Luke 2

1 Now it came about in those days that an order went out from Caesar Augustus that there was to be a numbering of all the world.
2 This was the first numbering, which was made when Quirinius was ruler of Syria.
3 And all men went to be numbered, everyone to his town.
4 And Joseph went up from Galilee, out of the town of Nazareth, into Judaea, to Beth-lehem, the town of David, because he was of the house and family of David,
5 To be put on the list with Mary, his future wife, who was about to become a mother.
6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.
7 And she had her first son; and folding him in linen, she put him to rest in the place where the cattle had their food, because there was no room for them in the house.
8 And in the same country there were keepers of sheep in the fields, watching over their flock by night.
9 And an angel of the Lord came to them, and the glory of the Lord was shining round about them: and fear came on them.
10 And the angel said, Have no fear; for truly, I give you good news of great joy which will be for all the people:
11 For on this day, in the town of David, a Saviour has come to birth, who is Christ the Lord.
12 And this is the sign to you: you will see a young child folded in linen, in the place where the cattle have their food.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a great band of spirits from heaven, giving praise to God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on the earth peace among men with whom he is well pleased.
15 And when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the keepers of the sheep said to one another, Let us go now to Beth-lehem, and see this thing which has come about, which the Lord has made clear to us.
16 And they came quickly, and saw Mary and Joseph, and the child in the place where the cattle had their food.
17 And when they saw it, they gave them an account of the things which had been said to them about the child.
18 And all those to whose ears it came were full of wonder at the things said by the keepers of the sheep.
19 But Mary kept all these words in her heart, and gave much thought to them.
20 Then the keepers of the sheep went back, giving glory and praise to God for all the things which had come to their ears and which they had seen, as it had been said to them.
21 And when, after eight days, the time came for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name which the angel had given to him before his birth.
22 And when the necessary days for making them clean by the law of Moses had come to an end, they took him to Jerusalem to give him to the Lord
23 (As it says in the law of the Lord, Every mother's first male child is to be holy to the Lord),
24 And to make an offering, as it is ordered in the law of the Lord, of two doves or other young birds.
25 And there was then in Jerusalem a man whose name was Simeon; and he was an upright man, fearing God and waiting for the comfort of Israel: and the Holy Spirit was on him.
26 And he had knowledge, through the Holy Spirit, that he would not see death till he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27 And full of the Spirit he came into the Temple; and when the father and mother came in with the child Jesus, to do with him what was ordered by the law,
28 Then he took him in his arms and gave praise to God and said,
29 Now you are letting your servant go in peace, O Lord, as you have said;
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 Which you have made ready before the face of all nations;
32 A light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.
33 And his father and mother were full of wonder at the things which were said about him.
34 And Simeon gave them his blessing and said to Mary, his mother, See, this child will be the cause of the downfall and the lifting up of great numbers of people in Israel, and he will be a sign against which hard words will be said;
35 (And a sword will go through your heart;) so that the secret thoughts of men may come to light.
36 And there was one, Anna, a woman prophet, the daughter of Phanuel, of the family of Asher (she was very old, and after seven years of married life
37 She had been a widow for eighty-four years); she was in the Temple at all times, worshipping with prayers and going without food, night and day.
38 And coming up at that time, she gave praise to God, talking of him to all those who were waiting for the freeing of Jerusalem.
39 And when they had done all the things which were ordered by the law of the Lord, they went back to Galilee, to Nazareth, the town where they were living.
40 And the child became tall and strong and full of wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
41 And every year his father and mother went to Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover.
42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up, as their way was, to the feast;
43 And when the days of the feast came to an end and they were going back, the boy Jesus was still in Jerusalem, but they had no knowledge of it:
44 And in the belief that he was with some of their number, they went a day's journey; and after looking for him among their relations and friends,
45 And seeing that he was not there, they went back to Jerusalem, to make search for him.
46 And after three days they came across him in the Temple, seated among the wise men, giving ear to their words and putting questions to them.
47 And all to whose ears it came were full of wonder at his knowledge and the answers which he gave.
48 And when they saw him they were surprised, and his mother said to him, Son, why have you done this to us? see, your father and I have been looking for you with sorrow.
49 And he said to them, Why were you looking for me? was it not clear to you that my right place was in my Father's house?
50 And his words seemed strange to them.
51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth; and did as he was ordered: and his mother kept all these words in her heart.
52 And Jesus was increasing in wisdom and in years, and in grace before God and men.

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Luke 2 Commentary

Chapter 2

The birth of Christ. (1-7) It is made known to the shepherds. (8-20) Christ presented in the temple. (21-24) Simeon prophesies concerning Jesus. (25-35) Anna prophesies concerning him. (36-40) Christ with the learned men in the temple. (41-52)

Verses 1-7 The fulness of time was now come, when God would send forth his Son, made of a woman, and made under the law. The circumstances of his birth were very mean. Christ was born at an inn; he came into the world to sojourn here for awhile, as at an inn, and to teach us to do likewise. We are become by sin like an outcast infant, helpless and forlorn; and such a one was Christ. He well knew how unwilling we are to be meanly lodged, clothed, or fed; how we desire to have our children decorated and indulged; how apt the poor are to envy the rich, and how prone the rich to disdain the poor. But when we by faith view the Son of God being made man and lying in a manger, our vanity, ambition, and envy are checked. We cannot, with this object rightly before us, seek great things for ourselves or our children.

Verses 8-20 Angels were heralds of the new-born Saviour, but they were only sent to some poor, humble, pious, industrious shepherds, who were in the business of their calling, keeping watch over their flock. We are not out of the way of Divine visits, when we are employed in an honest calling, and abide with God in it. Let God have the honour of this work; Glory to God in the highest. God's good-will to men, manifested in sending the Messiah, redounds to his praise. Other works of God are for his glory, but the redemption of the world is for his glory in the highest. God's goodwill in sending the Messiah, brought peace into this lower world. Peace is here put for all that good which flows to us from Christ's taking our nature upon him. This is a faithful saying, attested by an innumerable company of angels, and well worthy of all acceptation, That the good-will of God toward men, is glory to God in the highest, and peace on the earth. The shepherds lost no time, but came with haste to the place. They were satisfied, and made known abroad concerning this child, that he was the Saviour, even Christ the Lord. Mary carefully observed and thought upon all these things, which were so suited to enliven her holy affections. We should be more delivered from errors in judgment and practice, did we more fully ponder these things in our hearts. It is still proclaimed in our ears that to us is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord. These should be glad tidings to all.

Verses 21-24 Our Lord Jesus was not born in sin, and did not need that mortification of a corrupt nature, or that renewal unto holiness, which were signified by circumcision. This ordinance was, in his case, a pledge of his future perfect obedience to the whole law, in the midst of sufferings and temptations, even unto death for us. At the end of forty days, Mary went up to the temple to offer the appointed sacrifices for her purification. Joseph also presented the holy child Jesus, because, as a first-born son, he was to be presented to the Lord, and redeemed according to the law. Let us present our children to the Lord who gave them to us, beseeching him to redeem them from sin and death, and make them holy to himself.

Verses 25-35 The same Spirit that provided for the support of Simeon's hope, provided for his joy. Those who would see Christ must go to his temple. Here is a confession of his faith, that this Child in his arms was the Saviour, the salvation itself, the salvation of God's appointing. He bids farewell to this world. How poor does this world look to one that has Christ in his arms, and salvation in his view! See here, how comfortable is the death of a good man; he departs in peace with God, peace with his own conscience, in peace with death. Those that have welcomed Christ, may welcome death. Joseph and Mary marvelled at the things which were spoken of this Child. Simeon shows them likewise, what reason they had to rejoice with trembling. And Jesus, his doctrine, and people, are still spoken against; his truth and holiness are still denied and blasphemed; his preached word is still the touchstone of men's characters. The secret good affections in the minds of some, will be revealed by their embracing Christ; the secret corruptions of others will be revealed by their enmity to Christ. Men will be judged by the thoughts of their hearts concerning Christ. He shall be a suffering Jesus; his mother shall suffer with him, because of the nearness of her relation and affection.

Verses 36-40 There was much evil then in the church, yet God left not himself without witness. Anna always dwelt in, or at least attended at, the temple. She was always in a praying spirit; gave herself to prayer, and in all things she served God. Those to whom Christ is made known, have great reason to thank the Lord. She taught others concerning him. Let the example of the venerable saints, Simeon and Anna, give courage to those whose hoary heads are, like theirs, a crown of glory, being found in the way of righteousness. The lips soon to be silent in the grave, should be showing forth the praises of the Redeemer. In all things it became Christ to be made like unto his brethren, therefore he passed through infancy and childhood as other children, yet without sin, and with manifest proofs of the Divine nature in him. By the Spirit of God all his faculties performed their offices in a manner not seen in any one else. Other children have foolishness bound in their hearts, which appears in what they say or do, but he was filled with wisdom, by the influence of the Holy Ghost; every thing he said and did, was wisely said and wisely done, above his years. Other children show the corruption of their nature; nothing but the grace of God was upon him.

Verses 41-52 It is for the honour of Christ that children should attend on public worship. His parents did not return till they had stayed all the seven days of the feast. It is well to stay to the end of an ordinance, as becomes those who say, It is good to be here. Those that have lost their comforts in Christ, and the evidences of their having a part in him, must bethink themselves where, and when, and how they lost them, and must turn back again. Those that would recover their lost acquaintance with Christ, must go to the place in which he has put his name; there they may hope to meet him. They found him in some part of the temple, where the doctors of the law kept their schools; he was sitting there, hearkening to their instructions, proposing questions, and answering inquiries, with such wisdom, that those who heard were delighted with him. Young persons should seek the knowledge of Divine truth, attend the ministry of the gospel, and ask such questions of their elders and teachers as may tend to increase their knowledge. Those who seek Christ in sorrow, shall find him with the greater joy. Know ye not that I ought to be in my Father's house; at my Father's work; I must be about my Father's business. Herein is an example; for it becomes the children of God, in conformity to Christ, to attend their heavenly Father's business, and make all other concerns give way to it. Though he was the Son of God, yet he was subject to his earthly parents; how then will the foolish and weak sons of men answer it, who are disobedient to their parents? However we may neglect men's sayings, because they are obscure, yet we must not think so of God's sayings. That which at first is dark, may afterwards become plain and easy. The greatest and wisest, those most eminent, may learn of this admirable and Divine Child, that it is the truest greatness of soul to know our own place and office; to deny ourselves amusements and pleasures not consistent with our state and calling.

Luke 2 Commentaries