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7 Interesting Things You Probably Never Realized About Jesus

The Bible is rich with details that, if we’re not careful, we can gloss right over. Or perhaps sometimes the full meaning of what we’re reading doesn’t sink in or we don't take the time to connect other historically significant dots. How else can we explain the following little-talked-about but truly fascinating things about Jesus? You may be amazed at what you never knew or fully understood about the Son of God.
Juan Pablo Di Pace as Jesus in "A.D. The Bible Continues"

The Bible is rich with details that, if we’re not careful, we can gloss right over. Or perhaps sometimes the full meaning of what we’re reading doesn’t sink in or we don’t take the time to connect other historically significant dots. How else can we explain the following little-talked-about but truly fascinating things about Jesus? You may be amazed at what you never knew or fully understood about the Son of God.

1. Jesus Could Have Been an October Baby

The Bible doesn’t give us the date of Jesus’ birth. But it does give us a clue as to the time of year.

We know from Luke’s account that Jesus was born at a time when shepherds were grazing their flocks in the fields and hillsides:

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
(Luke 2:8–12 NIV)

Based on this passage, many scholars say Jesus was born in the fall, since that is a more likely time for shepherds to be grazing their flocks in the fields around Jerusalem than December.

2. Jesus Had Brothers and Sisters . . . And There Was Sibling Drama

Jesus wasn’t an only child. He had four half-brothers: James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. Jesus had half-sisters, too, although the Bible doesn’t tell us how many, or give us their names (Mark 6:3).

But listen to this interaction between Jesus and His brothers, as recorded in John 7:1–10:

After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

Given that Jesus’ brothers practically accused Him of being an ambitious attention seeker, and urged Him to show up in a place and manner that could get Him killed, it’s hardly surprising that they aren’t named among Jesus’ followers at any time before His crucifixion. After the resurrection, however, we find them in the upper room along with other disciples of Jesus, praying.

Bible scholars believe Jesus’ brother James wrote the book of James, and that brother Jude wrote the book of Jude.

In other words, the doubting half-brothers came to an unshakable belief that Jesus was, who He said He was the Messiah and Son of God.

3. After Jesus’ Resurrection, Many Saints Who Had Died Left Their Tombs and Were Seen Walking Around the City

This fascinating detail related to Jesus’ death is mentioned in Matthew 27:51 and nowhere else:

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

This passage raises many questions! Were these saints raised from the dead at Jesus’ death and didn’t emerge from their tombs for three days? Or were their tombs broken open in preparation for their resurrection three days later? What happened then? Did they return to their families?

There are no other references to this event, but it certainly speaks to the magnitude of the power of God at work during the death and resurrection of Jesus, as well as foreshadows the coming resurrection of believers when Jesus returns.

4. NASA Has Confirmed Something Mind-Boggling About the Day Jesus Died

“From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land”  (Matthew 27:45).

The darkening of the skies for three hours before Jesus died was observed and recorded by Matthew, Mark (15:33) and Luke 23:44).

Could God have used a solar eclipse to darken the skies prior to the death of His son? A solar eclipse takes place when the moon crosses between the earth and the sun, creating partial to full blockage of the sun’s light.

Scholars put the date of Jesus’ death between the years AD 26 and AD 36, with many pinpointing the date of April 3, AD 33. Charting the trajectory and speed of stars and planets, NASA has created historic maps of eclipses through the centuries.

But based on these maps, no solar eclipse is recorded as having occurred over Jerusalem during the time of Jesus’ death.

NASA charts do reveal, however, the occurrence of a rather interesting lunar eclipse. A lunar eclipse takes place when the earth’s shadow covers part of the moon. This was a significant event in the ancient world, justifying Matthew’s dramatic statement.

According to NASA, a lunar eclipse took place on April 3, AD 33. The length of the eclipse? Two hours and 50 minutes.

5. Nix the Long Hair and Robe

Despite familiar images of Jesus wearing long hair and an ankle-length robe, based on what we know about hair trends and clothing in Jesus’s world, it’s unlikely that He wore either.

In Jesus’s day, most Jewish men typically wore tunics that came just below their knees. While long robes were not unknown, they seem to have been worn primarily by the wealthy, as well as by some teachers seeking status and honor.

It’s also unlikely that Jesus had long hair all over. In the times in which He lived, Jewish rabbis followed the law as outlined in Leviticus 19:27, which states that men should not cut the hair at the sides of their heads or clip off the edges of their beards.

Paul reflects the fashion at the time when he writes to the Corinthians, “Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him?” (1 Corinthians 11:14).

An exception was made for Jews who took a Nazirite vow. Samson was a Nazirite, as was John the Baptist. All indications, however, are that Jesus was not a Nazirite, as He did not follow the conduct required by the vow.

Regardless of how Jesus has been depicted through the centuries, He probably looked like a typical Jewish man of His day, dressed in a knee-length tunic and mantle, most likely with shortish hair and an untrimmed beard. You could argue that He might have looked to the people of His day as our modern day semi-hipsters do in our society—not necessarily wanting to come across like He cared what others thought of His looks, but still putting oil in His beard.

6. Jesus is Worthy of Worship From, Well . . . Pretty Much Everyone and Everything

The Bible portrays Jesus receiving worship from men, angels, heavenly creatures, and that’s just for starters! Many categories of worshippers are mentioned in the Bible, including the following:

John 9:38: Men

Hebrews 1:6: All God’s angels

Luke 24:52: His disciples

Revelation 7:9–10: A multitude in heaven from every nation, tribe, people and language

Revelation 5:8–10: The four living creatures and the 24 elders in heaven

Revelation 5:13: Every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them

Philippians 2:10–11: Everyone, as every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth

There’s an interesting event recorded in Mark 5:2–6, where a demon-possessed man emerges from the tombs to meet Jesus, falling on his knees before Him. The demons in the man cry out, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” While not exactly worshipping Jesus, the demons certainly proclaim the deity of Jesus and submit to His authority. And it happens time and time again. In Mark 3:11 we read that “Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, ‘You are the Son of God.’” And in James 2:19 we are told that the demons believe there is one God and shudder.

Finally, we might as well add rocks to our list of worshippers—or at least potential worshippers. This is because Jesus explains in Luke 19:40 that even the stones will cry out in worship if we are silent.

7. Jesus’ Disciples Probably Weren’t Old Enough to Vote

The Bible doesn’t tell us the ages of Jesus’ disciples, but Jewish traditions during the time of Jesus certainly suggest that His students were likely young men between the ages of 15 and 18.

In Jesus’ day, education for Jewish children wrapped up around age 15. At 15, a young man could be accepted as a student by a rabbi. If he could not find a teacher, he would typically learn a trade as an apprentice, often working alongside a father or family member in the family business. At 18, a Jewish man would receive a wife. At 30, those who were inclined toward teaching could take on students, also known as disciples.

Against this historical backdrop, there are many biblical facts that suggest that most of the disciples were in the 15 to 18 age range:

1. The Bible does not indicate that any of Jesus’ disciples had wives, with the exception of Peter (Matthew 8:14–15), which could indicate these young bachelors had yet to turn 18.

2. James and John were in a boat, preparing nets with their father when Jesus called to them to follow Him. This certainly sounds like the kind of “family business” apprenticeship experienced by many Jewish young men aged 15 and older.

3. If James and John were in their late teens, the appearance of their meddling mom makes more sense. Their mother tries to arrange with Jesus where her sons will sit at His kingdom table, which doesn’t seem like something the mother of two middle-aged men would try to do. The mother of two teenagers, however, is a different story.

4. Jewish men over the age of twenty had to pay an annual tax that was used for the upkeep of the temple. Men under twenty were exempt. It’s interesting to note that in Matthew 17:24-27, Jesus supernaturally provided money for Peter to pay the Temple tax required for Peter and Jesus. Why not for the other disciples? We know that Peter was married, and probably older than the other disciples. Is that why Jesus provided money to pay the tax for only Peter and Jesus? Because they alone were over the age of twenty?

So what do you think? Which fact or theory about Jesus did you find most interesting? Is there anything you learned in the article that changes the way you think about Jesus? If so, how? Do you feel that you mostly know “about” Jesus, or do you feel that you have a personal relationship with Him? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Karen Scalf Bouchard