Christ Is Born
Verse 1 – And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.
This was a census for the purposes of taxation and military service.
Verse 2 – This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.
Verse 3 – So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Verse 4 – And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
Verse 5 – to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
This trip would have taken about three days to travel 90 miles. Joseph and Mary were still just engaged, but she was close to giving birth. Look at God’s timing – Caesar Augustus had to give a decree for a census, Joseph and Mary have to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem, so the prophecies about the Messiah being born in “Bethlehem” came as predicted.
Verse 6 – So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.
Verse 7 – And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Firstborn Son, implies that Mary later had other children, contrary to what some believe. Bethlehem was full of people at this time, registering for the census. They stayed in a stable for animals. This might have been a cave, which was dark and dirty. A feeding trough was used for the crib. Not the kind of place the Jews thought their Messiah would be born in.
The Angels Announce Jesus to the shepherds
Verse 8 – Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Verse 9 – And behold an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
Verse 10 – Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
Verse 11 – “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Verse 12 – “And this will be the sign to you; you will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.”
Verse 13 – And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying:
Verse 14 – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!”
The angel announces to these lowly shepherds that the Savior, Redeemer, Messiah, is born that night and that through Him all peoples can have peace. This showed God’s tremendous love for all mankind.
Verse 15 – So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”
Verse 16 – And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
How do you think they found them so quickly without exactly knowing where they were? Either an angel led them or by the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit. They knew God had chosen them to reveal the most miraculous miracle ever, so they weren’t going to waste any time getting to the Christ. I also believe that an angel watched over their sheep as they went to find Him.
Verse 17 – Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.
These shepherds were the first preachers of the “gospel.” They went and told others what the angels had proclaimed and that they had seen the Christ for themselves.
Verse 18 – And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told by the shepherds.
Verse 19 – But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
It’s possible that Luke actually talked to Mary and she told him the things that had happened and how she felt.
Verse 20 – Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
They returned to their flocks praising and celebrating that the Messiah is born. I can only imagine how exciting this was for them and I also imagine they never forgot that night! Neither should we forget the time when Jesus transformed our hearts.
Verse 21 – And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
Verse 22 – Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord.
Verse 23 – (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord.”),
Verse 24 – and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord. “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
Every male was circumcised and named eight days after birth. Circumcision symbolized the Jews separation from the Gentiles. A firstborn son was presented to God one month after birth. The ceremony included buying back – “redeeming” – the child from God through an offering. By doing this, the parents acknowledged the child belonged to God, who alone has the power to give life.
A mother who gave birth to a male child was considered ceremonial unclean for 40 days and could not enter the temple. At the end of her time of separation, the parents were to bring a sacrifice to the temple to be offered. The priest then would offer the sacrifice and declare the mother clean.
Verse 25 – And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
Verse 26 – And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
Verse 27 – So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law,
Verse 28 – he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
Verse 29 – “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word;
Verse 30 – For my eyes have seen Your salvation
Verse 31 – which You have prepared before the face of all people,
Verse 32 – a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”
Simeon was a righteous man who had been waiting on the prophesied Messiah. The Holy Spirit had promised him that he would see Him before he died. So at just the right time, the Holy Spirit leads and guides Simeon to go in the temple.
Verse 33 – And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.
Verse 34 – Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against
Verse 35 – (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Mary would suffer great pain in watching Jesus be rejected and executed. How people respond to Jesus is the difference between pardon and condemnation, eternity in heaven or hell.
Nothing brings out true feelings of the sinner then to tell them of Jesus Christ. Many will treat Him with silent contempt; many are ready to gnash their teeth; many curse Him; they show how much they are ready to oppose Him, thus fulfilling the scriptures and the prophecies. So true is it that none can say that Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 12:3).
Verse 36 – Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity;
If Anna had been married for seven years and a widow for 84 years, she was well over 100 years old.
Verse 37 – and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fasting’s and prayers night and day.
Verse 38 – And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
This woman was totally devoted to God. She was always at the temple to pray and fast and tell others that the Messiah was coming.
Jesus Returns to Nazareth
Verse 39 – So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.
Verse 40 – And the child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
Luke does not include the visit of the magi and the trip to Egypt to avoid an attempt by Herod the Great to kill the infant Messiah. Then they returned to Nazareth when it was safe.
Verse 41 – His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.
Verse 42 – And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.
(This was about 70 miles they had to travel.)
Verse 43 – When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it;
Those who attended these feast often traveled in caravans for protection from robbers. It was customary for the women and children to travel at the front and the men bringing up the rear. Since Jesus was 12, He could have been with either group. So one thought He was with the other.
Verse 44 – but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.
Verse 45 – So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.
Verse 46 – Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, both listening to them and asking them questions.
Verse 47 – And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.
Can you even imagine, not knowing where your 12-year-old child is for 3 days? Scripture leads us to believe that Jesus was at the temple three days, not leaving. He was no ordinary 12-year-old, and the adults knew it.
Verse 48 – So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”
Verse 49 – And He said to them, “Why is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
Jesus reminded both His mother and Joseph, His presence around others would always be focused on the things of His Father. So His question really was, “Why didn’t you already know where I would be and what I would be doing?”
Verse 50 – But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.
After all they had seen, His miraculous birth, His being wise beyond His age, they still didn’t understand. Let’s not criticize, not everyone understands at the same pace. That’s why some are saved at a very young age, some mid-life, and some when they are very old.
Verse 51 – Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.
Verse 52 – And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
The Bible doesn’t record any other events for the next 18 years of Jesus life. However, we know He grew mature in wisdom and more than likely learned Joseph’s trade as a carpenter. He had favor not only with God, but with men. That means people liked Him, for now.