Luke Chapter Two
v.1-2“1And it came to pass
in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the
world should be taxed. 2(And this taxing was first made
when Cyrenius was governor of
Luke now turns to a
time a little after the birth of John the Baptizer; remember he’s six months
older than Jesus, and sets the stage for the time that Jesus is to be
born. Augustus Caesar is the emperor of
Acts “37After this man rose up Judas of
v.3-5 “3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.”
This taxing and census
was done in
I Samuel 16:1 “1And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul,
seeing I have rejected him from reigning over
He takes Mary with him
even though she is very close to the time that she is to deliver her
child. The town of
v.6-7 “6And so it was, that, while they were there,
the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7And she
brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid
him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the
Joseph and Mary had come all the way
v.8-9 “8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.”
The country around
During this particular evening the angel of the Lord, possibly Gabriel himself, appeared to them and Luke records that the glory of the Lord shone round about them
v.10 “10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”
This angel has tremendous news, good tidings of great joy, is the phrase used. Why? Because the promise made to mother Eve and to Abraham has just been fulfilled:
Genesis “15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
Genesis 12:3 “3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
These tidings of great joy, this blessing that would be given to the entire world through Abraham is that”
“47And that repentance and remission of sins
should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at
And because that our sins have been remitted, taken away, never to be remembered against us forever; Jesus:
“22In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;” Colossians 1:22-23
v.11 “11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
One of the prophesies concerning the Messiah that was to come has been fulfilled:
Isaiah 9:6 “6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Peter confirms to us under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that this Jesus was indeed both Lord and Christ; Christ being the Greek word for Messiah.
Acts 2:36 “36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
This is a confession or acknowledgement that every tongue will make at some point in time, even if only at the seat of judgment. There will be no atheists in hell, they will all be believers when that time comes.
Philippians “11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”
v.12 “12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
The shepherds were given instruction as to how to find Jesus and how to recognize him; God did not leave anything to chance. They were to be witnesses to the birth of a Saviour. He would be found lying in a manger, the feed trough in a stable, wrapped in swaddling clothes.
v.13-14 “13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Angels of God herald the birth of the Son of God and Saviour who would provide salvation to all mankind faithful to God. Where there was only one angel that appeared to the shepherds in the beginning, now there is a multitude of angels, perhaps thousands of heavenly beings. John in Revelation uses language that would indicate that man could not number them:
Revelation “11And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;”
These angels sang with great joy, glorifying God and speaking an eternal blessing upon mankind. Peace on earth, even in the midst of trouble, trial, war and all of the disasters that befall mankind, we can now be at peace in our souls:
Isaiah 57:19 “19I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.”
Paul describes this peace this way:
Romans 5:1-2 “1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
Colossians 1:20-21 “20And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.”
v.15 “15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.”
After the angels have
finished their praise to God and left the scene these shepherds are now
determined to go into
v.16-17 “16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.”
They made haste, they
hurried to the place that the angels had described, and found exactly what they
had been told would be there. They
immediately begin to make known to all those with whom they come into contact
this tremendous news that they have been given.
This child born in
v.18-20 “18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”
Those that the shepherds told wondered; they were even skeptical; this was not how man would expect the Saviour of the world to appear on the earth. And our new mother ponders on these things in her heart. She knows that this child has been born as the result of a conception that was miraculous, she has already talked with the angel Gabriel concerning him, the holy spirit has spoken through her and all of these things are strange and different from their normal world.
The shepherds, however, believe fully and as they return to their flocks, they glorify and praise God because of what they have seen and what the angels have told them.
v.21 “21And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Apparently at the same time that a child was circumcised they were also named. What is the significance of the eight days?
Leviticus 12:3 “3And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.”
v.22 “22And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses
were accomplished, they brought him to
All things are being done according to the law under which they lived, the law God gave to his people through Moses. We go back again to Leviticus where this commandment was given:
Leviticus 12:2 “2Speak unto the children of
For seven days a woman
who has borne a man-child must be considered unclean. She is to be separated for her infirmity,
given time to recover and then as we have seen on the eighth day the child is
to be circumcised. They bring him to
v.23-24 “(As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) 24And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
Where did God require this dedication, the sanctification of the male children?
Exodus 13:2 “2Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb
among the children of
When the priesthood of the tribe of Levi was established God repeated this commandment:
Numbers “For all the
firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast:
on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of
What parallel can we think of in the New Testament:
Matthew “33But seek ye first the
v.24 “24And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”
There was also a sacrifice involved in this sanctification of the firstborn; again we see the instruction in the Mosaic covenant. The law given speaks of a lamb, or a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering and then gives more specific direction if the new family is poor:
Leviticus 12:8 “8And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.”
v.25 “25And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.”
Now we have in the city
Mark “43Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited
v.26 “26And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.”
God has provided us with another witness. This man Simeon has been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death, would not die, until he has beheld the promised Messiah. Only God can control when we do or do not die:
Psalms 89:48 “WHAT MAN is he that LIVETH, AND SHALL NOT SEE DEATH? SHALL HE DELIVER HIS SOUL FROM THE HAND OF THE GRAVE?”
v.27 “27And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,”
The Holy Spirit now prompts this man Simeon to go to the temple. God is ready to reveal the Messiah to this man as he has promised. He was to be present when this man-child, Jesus, is sanctified and presented to God. Simeon understands the significance of this occurrence.
v.28-29 “28Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:”
Simeon takes the baby
Jesus in his arms and praised or blesses God.
He understands that he has seen the Messiah in the flesh and now he can
depart this earth in peace because he has seen the promise of God
fulfilled. He is as much at peace in his
Genesis 46:30 “30And
v.30-31 “30For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;”
Simeon is now ready to depart this life because he has seen the means by which God will bring salvation from sin into the world; just as the prophet had promised:
Isaiah 52:10 “10The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”
v.32 “32A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”
Again in the words of
Simeon, speaking by the power of the Holy Spirit, we have the universal nature
of the salvation that came through Jesus.
He will be a glory to the people of
Read Isaiah 60:1-3
Paul and Barnabas refer to this prophesy and perhaps even that of Simeon in their defense to the Jews of taking the gospel to the gentile people.
v.33-34 “AND JOSEPH AND HIS MOTHER MARVELLED AT THOSE THINGS WHICH WERE SPOKEN OF HIM. AND SIMEON BLESSED THEM, AND SAID UNTO MARY, HIS MOTHER, BEHOLD THIS child IS SET FOR THE FALL AND RISING AGAIN OF MANY IN ISRAEL; AND FOR A SIGN WHICH SHALL BE SPOKEN AGAINST.”
Joseph and Mary are soaking up all that Simeon is saying, amazed or marveling at his words, not understanding perhaps the great significance of the birth of Jesus.
This child is set for
great things. He will generate the fall
Isaiah “AND HE SHALL BE
A SANCTUARY; BUT FOR A STONE OF STUMBLING AND FOR A ROCK OF OFFENSE TO BOTH THE
In his letter to the Roman brethren; Paul references this prophecy to verify to them that only a remnant of God’s chosen people would accept him.
Romans 9:31-33 “BUT
Also, as a sign, the man represented by this newborn child will be spoken against:
Acts 28:22 “BUT WE DESIRE TO HEAR OF THESE WHAT THOU THINKEST; FOR AS CONCERNING THIS SECT, WE KNOW THAT EVERY WHERE IT IS SPOKEN AGAINST.”
And for us today who hold dear the true faith, the purity of scripture, the Word of God as he has revealed it; we too are spoken against in many places; most often by our own rebellious brethren who have abandoned the righteousness of God for the false doctrines and fables of men.
v.35 “(YEA, A SWORD SHALL PIERCE THROUGH THY OWN SOUL ALSO,) THAT THE THOUGHTS OF MANY HEARTS MAY BE REVEALED.”
Simeon is telling Mary and Joseph that the reproach, the hate, that others will have for Jesus will be to them as a sword piercing their souls. Can you imagine standing at the foot of a cross, watching your son die by a one of the most terrible means that man can devise? Mary lived that scene.
John 19:25 “NOW THERE STOOD BY THE CROSS OF JESUS HIS MOTHER, HIS MOTHER’S SISTER, MARY THE wife OF CLEOPHAS, AND MARY MAGDALENE.”
v.36-37 “AND THERE WAS ONE ANNA, A PROPHETESS, THE DAUGHTER OF PHANUEL, OF THE TRIBE OF ASER: SHE WAS OF A GREAT AGE, AND HAD LIVED WITH AN HUSBAND SEVEN YEARS FROM HER VIRGINITY; AND SHE was A WIDOW OF ABOUT FOUR SCORE AND FOUR YEARS, WHICH DEPARTED NOT FROM THE TEMPLE, BUT SERVED God WITH FASTINGS AND PRAYERS NIGHT AND DAY.”
Now we have another that comes to see Jesus. Her name is Anna and she has the ability to prophesy. We do not know the significance of who her father was, this is the only time we have the name mentioned, but she was of a great age. If you stop and think a moment she was around 100 or perhaps even over 100 years old. She has been a widow for 84 years, was married for seven years and if married at 13 or 14, as many were then, was at least 104 years old.
She lived in the temple, worshiping God continually with fastings and prayers.
v.38 “AND SHE COMING IN THAT INSTANT GAVE THANKS LIKEWISE UNTO THE LORD, AND SPAKE OF HIM TO ALL THEM THAT LOOKED FOR REDEMPTION IN JERUSALEM.”
Anna joins Zacharias,
Simeon and the shepherds that we read about in the beginning of this chapter in
giving thanks to God that they have had the opportunity to see Jesus. Luke describes Anna further as one that spoke
to everyone in
v.39 “AND WHEN THEY HAD PERFORMED ALL THINGS ACCORDING TO THE LAW OF THE LORD, THEY RETURNED INTO GALILEE, TO THEIR OWN CITY NAZARETH.”
Luke says that when
Mary and Joseph had finished everything that God required of them to do they
returned to Nazareth of Galilee. Now
Luke does not mention, Herod, the wise men, the journey to
v. 40 “AND THE CHILD GREW, AND WAXED STRONG IN SPIRIT, FILLED WITH WISDOM: AND THE GRACE OF GOD WAS UPON HIM.”
Jesus grew as a normal child, except that he wasn’t quite normal either. He was strong spirited, he was wise beyond his years and it was apparently obvious that he was blessed by God.
v.41. “NOW HIS PARENTS WENT TO
Jesus parents kept the Passover. The Mosaic Law required all males above the age of twelve to attend three feasts each year.
Exodus “THREE TIMES IN THE YEAR ALL THY MALES SHALL APPEAR BEFORE THE LORD GOD.”
These feasts were the Feast of the Unleavened Bread or Passover, Exodus , the Feast of the Harvest, Exodus and the Feast of the Ingathering also found in Exodus . It also would appear that Mary and Joseph only attended the Passover regularly as that is the only one that is mentioned in scripture.
v.42-43 “AND WHEN HE WAS TWELVE YEARS OLD, THEY WENT UP TO JERUSALEM AFTER THE
CUSTOM OF THE FEAST. AND WHEN THEY HAD
FULFILLED THE DAYS, AS THEY RETURNED, THE CHILD JESUS TARRIED BEHIND IN
Sounds like a
twelve-year-old that thinks he’s grown up doesn’t it. I remember my mother chastising me soundly
because I had stayed in the field late and didn’t come home until I was almost
late for supper. I made my own decision,
I only had about another acre or two of corn to plow and that chore would be
finished, so I stayed and finished.
Jesus made his own decision about what he was to and stayed in
v.44-45 “BUT THEY, SUPPOSING HIM TO HAVE BEEN IN THE COMPANY, WENT A DAY’S JOURNEY; AND THEY SOUGHT HIM AMONG their KINFOLK BACK AGAIN TO JERUSALEM, SEEKING HIM.”
This great multitude of
people who came to the Passover are now leaving
v.46-47 “AND IT CAME TO PASS, THAT AFTER THREE DAYS THEY FOUND HIM IN THE TEMPLE, SITTING IN THE MIDST OF THE DOCTORS, BOTH HEARING THEM, AND ASKING THEM QUESTIONS. AND ALL THAT HEARD HIM WERE ASTONISHED AT HIS UNDERSTANDING AND ANSWERS.”
It takes Mary and Joseph three days to find him. They didn’t think to look at the temple but apparently scoured the city, looking there only because they had not found him anywhere else. He is sitting with the doctors, the teachers of the rabbinical schools such as Gamaliel and confounding them because of his intelligence and knowledge.
v.48 “AND WHEN THEY SAW HIM, THEY WERE AMAZED: AND HIS MOTHER SAID UNTO HIM, SON, WHY HAST THOU THUS DEALT WITH US? BEHOLD, THY FATHER AND I HAVE SOUGHT THEE SORROWING.”
Mary and Joseph are angry, relieved, amazed and confounded all at the same time. They just don’t understand this boy. Mary asks how he could treat them they way he has, they’ve been worried sick. They had hurried a days journey back to Jerusalem, then looked for him for three days and they probably has just about given up, thinking that he had come to some harm or maybe even that he was dead.
v.49 “AND HE SAID UNTO THEM, HOW IS IT THAT YE SOUGHT ME? WIST YE NOT THAT I MUST BE ABOUT MY FATHER’S BUSINESS?”
He says that they just don’t understand. Why did you even look for me, don’t you know that I must take care of my Father’s business? At twelve, he’s all grown up, he thinks its time for him to start his ministry, it’s time for him to start carrying out the mission that God sent him to earth to carry out.
v.50 “AND THEY UNDERSTOOD NOT THE SAYING WHICH HE SPAKE UNTO THEM.”
His parents just don’t understand. They are like many others that would come later, they just don’t understand what Jesus is all about. They are like his disciples:
Luke “BUT THEY UNDERSTOOD NOT THIS SAYING, AND IT WAS HID FROM THEM, THAT THEY PERCEIVED IT NOT: AND THEY FEARED TO ASK HIM OF THAT SAYING.”
v.51 “AND HE WENT DOWN WITH THEM, AND CAME TO NAZARETH, AND WAS SUBJECT UNTO THEM; BUT HIS MOTHER KEPT ALL THESE SAYINGS IN HER HEART.”
We hear no more about Jesus for 18 years, when he goes to John for baptism and when he is really ready to start to go about his “FATHER’S BUSINESS.” But mothers are very perceptive people and Mary keeps these things that Jesus has done and said in her heart, knowing what the angel has told her and all of the other things that surrounded his birth.
v.52 “AND JESUS INCREASED IN WISDOM AND STATURE, AND IN FAVOUR WITH GOD AND MAN.”
Jesus grew; he became wiser that he was in the temple at twelve. He grew physically; into a full grown man. He grew in his faith and in favor with God and was well received by men as well. What other young man do we read about in scripture who grew in favor with God and man?
I Samuel “AND THE CHILD SAMUEL GREW ON, AND WAS IN FAVOUR BOTH WITH THE LORD, AND ALSO WITH MEN.”