The Man Who Circumcised Jesus
by Kenneth Westby
“Shepherds in the Judean hills east of Bethlehem were the first to see that something unusual was taking place. It was a dark night as the new moon of the seventh month had yet no light to cast. Bethlehem lay in shadows in the distance, typical of all small towns before the modern age. During the day there had been much travel on the road passing through Bethlehem leading to Jerusalem, but now deep into the night all was quiet and the stars shown bright.
It was fall and the Feast of Tabernacles was fast approaching. Soon Jerusalem and the Temple courts would be thronged with Jews celebrating the most joyous festival of the year. In addition to the festival crowds the Roman overlords, for taxation purposes, had ordered another census of Judea requiring males to travel to their ancestral territory. Many were traveling in Israel that season, including a humble couple who had journeyed from Nazareth in the north to be registered in Bethlehem, the city of King David.
Joseph was of Davidic decent and his pregnant wife, Mary, joined him on the trek. With so many travelers coming and going, it was no surprise the couple could find no lodging in Bethlehem. But Mary’s child chose that night to be born, and they had no choice but to settle for the shelter of an animal stall….”
(this article is an excerpt from the March–April 2007 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)
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