Only two of the Gospels record Jesus’ birth – Matthew and Luke. They come at the story from different perspectives and there are no real problems between the two, until we read about the events that came after the birth.
In Matthew’s account, there is some major stuff going on! The wise men come to see the child in Bethlehem, and are warned in a dream to not return to Herod because he’s planning an outrage of epic proportions. Likewise, Joseph is told to take his family and flee to Egypt because Herod is looking to destroy the child.
Joseph, Mary, and Jesus flee to Egypt and Herod slaughters all the male children under two years old in Bethlehem and surrounding areas. Once Herod dies, Joseph and his family return to Nazareth. Matthew points out that this was done so that the word of the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled: "Out of Egypt I called My Son."
In Luke’s account, Jesus is circumcised eight days after the birth and they remain in the area of Jerusalem for about forty days (to complete the time of purification) and then they take Jesus to the temple to present him to the Lord. When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Nazareth and the child ". . . grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him."
No dramatic flight to Egypt. No devastating slaughtering of the children.
Why the difference? Did Luke simply choose to leave out a few major details because he didn’t consider them germane to his purpose in writing the story? Or was he ignorant of the additional stories in Matthew?
Are they reconcilable? Or are these just two versions of the same myth?
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