The Gospel According to St Luke: Luke Chapter Two: Read here:
A Census was Taken: Luke 2:1-3:
‘And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world [his empire] should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city’ (JST in intalics).
Joseph and Mary Traveled to Bethlehem: Luke 2:4-5:
‘And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.’
Jesus was Born in Bethlehem: Luke 2:6-14:
‘And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered And 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 inns.
‘And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
‘And the angel said unto them,
“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (JST changed inn to inns).
Luke’s account is the best known story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Christians around the world hear it each Christmas season and read it in their own homes by the fireplace or around the Christmas tree with their families.
To hear the account of the angels visiting the shepherds, who had long awaited the sign of Christ’s birth, is amazing. It is so fitting that the shepherds would be the first to know that the One True Shepherd of all the earth was born.
The Shepherds Visit the Baby Jesus: Luke 2:15-20:
‘And 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.”
‘And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
‘And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
‘But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
‘And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.’
They made haste to see the Lord, and the made haste to make it known! Do we make haste to share the Good News? Are we good under-shepherds?
Mary, as the mother of Jesus, kept His birth and the news of heavenly messengers and the visit of the shepherds close to her heart? Do we also cherish the memories of our own sacred family experiences? We should.
Jesus was Presented at the Temple: Luke 2: 21-38:
‘And 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.
‘And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons’ (vs. 21-24).
Simeon Recognizes the Lord and Prophesies: Luke 2:25-35:
‘And, 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. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
‘And 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, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
“For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”
‘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; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”’
We all know that one day we will die, because everyone does. But as young parents, holding our newborn in our arms, that is not the dream we have for our child. Do we as mothers carry some of the burden which our children carry? I know we do. Was Mary prepared to do so? The Lord reminded her even at the very beginning of her baby’s life what his mission would be through the prophecies of Simeon.
The Prophetess Anna: Luke 2:36-38:
‘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 fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
‘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 came upon the scene, while Simeon was with Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus. She also recognized the Lord and gave thanks, and shared the Good News with everyone that looked for redemption.
So many things can be observed in one small scene. First of all, how old was Anna. She lived with her husband for 7 years before he died, and she’d been a widow for 84 years. So if she were married around 15-years-old, that would make her about 106! And she served God in the temple day and night! Don’t you love her?
‘And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord.’
The Lord blessed Anna for her devotion. She was able to be at the right place at the right time to know that her Savior was born. What a comfort that must have been for her, this beautiful woman who had dedicated her whole life to Him?
And she ‘spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.’
Have you ever been involved in preaching the gospel? There are those who do not recognize their need for redemption, and so they are not ready to hear the good news. We should be praying for opportunities to teach those who are looking for redemption, and we should be praying that our family and friends, and others, will be able to see their need for redemption and how necessary it is for us all to be redeemed; and that our redemption is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Joseph and Mary Returned to Nazareth with the Young Child Jesus: Luke 2:39:
‘And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.’
We need to remember that they had been apprised of Herod’s intent to destroy the Baby Jesus and first fled to Egypt. That was one necessary thing that they needed to be done before they returned to Nazareth.
Jesus Grew: Luke 2:40; 52:
‘And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him’ (vs. 40).
Temple Trip When Jesus was 12: Luke 2:41-50:
‘Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. 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 Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
‘And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, and they were hearing him, and asking him questions (JST italicized). And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
‘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.”
‘And he said unto them,
“How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”
‘And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
Returned to Nazareth: Luke 2:51:
‘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.’
‘And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man (vs. 52).
It is interesting at the young age of 12, Jesus was lost to his parents for three days. How they must have missed Him and been concerned for His safety. He who taught in parables presented a parable in these three days. His life would be taken and His disciples would be concerned about their loss and their own safety. But He did rise again on the third day. This is the essence of the gospel.