Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38

There are two genealogies of Jesus: the account in Matthew is of the legal successors to the throne of David, while the one in Luke is a literal list from father-to-son. Both genealogies link Joseph (and thus Mary who was his cousin) to King David. Through Mary, Jesus was born in the royal lineage and inherited the right to David's throne.​

Jesus is Blessed and Circumcised

Luke 2:21-38

Eight days after the birth of Jesus, the Christ child was circumcised and he was named Jesus (see verse 21). After Mary's days of purification were complete, the family traveled to the temple in Jerusalem where Jesus was presented to the Lord. A sacrifice was offered and the holy baby was blessed by the priest, Simeon.

Visit of the Wise Men; Flight to Egypt

The adoration of the Magi

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Matthew 2:1-18

After some time had passed, but before Jesus was two years old, a group of Magi or "wise men" came to witness that the Son of God had been born in the flesh. These righteous men were guided by the Spirit and followed the new star until they found the Christ child. They bestowed upon him three gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

When searching for Jesus, the wise men had stopped and inquired of King Herod, who became threatened by news of this "King of the Jews." He asked the wise men to return and tell him where they'd found the baby, but being warned in a dream, they did not return to Herod. Joseph, also warned in a dream, took Mary and the baby Jesus and fled to Egypt.

Young Jesus Teaches In the Temple

Child Jesus in Temple by Duccio di Buoninsegna

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Matthew 2:19-23; Luke 2:39-50

After the death of King Herod, the Lord commanded Joseph to take his family and return to Nazareth, which he did. We learn how Jesus "grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him" (verse 40).

Each year Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. When Jesus was twelve years old he tarried, while his parents left for the return trip home, thinking he was with their company. Realizing he wasn't there, they frantically began to search, eventually finding him at the temple in Jerusalem, where he was teaching the doctors who were "hearing him, and asking him questions" (JST verse 46).

Boyhood and Youth of Jesus

Jesus Christ praying in the garden of Gethsemene

Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Luke 2:51-52

From His birth and throughout His life, Jesus grew and developed into a mature, sinless man. As a boy, Jesus learned from both of His fathers: Joseph and His real father, God the Father.

From John, we learn that Jesus "received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness" (D&C 93:13).
From modern revelation we learn:

  • "And it came to pass that Jesus grew up with his brethren, and waxed strong, and waited upon the Lord for the time of his ministry to come.
  • "And he served under his father, and he spake not as other men, neither could he be taught; for he needed not that any man should teach him.
  • "And after many years, the hour of his ministry drew nigh" (JST Matt 3:24-26).
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