Mary knew. She probably knew it first (except for the prophets who foretold it), and no one could have been more sure than she was. To have been visited by an angel, and then to become pregnant and give birth while still a virgin leaves little room for doubt.
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:35, 38
Elizabeth knew. Somehow Mary knew she would know. She is the first person on record that Mary discussed her situation with (possibly even before Joseph). She didn’t even have to tell her; Elizabeth already knew! Had she “heard it through the grapevine”? No, Elizabeth had apparently been told by the Holy Spirit.
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. . . . And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke 2:39-45
John the Baptist knew. Even as an unborn infant, he apparently recognized that Mary’s arrival, with the babe in her womb, was something special.
And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. Luke 2:41
Joseph knew, but not right away. How would anyone expect him to react when his betrothed shared the news with him that she was expecting a child? He would have known with certainty it wasn’t his child, and Mary’s story was hardly believable. But then he received assurance that her story was, in fact, true, and, in following through with their marriage, became the man who had the honor of raising the Son of God.
But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” . . . When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. Matthew 1:20-21, 24-25
The shepherds knew, unsuspecting though they were. It was just an ordinary night until the sky was filled with angels, announcing that a Savior had been born. They were compelled to go see this baby for themselves, and once they did, they wanted everyone else to know about it too!
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. Luke 2:8-18
The wise men knew. We don’t know who they were or exactly where they came from. We don’t know how they knew, but they did. Why else would they journey through the desert for weeks, months or even years, with nothing to guide them but a star? Why would they bring expensive gifts to present to a baby they’d never even met? Why would they worship Him?
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” . . . After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11
Simeon knew. God had promised him he wouldn’t die until he saw the promised Messiah, and he knew when he saw this baby that God’s promise had been fulfilled. The Holy Spirit came upon him, and he prophesied:
He took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:28-35
Anna knew, an elderly prophetess who apparently lived in the temple. She too, wanted to tell everyone.
And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:38
What did all these people have in common? They were males and females, young and old, Jews and Gentiles, but they all knew. They knew because they found out in some supernatural way. God used some method to open their eyes and allow them to see something that others didn’t.
To most of the world, He was just an ordinary baby. This world will soon celebrate Christmas, but what are they celebrating? The birth of a baby boy over 2,000 years ago, but do they really know that He was anything but ordinary?
Only if God has revealed it to them, if through the Holy Spirit, He has opened their eyes to this fact. Only then, do they know that this baby was God in human form, come to earth to bring them salvation through His death on the cross. Only then will they believe.
I know. And I am forever thankful for my salvation, which came through this baby born in Bethlehem.
Do you know?
At that time Jesus declared,“I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. . .” Mt. 11:25-26
These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. I Cor. 2:10-13