Jesus the Christ, in the fullness of time was brought into the world according to divine counsels. Although born amid the meanest circumstances, His humiliation was attended by discoveries of His glory and His coming was announced as glad tidings to all people. From His childhood days He showed forth some of the rays of His glory in the divine wisdom which He manifested.
1 And 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 Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And 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:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 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 inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 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.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 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.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
21 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.
22 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;
23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
24 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.
25 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.
26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
27 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,
28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
34 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;
35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
36 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;
37 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.
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.
39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.
42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
43 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.
44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
46 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.
47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
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.
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?
50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
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.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
Luke 2 Intro – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 2:1 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 2:2-7 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 2:8-14 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 2:15-24 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 2:25-35 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 2:36-40 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 2:41-52 – J. Vernon McGee
Luke 2:1-14 – The Savior of Mankind Is Born
The manger bed and its precious occupant are among the most cherished memories of our childhood; but as we come there in later life, the wonder ever grows. “Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh,” I Timothy 3:16.
What company we meet there! Shepherds with their naive wonder; angels from the realms of glory; wise men with their gifts; aged saints like Simeon and Anna, Surely the desire of all nations is here! Let us ask that the Lord of glory will condescend to be born in the mean stable of our heart, transforming it into a palace!
Notice how, to bring Mary to Bethlehem, the Master of all emperors sets on foot the machinery of providence and history. What can He not do for us and His Church! —Through the Bible Day by Day
Great Prince of Peace, the manger was Thy royal cradle! Therein wast Thou presented to all nations as Prince of our race, before Whose presence there is neither barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Thou art Lord of all. Kings, your gold and silver would have been lavished on Him if ye had known the Lord of Glory; but inasmuch as ye knew Him not, He was declared with demonstration to be a leader and a witness to the people. The things which are not, under Him shall bring to nought the things that are, and the things that are despised, which God hath chosen, shall under His leadership break in pieces the might, and pride, and majesty of human grandeur.
O ye poor, be glad, for Jesus is born in poverty, and cradled in a manger. O ye sons of toil rejoice, for the Saviour is born of a lowly virgin, and a carpenter is His foster-father. O ye people, oftentimes despised and downtrodden, the Prince of the Democracy is born; one chosen out of the people is exalted to the throne. O ye who call yourselves the aristocracy, behold the Prince of the kings of the earth, whose lineage is divine. Behold, O men, the Son of God, who is born of your bone, intimate with all your griefs, who in His after-life hungered as ye hunger, was weary as ye are weary, and wore humble garments like your own; yea, suffered worse poverty than you, for He was without a place whereon to lay His head. (Spurgeon)
We esteem every day alike, but still as the season and the general custom suggest thoughts of Jesus, let us joyfully remember our dear Redeemer’s glorious birth. Every day should be the birthday of the Saviour to a renewed soul. Amid all that is humiliating there is much that is honorable in the circumstances of the birth of our Immanuel. Whose birth was ever ushered in by a long train of prophecy, or longed for by such a multitude of hearts? Who but He can boast of a fore-runner who marked Him as the coming Man? When did angels indulge in midnight songs, or did God ever hang a new star in the sky before? To whose cradle did rich and poor make so willing a pilgrimage, and offer such hearty and unsought oblations? Well may earth rejoice, well may all men cease their labor to celebrate “the great birthday” of Jesus. O Bethlehem, house of bread, we see in thee our hopes forever gratified! “‘Tis He, the Saviour, long foretold, to usher in the age of gold.” Let gladness rule the hour; let holy song and sweet heart-music accompany our soul in its rapture of delight. (Spurgeon)
Luke 2:14—Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace.
These twain are joined together, and none can sunder them. Do you want peace? your highest aim must be the glory of God. Do you seek God’s glory as your highest aim? then, the inevitable result will be the peace that passeth understanding.
Glory to God in the highest.—It was said of the soldiers of the first Napoleon that they were content to die in the ditch if only he rode over them to victory. With their last breath they cried, “Long live the Emperor!” It seemed as though they had lost all thought and care of their own interests, so long as glory accrued to his name. So should it be of us. Higher than our own comfort, or success, or popularity, should be the one thought of the glory of our God. Let Christ be honored, loved, exalted, at whatever cost to us.
On earth, peace.—It will come, because when the heart has only one aim to follow, it is delivered from dividing and distracting cares. It will come; because the glory of God is so lofty an aim that it lifts the soul into the atmosphere of the heavenly and eternal world, where peace reigns unbroken. It will come, because we are not greatly troubled by the reverses and alternations of fortune that are incident to all work in this world, since the main object is always secure and beyond fear of failure. What though there be the ebb and flow of the wave, yet the tide is certainly coming up the shore, and will presently stand at high-water mark.
This peace comes only to men in whom God is well pleased. Live to please God, and He will breathe on thee his peace. Seek his glory, and He will make thy heart his home. Do his will, and thereby good shall come to thee. —Our Daily Homily
How painfully and wearily one thousand years of the world’s existence rolled along, and no Christ. Two thousand years, and no Christ. Three thousand years, and no Christ. Four thousand years, and no Christ. “Give us a Christ,” had cried Assyrian, and Persian, and Chaldean, and Egyptian civilizations, but the lips of the earth and the lips of the sky made no answer.
The world had already been affluent of genius. Among poets had appeared Homer, and Thespis, and Aristophanes, and Sophocles, and Euripides, and Alexis Aeschylus; yet no Christ to be the most poetic figure of the centuries. Among historians had appeared Herodotus, and Xenophon, and Thucydides; but no Christ from whom all history was to date backward and forward – B.C. and A.D. Among conquerors Camillus, and Manlius, and Regulus, and Hannibal, and Scipio, and Pompey, and Caesar; yet no Christ, who was to be conqueror of earth and heaven.
But the slow century, and the slow year, and the slow month, and the slow hour at last arrived. The world had had matins or concerts in the morning and vespers or concerts in the evening, but now it is to have a concert at midnight. The black window-shutters of night were thrown open, and some of the best singers of the world stood there, and, putting back the drapery of cloud, chanted a peace anthem, until all the echoes of hill and valley applauded and encored the Hallelujah chorus. (Talmage)
Luke 2:15-24 – Welcomed; Named; Presented
From April till the autumn the flocks pastured at night in the open fields, from which it seems probable that our Lord must have been born earlier or later than December. No doubt these shepherds were, like Simeon, “waiting for the consolation of Israel” (v. 25), and their purity of life and simplicity of soul well qualified them to receive the blessed tidings of the angels. First simplicity and afterward science, Matthew 2, found their way into the presence of Jesus.
In the act of circumcision, our Lord admitted His obligation to fulfill the whole Law, Galatians 5:3. He was “made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law,” Galatians 4:4-5. Mary could afford only the gift of the poor, Leviticus 12:6-8; 5:7-11; II Corinthians 8:9. The precious name of Jesus—Savior—is the name above every name, Acts 4:10-12. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Luke 2:25-39 – The Aged Simeon’s Prophetic Blessing
Two aged watchers welcomed the King; but no one else, of all the crowds who went and came, guessed that the Messenger of the Covenant had suddenly come to His Temple, Malachi 3:1-3.
In the Arctic Circle in summer the visitor will behold the magnificent spectacle, on the same sky, of the hues of sunset and of dawn. Dipping only for a brief period beneath the horizon, the setting sun leaves the glorious trail of sunset, and rising, bathes the eastern clouds with the radiance of dawn. So, when Simeon embraced Christ, sunset and sunrise met. There was the glory of the age that was passing, and the glory of the new Christian age that shall ever stand at perfect noon.
Note the concentric circles of Simeon’s character: a man; a man in Jerusalem—i.e., a Jew; righteous toward his fellows; devout toward God; looking; Spirit-anointed; to whom it was revealed; Christ in his arms. What more could be said? —Through the Bible Day by Day
What Simeon wanted to see was the Lord’s Christ. Unbelief would suggest to him, “Simeon, you are an old man, your day is almost ended, the snow of age is upon your head, your eyes are growing dim, your brow is wrinkled, your limbs totter, and death is almost upon you: and where are the signs of His coming? You are resting, Simeon, upon imagination – it is all a delusion.” “No,” replied Simeon, “I shall not see death till I have seen the Lord’s Christ; I shall see him before I die.” I can imagine Simeon walking out one fine morning along one of the lovely vales of Palestine, meditating upon the great subject that filled his mind. Presently he meets a friend. “Peace be with you; have you heard the strange news?” “What news?” replies Simeon. “Do you not know Zacharias the priest?” “Yes, well.” “According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense in the temple of the Lord, and the whole multitude of the people were praying without. It was the time of incense, and there appeared unto him an angel, standing on the right side of the altar, who told him that he should have a son, whose name should be called John; one who should be great in the sight of the Lord, who should go before the Messiah and make ready a people prepared for the Lord. The angel was Gabriel who stands in the presence of God, and because Zacharias believed not, he was struck dumb.” “Oh,” says Simeon, “that fulfills the prophecy of Malachi. This is the forerunner of the Messiah: this is the morning star: the day dawn is not far off: the Messiah is nigh at hand. Hallelujah! The Lord shall suddenly come to His temple!” Time rolls on. I can imagine Simeon accosted again by one of his neighbors: “Well, Simeon, have you heard the news?” “What news?” “Why there’s a singular story in everybody’s mouth. A company of shepherds were watching their flocks by night on the plains of Bethlehem. It was the still hour of night, and darkness mantled the world. Suddenly a bright light shone around the shepherds, a light above the brightness of the midday sun. They looked up, and just above them was an angel who said to the terrified shepherds, ‘Fear not, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people!'” “This is the Lord’s Christ,” said Simeon, “and I shall not taste death till I have seen Him.” He said to himself, “They will bring the child to the Temple to present Him to the Lord.”
Away went Simeon, morning after morning, to see if he could get a glimpse of Jesus. Perhaps unbelief suggested to Simeon, “You had better stop at home this wet morning: you have been so often and have missed Him: you may venture to be absent this once.” “No,” said the Spirit, “go to the Temple.” Simeon would no doubt select a good point of observation. See how intently he watches the door! He surveys the face of every child as one mother after another brings her infant to be presented. “No,” he says, “that is not He.” At length he sees the Virgin appear, and the Spirit tells him it is the long-expected Saviour. He clasps the Child in his arms, presses Him to his heart, blesses God, and says: “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.”
Luke 2:40-52 – The Boy Jesus in the Temple
“Solitary floweret,” says Stier, referring to this incident, “gathered from the wonderful enclosed garden of the thirty years and plucked precisely when the swollen bud, at the age of twelve years, was about to burst into flower.”
The incident is specially valuable as indicating so perfect an understanding between our Lord and His mother. He wondered that, knowing Him as she did, she could have lost Him, or should have failed to seek Him in His Father’s house. The stress is on Wist ye not? Here, however, He seemed to pass into a new attitude toward His life-work. May we not say that He caught sight of its absorbing character, to which all else must be subordinated?
Let us never suppose that we are in the company of Jesus, when, in fact, we may have lost Him. Never rest till you and He have found each other! —Through the Bible Day by Day