I know it was not absolute silence. A few shepherds, a few wise men from a distant land and some close family witnessed the miracle. Also the new star even led to a mad search to hunt and kill the future King. However, this reason for the killings did not seem to have been published and basically the Jewish world at large, let alone the Gentile one, did not seem to notice that Messiah had come very much at all. In fact there is almost no historical record of anything remotely suggesting the occurrence outside of the gospel accounts. Considering the size of humanity this small fanfare seems more like a little ripple around a pebble slipped quietly into the Ocean.

The question then is 'Why did Messiah arrive in such silence on Christmas day?' Why not a more publicly proclaimed entry of the anointed King and only Son of God into the world? Does it make sense that Messiah would enter covertly and in such secret humility?

2 Answers 2


Part of the reason seems to have been wanting to minimize the drive to direct the Messiah toward worldly goals. Many people wanted a worldly king, e.g., John 6:15 (NIV):

Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again into the hills by himself.

and there was a desire for "bread and circuses" (well full stomachs and miracles), e.g., John 6:26 (NIV):

Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill."

(Note that Jesus' desire for them to follow because of the "miraculous signs" was, I perceive, that this evidence would encourage belief not a desire for them to want to continually see miracles.)

(Herod's desire to see a miracle, expressed in Luke 23:8, seems to be a typical human desire.)

Jesus was trying to draw out true worshipers (John 4:23):

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

Similar mysterious secrecy is expressed, e.g., in Matthew 8:4:

The Jesus said to him, "See that you don't tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."

One parallel passage, Luke 5:14, gives a hint of an additional motive for limited fanfare in later life (which might apply in a different way for childhood): inescapable crowds would make solitary prayer extremely difficult.

  • 1
    +1 - those are some valid points. Jesus use of parables is also along the lines of your points as a kind of covert ministry.
    – Mike
    Commented Dec 24, 2012 at 15:05

For a God who always seeks to woo and not to overwhelm, this is exactly what you would expect. God could, if he chose, bring more power to bear than any of us could handle. He could force himself into everything, if that were His nature. But, as a person (not a force) who seeks to love and be loved for who He is, this makes perfect sense.

As King Henry walked amongst his troops before Agincourt, he came in disguise that his men could be encouraged by his zeal but not overwhelmed by his title. He would have his men genuinely love him for what was in his heart and not upon His crest. Our God is not different. He is Immanuel. He is God with us. Not over us (though he is), not obliterating us, but lovingly being with us.

A God that powerful but also that good must act in such terms if he is to stay true to who he is.

  • Good aspect, I never connected this idea to the question but it fits well
    – Mike
    Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 9:39

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