Study Notes For Luke Chapter Two
Luke 2:1 “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.”
- “In those days” ties us backwards to what was written in Luke 1:57-80.
- Caesar Augustus was the first Roman emperor, following the republic which was by the dictatorship of Julius Caesar, his great-uncle and adoptive father. The Senate awards Octavian the name Augustus (“the exalted one”), and he is known hereafter as Augustus Caesar. Rather than publicly proclaim himself a dictator as his great-uncle Caesar did, Augustus creates a monarchic regime while appearing to maintain republican traditions. He reigned from 27 BC until his death in AD 14 (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Augustus-Roman-emperor). That’s not good for God’s people (Psalms 12:8).
- The word translated “taxed” [ἀπογράφω] here (and in verses 3; 5) means: “to write off (a copy or list), i.e. enroll: — tax, write. To write off, copy (from some pattern) to enter in a register or records; spec. to enter in public records the names of men, their property and income; to enroll (Strong’s # 583). Later it is translated as “written” in Hebrews 12:23.
- For us today, we understand that as Christians we are to adhere to decrees [ordinances] of the rulers of our land (I Peter 2:13-17). The one exception would be if such a decree would contradict what God expects us to do as saints (Acts 5:12-42).
Luke 2:2 “(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)”
- Cyrenius the governor of Syria was the originator of this census. Strong’s says this of this man: “the Greek form of the Roman name Quirinus. His full name is Publius Sulpicius Quirinus. He was consul B.C. 12., and was made governor of Syria after the banishment of Archelaus in A.D. 6. He was probably twice governor of Syria; his first governorship extended from B.C. 4 (the year of Christ's birth) to B.C. 1…” (Strong’s # 2958).
- Gamaliel made a reference to what appears to be those days (Acts 5:34-39).
Luke 2:3 “And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.”
- One’s city of birth was not always their city of upbringing or residency (Acts 22:1-3).
- Furthermore, some had dual citizenship (Acts 22:25-29 and Acts 23:23-27).
Luke 2:4 “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:)”
- Jospeh was in Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth. This is were Jesus will be raised (Matthew 2:19-23 and Luke 4:16) as prophesied (Isaiah 9:1-7).
- He came to Bethlehem called the city of David (I Samuel 16:1-13).
- Bethlehem is important because of the prophesy about the city (Micah 5:2).
- Joseph was of the house and lineage of David (Luke 1:27). Why does that matter (Jeremiah 23:5-6 and Jeremiah 33:14-17)?
- Mary is not with child of Joseph (Matthew 1:18 and Luke 1:27-35). So, why is Joseph significant in this process? The genealogies were primarily of the males (I Chronicles 1:1-9:44). You can see men had daughters (i.e. Genesis 5:1-32 and Genesis 11:10-32), but you often don’t know their names.
- Inheritances, the continuation of one’s name, were first to the sons (Numbers 27:1-11). If a daughter inherited, her marriage was important (Numbers 36:6-10).
Luke 2:5 “To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.”
- Espoused meaning: “To give a souvenir (engagement present), i.e. betroth: — espouse. To woo her and ask her in marriage; to be promised in marriage, be betrothed” (Strong’s # 3423).
- Under the Law of Moses, a betrothal was much more than the culture of America (Deuteronomy 20:7 and Deuteronomy 22:23-27).
- She was “great with child” or rather “big with child” (Strong’s # 1471).
Luke 2:6 “And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.”
- This statement is just that it was time for Mary to give birth.
- Timing meant a lot (Galatians 4:4) about the events concerning Christ (Luke 24:44 and Acts 13:29).
Luke 2:7 “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.”
- The firstborn of this virgin woman (Matthew 1:25; cf. Isaiah 7:13-14).
- The manger is only significant because of what is to come later in this context (Luke 2:8-12).
- What is significant is that the only begotten Son of God is now born in the flesh (John 1:14, John 8:23-24, Romans 1:3, Romans 9:1-5, Philippians 2:5-11, I Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 2:5-18, and II John 1:7).
Luke 2:8 “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.”
- It is interesting that the Lord did not send an angel (vs. 9) to the chief priest, or the scribes, etc. He is sending an angel to shepherds. Not to make too much of that, but to consider just for a brief moment of the similarities between Jesus and an actual shepherd of sheep (Matthew 9:35-38, John 10:1-18, Hebrews 13:20, I Peter 1:21-25, and I Peter 5:4).
Luke 2:9 “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.”
- “The angel of the Lord came” (I Kings 19:1-8 and Acts 12:1-11).
- The phrase “the angel of the Lord” appears over 50 times throughout the Scriptures, mostly in the O.T., in the KJV (Genesis 16:7, Genesis 16:9, Genesis 16:10, Genesis 16:11, Genesis 22:11, Genesis 22:15, Exodus 3:2, Numbers 22:22, Numbers 22:23, etc.). Aside from this passage, in the N.T. (Matthew 1:20, Matthew 1:24, Matthew 2:13, Matthew 28:2, Acts 5:19, Acts 8:26, Acts 12:7, and Acts 12:23).
- “The angel of the Lord” appearing wasn’t always a good thing for those whom he appeared to (I Chronicles 21:1-30 and Isaiah 37:36).
- Angels are spiritual beings that minister (Psalms 104:4) in obedience to the Lord’s will (Psalms 103:20). As we discussed when we looked at Luke 1:26, an angel is a messenger (Strong’s # 32). There were angels that sinned (II Peter 2:4) and caution in regard to the messages of angels (Galatians 1:8-9).
- Angels are fellow-servants of the Lord (Revelation 22:8-9).
- “The glory of the Lord” (Exodus 24:17, Numbers 14:1-12, Numbers 16:42, I Kings 8:1-11, and Ezekiel 1:26-28).
- They were sore afraid (Acts 9:1-8 and Acts 22:6-9).
Luke 2:10 “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”
- The angel said, fear not (Daniel 10:11-12, Matthew 28:1-5, Luke 1:13, and Luke 1:30).
- The message was “good tidings” (Isaiah 52:7, Romans 10:14-15, and I Thessalonians 3:5-6; cf. Proverbs 15:30 and Proverbs 25:25).
- This message of good tidings was good news for all people (Matthew 28:16-20, Luke 24:44-49, John 1:29, Hebrews 7:22-25, and I John 4:14).
- That message was preached to all nations in the first century (Mark 13:10 [cf. vs. 30], Romans 16:25-27, Colossians 1:5-6, and Colossians 1:23).
Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
- The angel is not negating the message of Jesus being the Savior of the world. His previous statement proves that. He is however making a statement of emphasis in “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour” (Jeremiah 23:5-6, Matthew 1:21, Luke 1:31-33, Luke 1:69, Acts 13:21-23, and Romans 11:25-27).
- The city of David was addressed in our study of Luke 2:4.
- Christ [anointed, i.e. the Messiah; Strong’s # 5547] the Lord (Acts 2:36, Acts 10:36, Romans 14:9, I Thessalonians 5:9, etc.).
- While it should be obvious to faithful saints, maybe it is good to take time to consider when we refer to Christ as our Lord we are acknowledging His supreme authority; our Master [Strong’s # 2962] (Matthew 11:27, John 3:35, John 5:22-27, Ephesians 1:20-23, Philippians 2:3-11, Colossians 1:12-20, and I Peter 3:21-22).
Luke 2:12 “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
- God removes chance and confusion here. The angel specifies where our Lord would be found when they came to see Him (Psalms 145:9-13, Isaiah 42:8, Isaiah 48:11, Isaiah 45:18-19, Isaiah 46:10-11, and John 18:20).
- These men will be witnesses and that is important (John 8:17 and I John 5:9-12).
- Witnesses from the beginning (Luke 1:2 and I John 1:1-4) and throughout were significant for the establishment and early proclamation of the Gospel (Luke 24:46-48, Acts 1:15-22, Acts 2:32, Acts 4:33, Acts 5:30-32, Acts 10:37-43, etc.).
- Later in this context, we will see what they do with what they go and see (Luke 2:17).
Luke 2:13-14 “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.”
- They were already afraid (Luke 2:9), what could “suddenly” do to them? There is a degree wherein faithfulness and trust in God is a guard against sudden fear (Proverbs 3:19-26).
- The appearance of a multitude of angels, heavenly host (Deuteronomy 33:2, I Kings 22:19, Psalms 68:17, and Hebrews 12:22-23).
- The angels praising God (Psalms 103:20-21, Psalms 148:2, and Revelation 5:11-13).
- Glory to God (Jeremiah 13:16, Luke 17:11-19, Matthew 5:14-16, John 15:1-8, Romans 16:27, I Corinthians 10:31, I Peter 4:11, Jude 1:25, and Revelation 14:6-7).
- “In the highest”, meaning the most high or highest (i.e. Luke 1:32, Luke 6:35, Acts 7:48, and Hebrews 7:1).
- “On earth peace” is a complicated discussion. Jesus did not necessarily bring peace to earth in a carnal sense (Matthew 10:34-37, Luke 12:49-53, John 7:40-43, and Acts 14:1-4). On the other hand, peace does belong to those in Christ (Romans 5:1, Ephesians 6:23, Philippians 4:6-9, and I Peter 5:14).
- Good will toward men (Ephesians 6:5-8). The translation of this was rendered in Romans 10:1 as “desire”. Therefore, the idea is a desire for good towards others (Matthew 5:38-48, Galatians 6:7-10, and Hebrews 13:16).
Luke 2:15 “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.”
- The angels went home as Heaven is their home (Matthew 22:23-32).
- We see confirmation that they overcame that initial fear and were able to hear the message. They know to go to Bethlehem, the city of David (Luke 2:11; cf. I Samuel 16:1-13).
- They also recognize the message from the angels was from the Lord. They lived under the Old Law wherein angels were active messengers (Acts 7:53 and Galatians 3:19; cf. Deuteronomy 33:1-2).
Luke 2:16 “And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.”
- Their coming with haste is similar to what we saw with Mary when she wanted to go and see the confirmation of the angel’s message by visiting Elisabeth (Luke 1:26-45).
- The idea of with haste, as used in this passage, isn’t necessarily just about speed. Think about the same Greek word [Strong’s # 4692] being used in connection with expectation for the second coming of Christ (II Peter 3:12). The idea is excitement to see something [someone].
- They found exactly what they were told they would see (Isaiah 44:7).
Luke 2:17 “And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.”
- When we looked at verse 12, we discussed the importance of eye witnesses in the spreading of the Gospel. Now we read that they did exactly what witnesses are supposed to do (Isaiah 43:1-14, Matthew 11:1-6, Luke 8:26-39, etc.).
- The word translated “abroad” means: “to tell abroad: — make known. To publish abroad, make known thoroughly; to discriminate” (Strong’s # 1232).
Luke 2:18 “And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.”
- The wondering [marveling] has just begun when it comes to Jesus (Matthew 8:23-27, Matthew 9:1-8, Matthew 9:32-34, Matthew 15:29-31, Matthew 21:18-22, Matthew 22:15-22, Mark 5:1-20, and Mark 15:1-5).
- Yet, marveling at something/someone doesn’t necessarily mean anything more than just that (Luke 4:16-30, Luke 9:37-45, and John 7:14-36).
Luke 2:19 “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”
- Mary kept [persevered; Luke 5:38] these sayings (Luke 2:41-51). This is wise (Proverbs 29:11).
- When we studied the book of Daniel, we saw a similar reaction to the visions he had and did not understand (Daniel 7:28). Peter did something similar doubting a vision he had (Acts 10:17).
- She pondered [to converse, consult, dispute, (mentally)]. This same Greek term is translated “make war” in Luke 14:31.
- These sayings were in her heart (Psalms 119:11).
- We know we are to mediate upon things (Psalms 143:5 and I Timothy 4:15). This is more than just meditation on the word of God.
Luke 2:20 “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”
- When they returned they glorified and praised God for what they had heard and seen (Isaiah 42:1-12; cf. Matthew 12:1-21).
- This is a reasonable reaction for those whom have seen the power of God (i.e. Luke 18:35-43).
Luke 2:21 “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.”
- Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day (Genesis 17:1-14, Genesis 21:4, Leviticus 12:1-3, Acts 7:1-8, and Philippians 3:3-5).
- This is not required under the Law of Christ (Romans 2:25-29, Romans 3:24-31, Galatians 5:1-6, Galatians 6:12-15, and Colossians 3:10-11).
- As the angel gave His name before conception (Luke 1:30-31) and also to Joseph after conception (Matthew 1:18-25).
- At some point after this, the “wise men” would have come to see Jesus. They came when He was in a house, not a manger (Matthew 2:1-12).
Luke 2:22-23 “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;)”
- The days of purification (Leviticus 12:1-8).
- Presenting the child to the Lord as written in the law (Exodus 13:1-16, and Exodus 22:29). There was changes (Numbers 3:11-13 and Nehemiah 10:35-36).
- Under the Law of Christ, there is no instruction about presenting children to the Lord. The choice to give oneself to the Lord requires reason, counting the cost, sacrifice, obedience, departure from sin, etc. (Mark 12:28-31, Luke 8:1-15, Luke 9:57-62, Luke 14:25-33, John 12:25-26, Acts 3:19, Acts 8:5-39, Acts 18:8, Acts 26:18-20, Romans 6:1-13, Romans 12:1-2, II Corinthians 5:14-15, Colossians 3:1-17, II Timothy 2:19, etc.).
Luke 2:24 “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.”
- As mentioned in the notes on verses 22-23, Leviticus 12:1-8 is being fulfilled here. Also, passages such as Leviticus 15:14.
Luke 2:25 “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.”
- Simeon was just [equitable (in character or act); by implication, innocent, holy (absolutely or relatively): — just, meet, right(-eous)… (Strong’s # 1342)]. What does that say about him as you examine this through other Scriptures (Genesis 6:8-9, Genesis 7:1, Genesis 15:1-6, Proverbs 12:17, Proverbs 21:21, Matthew 25:46, Mark 6:20, Luke 1:5-6, John 5:30, Acts 10:22, and Romans 1:17 [cf. Habakkuk 2:4]).
- For thought, think about the purpose of the Savior and how the just [righteous] are not nearly as celebrated as those whom have turn away and then back to the Lord (Luke 5:27-32 and Luke 15:1-10). What’s that supposed to keep us [the saved] from doing/thinking (Luke 18:9-14)?
- He was devout [taking well (carefully), i.e. circumspect (religiously, pious): — devout (Strong’s # 2126] (cf. Acts 2:5 and Acts 8:1-2). If a man seems to be “religious”, what needs to support that for it to be true (James 1:18-27)?
- He was waiting for the consolation [comfort] of Israel as had been longed for a promised from days of old (Isaiah 51:3 and Isaiah 61:1-2 [cf. Luke 4:18-19]).
- We, even being among “the saved” understand this principle. We too are ultimately waiting for salvation (I Thessalonians 5:9 and I Peter 1:9) as we have not yet obtained the resurrection (Philippians 3:7-15).
- The Holy Ghost was upon him. Remember, the Holy Ghost worked among the priests, prophets, and others before the New Testament was in effect (Exodus 28:1-3, Exodus 31:1-11, Exodus 35:30-35, Numbers 11:16-30, Numbers 24:2, Numbers 27:18, Judges 3:9-10, Judges 6:34, Judges 11:29, I Samuel 10:1-7, I Samuel 16:1-13, II Samuel 23:2, II Chronicles 15:1-8, II Chronicles 24:20, Ezekiel 3:24, Luke 1:67-79, Luke 3:21-22; 4:1, Acts 1:16, Acts 28:17-29, and II Peter 1:20-21).
- Yet, there was a difference of the work of the Spirit before and after Acts chapter two. Before, the Spirit was said not to have been given signifying a greater work of the Spirit than was given before (John 7:37-39) and was still just promised to be coming (John 14:12-26).
- John himself taught that the Spirit coming by Christ was greater in some manner (Matthew 3:11 and Luke 3:16).
- In the first century, after Jesus died, the Apostles received the Spirit in a way that occurred only one other time after that (Acts 1:5-8; 2:1-4 and Acts 10:1-11:18). By the time Paul wrote the congregation in Ephesus, the baptism of the Holy Spirit ceased (Ephesians 4:1-6; cf. I Peter 3:20-21).
- Yet, the prophesies aforetime promised the works of the Holy Spirit upon believers (Joel 2:28-32). Peter and the Apostles preached that promise was being fulfilled (Acts 2:16-38). That promise wasn’t just for the Apostles (Mark 16:15-20 and I Corinthians 12:1-11).
- Since Holy Spirit baptism only occurred twice and was temporary there was some other changes. The other way in which God gave the Spirit to man was through the laying on of Apostle’s hands. No one was baptized in water and as a result of baptism alone received the Spirit (Acts 8:5-24 and Acts 19:1-7).
Luke 2:26 “And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.”
- We learned the Holy Ghost was upon him (Luke 2:25). The Holy Spirit was the revealer (Luke 1:67, Acts 13:1-2, I Corinthians 2:9-13, and Ephesians 3:5).
- The Holy Spirit revealed that Simeon would not die before seeing Christ. The Spirit of the Lord had long been the revealer to the prophets (Numbers 11:1-25, I Samuel 10:1-10, I Samuel 16:13 [cf. II Samuel 23:2], and Nehemiah 9:30).
- Think about the phrase “the Lord’s Christ”. In other words, it means the Lord’s anointed (John 10:30-38, Acts 4:23-28, Acts 10:38, and Hebrews 1:1-9).
Luke 2:27 “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,”
- He came by the Spirit as the Spirit moved such men to speak and act (II Peter 1:20-21).
- The Spirit’s guidance included, at times, where to go (Acts 16:1-10).
- Mary and Jospeh were acting in accordance to the Law of Moses (Luke 2:22-23).
Luke 2:28-30 “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,”
- He took Jesus in his arms and blessed [praised; thanked; Strong’s # 2127] God (I Chronicles 16:34-36, Psalms 40:16, Psalms 118:1-4, Psalms 136:1-26, and Luke 1:68).
- Jesus is the fulfillment of the promises made since the days of Abraham (Acts 3:13-26 and Galatians 3:6-29).
- He was then ready to die (Psalms 37:37).
- He was ready to die because he had seen the salvation God promised through Christ. He recognized salvation was going to be through Christ (Acts 4:10-12, I Thessalonians 5:8-9, II Thessalonians 2:10, II Timothy 3:15, Hebrews 2:9-10, Hebrews 5:5-9, and Hebrews 9:27-28). *More on this in verse 32.
- Remember, the Holy Spirit promised he wouldn’t die until he had seen this (Luke 2:26).
Luke 2:31 “Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;”
- “Prepared” meaning “provide; make ready. To make the necessary preparations, get everything ready… metaphorically, to prepare the minds of men to give the Messiah a fit reception and secure his blessings” (Strong’s # 2090). Consider: Matthew 3:1-3, Luke 1:76, and Luke 9:52
- The Lord does make vain preparations (John 14:1-3).
- The idea is, there was the right time for what God had prepared (Galatians 4:1-7).
- What time was not known (Acts 1:6-7), but…
- Everyone now knows of God’s salvation for His people (Psalms 98:1-3 and Isaiah 62:1-12).
- Before the face of all people is certain going forward (Matthew 24:14, Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:14-20, Luke 24:44-47, Romans 10:8-18, Romans 16:25-26, Colossians 1:5-6, Colossians 1:23, and Hebrews 8:7-11).
- This was promised and prophesied of (Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Habakkuk 2:14).
Luke 2:32 “A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”
- Isaiah 42:1-9, Isaiah 49:1-7, Acts 2:32-39, and Ephesians 2:11-17
Luke 2:33 “And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.”
- Joseph had been foretold about Jesus by the angel of the Lord in a dream (Matthew 1:18-25).
- Marry had been told about Jesus by the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:26-38).
- We are shown that Mary believed it (Luke 1:45).
- Mary kept the sayings of the shepherds in her heart (Luke 2:19).
- Yet, they are marveling at the sayings of Simeon. Consider that it sometimes takes time for things to sink in (Luke 9:43-45 and John 12:16).
Luke 2:34 “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;”
- Simeon blessed [“to speak well of, i.e. (religiously) to bless (thank or invoke a benediction upon, prosper): — bless, praise (Strong’s # 2127)]” Joseph and Mary (Matthew 21:9 and Luke 24:44-51). This word is also translated “praised” (Luke 1:64).
- The blessing of someone does not necessarily mean anything spiritually (Matthew 5:44 and Romans 12:14). As often noted, context matters!
- Jesus was set [appointed] for the fall of many in Israel (Matthew 21:42-44 and Romans 9:30-33; cf. Psalms 118:21-24).
- Jesus was set [appointed] for the rise of many in Israel (Isaiah 28:16, Acts 10:36, and Acts 13:22-26).
- Simplified (Hosea 14:9; cf. I Peter 2:1-10).
- Jesus was a sign [cf. Matthew 16:1-4] which shall be spoken against (Acts 28:17-22).
- The next verse says “a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also…” Therefore, “also” seems to infer this is talking about the death of Christ (John 19:28-37).
- The word translated “sign” here is also translated “miracle” in other places and those too were spoken against (John 9:1-41 *vs. 16).
Luke 2:35 “(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
- The sword would not just impact Jesus, but the effects would carry on to them too. Mary in particular was there for the death of her son (John 19:16-27).
- If you remove the statement in parentheses, you have this: “…Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” At the death of Christ, the thought of the hearts of many was revealed (Matthew 27:1-26, Acts 3:14-15, Acts 7:52, and I Thessalonians 2:13-16; cf. Matthew 7:15-20 and Titus 1:16).
Luke 2:36-37 “(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.”
- The word translated “prophetess” appears only one other time in the New Testament (Revelation 2:20). The word means: “A female foreteller or an inspired woman: — prophetess. A prophetess; a woman to whom future events or things hidden from others are at times revealed, either by inspiration or by dreams and visions; a female who declares or interprets oracles” (Strong’s # 4398).
- There were female prophets in both the Old and New Covenants (Exodus 15:20, Judges 4:4, II Kings 22:14, Nehemiah 6:14, Isaiah 8:1-3, Acts 21:8-9, and I Corinthians 11:5).
- The tribe of Asher were descendants of Israel and Zilpah [Leah’s handmaid] (Genesis 30:12-13 and Genesis 35:26).
- She was old. She was married for 7 years and a widow thereafter. The language is unclear. Was she a widow for 84 years or was she 84 years old. I suppose you can make multiple conclusions. She was old. That’s the answer.
- She served God with fasting and prayers night and day (I Timothy 5:5). Praying and fasting was done for various reasons (Nehemiah 1:1-4, Acts 10:30-31, Acts 13:1-5, and Acts 14:23).
- Rather than being a widow given to occasions of the flesh (I Timothy 5:11-13), she was a fixture at the temple (Psalms 27:4, Psalms 84:1-12, Psalms 92:12-15, and Luke 19:46).
Luke 2:38 “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.”
- She came into the temple giving thanks (Ephesians 5:20, Colossians 1:12, Colossians 3:17, and Hebrews 13:15).
- She spake of the Lord to all that looked for redemption in Jerusalem (Isaiah 52:7-53:12).
- Think about why she spoke to those looking specifically (Deuteronomy 4:29, Jeremiah 29:13, and Acts 17:24-27).
- While the focus of the first century Jew is often their disobedience, and rightfully so (Romans 10:1-3), there were those looking (Luke 5:1, Luke 23:51, and Luke 24:13-21).
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.”
- Before they departed from Jerusalem, Joseph and Mary did all things according to the Law as was expected (Deuteronomy 8:3, Deuteronomy 12:32, Deuteronomy 13:18, Deuteronomy 27:26, and Proverbs 30:5-6).
- We should understand this point well (James 2:10-12).
- Before the returned to Galiliee, they fled into Egypt (Matthew 2:1-23).
- The prophecy recorded by Matthew, which tied to the events of that he recorded, was written by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:15-17).
Luke 2:40 “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.”
- Similar to what we read about John, Jesus was growing up (Luke 1:80).
- He was “filled with wisdom” which becomes evident later in the context (Luke 2:47).
- This begins to show the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy (Isaiah 11:1-5).
- The grace of God was upon Him (John 1:14-17).
- We don’t want to isolate the grace of God being upon Jesus by making the statement more than what it was. The same was true in other cases (i.e. Acts 4:33).
Luke 2:41 “Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.”
- The passover feast in Jerusalem can be dated back, for certain, at least to the days of Hezekiah and then Josiah (II Chronicles 30:1-5 and II Chronicles 35:1; 35:18).
- The Jews came to Jerusalem during this time in the first century (John 11:55).
- The Passover was first established in the days of Moses as the first of their year remembering what God did in Egypt for Israel (Exodus 12:1-28).
- Christ is now “our passover” (I Corinthians 5:7) and saints do not hold to days of old that were in place under the Old Covenant (Colossians 2:14-17).
- We remember the death of Christ every first day of the week (Acts 20:7; cf. Luke 22:7-23 and I Corinthians 11:23-33).
Luke 2:42 “And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.”
- When you see the “customs” that Jesus was introduced to, it is important to note that such had bearing on Him even as He began to teach going forward (Luke 4:16-30).
- The Jews had many “customs” and they held to them dearly (Acts 6:14 and Acts 21:21). If you look at those two aforementioned passages, you see that “customs” and “law” were essentially interchangeable terms.
- Paul worked with those customs (Acts 28:17; cf. I Corinthians 9:16-23).
Luke 2:43-45 “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.”
- The feast of the Passover was a seven day event (Exodus 13:6 and Exodus 34:18).
- The term translated “kinsfolk” can be used broadly. “A relative (by blood); by extension, a fellow countryman: — cousin, kin(-sfolk, -sman). Of the same kin, akin to, related by blood; in a wider sense, of the same nation, a fellow countryman” (Strong’s # 4773).
- The term translated “acquaintance” means: “known: — acquaintance, (which may be) known, notable” (Strong’s # 1110). I.E. Luke 23:49 or Acts 1:19 [known].
- Think about the emotions of losing a child. Then, that child being the only begotten of the Father (John 1:1-18). Then, that child be the hope of the world (Titus 2:13).
Luke 2:46 “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.”
- They had traveled a day from Jerusalem (Luke 2:44). It took them three days to find Jesus in the temple.
- He was in the midst of the doctors. Doctors were, in short, teachers; masters (Strong’s # 1320). The term was not limited to those in the temple. It was used of John the baptizer (Luke 3:12). It was used of Jesus (Luke 7:40 and John 13:14). It was used in general of teachers in the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:28-29). It was applied to Apostles (I Timothy 2:7).
- At twelve years old, Jesus was hearing them (Deuteronomy 6:6-7, Proverbs 8:32, Proverbs 23:12, Matthew 13:9, Luke 11:28, and Romans 10:17).
- Jesus was asking them questions. One might wonder, what does Jesus have to learn? He is the word (I John 5:7). Whether this was just an example or not, Jesus did have things to learn about life in the flesh (i.e. Hebrews 5:7-8). The fact is, He was even able to increase in wisdom (Luke 2:51).
- He was not doing this with guile [deceit] (I Peter 2:21-22).
- One might question if Jesus would actually hear truth from a hypocrite. Jesus taught the multitude and His disciples to hear truth even if it came from a hypocrite (Matthew 23:1-3).
Luke 2:47 “And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.”
- All that heard Him and were astonished doesn’t mean much about what they will do with what they heard (Luke 4:14-30).
- Jesus was exceptional and that continues going forward (John 7:37-46).
- He had an understanding that caused astonishment. That is all about who He was/is (Psalms 147:5 and Proverbs 2:6).
- Think about those that speak without understanding (I Timothy 1:3-7).
Luke 2:48 “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.”
- Luke will used the Greek word translated “amazed” in this verse two more times in this letter (Luke 4:32 and Luke 9:43). He will also use it once in his second letter to Theophilus (Acts 13:12). Think of this as surprised. Think of the worry and fears that would build up in looking for a lost child.
- In another manner of speaking, observing Jesus teaching was a matter of astonishment (Mark 1:14-22).
- Mary’s response to their observation suggests something a bit different than astonishment over the teaching of Christ. Her statement: “why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing”; is like “why have you done this to us.” This is the response of a concerned; scared mother, not a person amazed in a good way (i.e. Proverbs 10:1; 17:25).
- We do not have a record in the twelve year gap of what we are reading from the birth of Christ till this point. So, the amazement Jospeh and Mary experienced is something difficult to comment on. Maybe, in twelve years, they haven’t seen reminders to who Jesus is. Maybe not. As Jesus aged, Mary seems to have come to an understanding of some things He was capable of (John 2:1-12).
Luke 2:49 “And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?”
- Think about Jesus’, as a child, asking, “How is it that ye sought me?” The Greek term translated “how” is Strong’s # 5101. In some instances (66 times), it is translated “why”. “Why” makes sense based upon His question regarding His being about His father’s business. I do not want to speculate, condone, or condemn Jesus’ handling of this matter.
- What we do not need to speculate about, is His reasoning. He was, even as a youth, about His Father’s business (Psalms 40:6-8 [cf. Hebrews 10:1-13], John 4:31-38, John 5:30-41, John 6:38, John 10:25-38, and John 17:1-4).
Luke 2:50 “And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.”
- There are many passages one could turn to to indicate that Joseph and Mary were in some ways wrong here (i.e. Psalms 119:100, Proverbs 28:5, Isaiah 6:9-10, Matthew 13:19, etc.).
- However, such would be unfair judgment here. Remember, the work of Christ was a mystery at this stage and a full understanding was impossible (Romans 16:25-27, I Corinthians 2:6-7, Colossians 1:26-27, and Ephesians 3:1-11).
This is a work in progress. Check back midweek (most weeks) for updates.