Luke 2

Jesus' Birth in Bethlehem

1 Now in those days a decree went out from 1Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of 2all the inhabited earth.
2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of 3Syria.
3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because 4he was of the house and family of David,
5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.
6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.
7 And she 5gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And 6an angel of the Lord suddenly 7stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
10 But the angel said to them, "8Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;
11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a 9Savior, who is 10Christ 11the Lord.
12 "12This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 "13Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men 14with whom He is pleased."
15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."
16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.
17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.
18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary 15treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.
20 The shepherds went back, 16glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

Jesus Presented at the Temple

21 And when 17eight days had passed, before His circumcision, 18His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
22 19And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord
23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "20EVERY firstborn MALE THAT OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE LORD "),
24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, "21A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS."
25 And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was 22righteous and devout, 23looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26 And 24it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not 25see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, 26to carry out for Him the custom of the Law,
28 then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 "Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, 27According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have 28seen Your salvation,
31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 29A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel."
33 And His father and 30mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him.
34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary 31His mother, "Behold, this Child is appointed for 32the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed -
35 and a sword will pierce even your own soul -to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."
36 And there was a 33prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of 34the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years 35and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,
37 and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four *. She never left the temple, serving night and day with 36fastings and prayers.
38 At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were 37looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

Return to Nazareth

39 When they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to 38their own city of Nazareth.
40 39The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

Visit to Jerusalem

41 Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at 40the Feast of the Passover.
42 And when He became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast;
43 and as they were returning, after spending the 41full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But His parents were unaware * of it,
44 but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and went a day's journey; and they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances.
45 When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem looking for Him.
46 Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.
47 And all who heard Him 42were amazed at His understanding and His answers.
48 When they saw Him, they were astonished; and 43His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, 44Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You."
49 And He said to them, "Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that 45I had to be in My Father's house?"
50 But 46they did not understand the statement which He had made to them.
51 And He went down with them and came to 47Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them; and 48His mother 49treasured all these things in her heart.
52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in 50favor with God and men.

Images for Luke 2

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.

Cross References 50

  • 1. Matthew 22:17; Luke 3:1
  • 2. Matthew 24:14
  • 3. Matthew 4:24
  • 4. Luke 1:27
  • 5. Matthew 1:25
  • 6. Luke 1:11; Acts 5:19
  • 7. Luke 24:4; Acts 12:7
  • 8. Matthew 14:27
  • 9. Matthew 1:21; John 4:42; Acts 5:31
  • 10. Matthew 1:16; Matthew 16:16, 20; John 11:27
  • 11. Luke 1:43; Acts 2:36; Acts 10:36
  • 12. 1 Samuel 2:34; 2 Kings 19:29; 2 Kings 20:8; Isaiah 7:11, 14
  • 13. Matthew 21:9; Luke 19:38
  • 14. Luke 3:22; Ephesians 1:9; Philippians 2:13
  • 15. Luke 2:51
  • 16. Matthew 9:8
  • 17. Genesis 17:12; Leviticus 12:3; Luke 1:59
  • 18. Matthew 1:21, 25; Luke 1:31
  • 19. Leviticus 12:6-8
  • 20. Exodus 13:2, 12; Numbers 3:13; Numbers 8:17
  • 21. Leviticus 5:11; Leviticus 12:8
  • 22. Luke 1:6
  • 23. Mark 15:43; Luke 2:38; Luke 23:51
  • 24. Matthew 2:12
  • 25. Psalms 89:48; John 8:51; Hebrews 11:5
  • 26. Luke 2:22
  • 27. Luke 2:26
  • 28. Psalms 119:166, 174; Isaiah 52:10; Luke 3:6
  • 29. Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:6, 9; Isaiah 51:4; Isaiah 60:1-3; Matthew 4:16; Acts 13:47; Acts 26:23
  • 30. Matthew 12:46
  • 31. Matthew 12:46
  • 32. Matthew 21:44; 1 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 2:16; 1 Peter 2:8
  • 33. Luke 2:38; Acts 21:9
  • 34. Joshua 19:24
  • 35. 1 Timothy 5:9
  • 36. Luke 5:33; Acts 13:3; Acts 14:23; 1 Timothy 5:5
  • 37. Luke 1:68; Luke 2:25
  • 38. Matthew 2:23; Luke 1:26; Luke 2:51; Luke 4:16
  • 39. Luke 1:80; Luke 2:52
  • 40. Exodus 12:11; Exodus 23:15; Deuteronomy 16:1-6
  • 41. Exodus 12:15
  • 42. Matthew 7:28; Matthew 13:54; Matthew 22:33; Mark 1:22; Mark 6:2; Mark 11:18; Luke 4:32; John 7:15
  • 43. Matthew 12:46
  • 44. Luke 2:49; Luke 3:23; Luke 4:22
  • 45. John 4:34; John 5:36
  • 46. Mark 9:32; Luke 9:45; Luke 18:34
  • 47. Luke 2:39
  • 48. Matthew 12:46
  • 49. Luke 2:19
  • 50. Luke 2:40

Footnotes 24

Luke 2 Commentaries

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