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Before we start this chapter I want to give a quick history lesson on the events that have unfolded in Rome at the time. In 44 BC Julius Caesar was assassinated. This caused a time of unrest in Rome and ultimately spelled the beginnings of its doom. A rather large series of wars broke out within Rome. The lower class people began having uprisings and all the twisted snakes within the higher classes had all their own plots and agendas.
The ultimate victor of this series of conflicts is Octavius, Julius Caesar’s nephew. He is given the title of Caesar Augustus. Hailed as the leader of Rome. Thing is, he was left quiet a mess. A need to rebuild, a need to replenish military forces and staggering other loyalty issues to deal with. Just wanted to give a clear view of the current events of the time. It does help formulate a view of the times we are reading about.
2 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.Luke 2:1-3 KJV
First thing I want to establish is the difference between the way we do our census and the way the Roman’s did. While we have some bloke with a clip board show up at our door or receive something in the mail (depending on country) Rome required everyone to specific places (normally the closest city to your hometown) where the census takers were. This required travel. While there they would meet with census takers and then be on their way.
Also Cyrenius is the Greek name of a man named Publius Quirinus. Just in case you wanted to do some research into him.
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:)Luke 2:4 KJV
This is making it clear that Jesus was of the lineage of David which once again was prophesied to be the bloodline that the Lord’s Christ would be born.
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.Luke 2:5-6
We have Mary being close to delivery. If you are easily offended by Holiday information you may want to skip ahead to the next part. If you are not, then here is some interesting information. No Roman census could take place during winter. Mary delivering a child at this time tells you that Jesus was not born on December 25th. Most likely Christ was born sometime in the Spring or Summer.
Now if that bothers you, it should not. Traditions exist for the purposes of celebrating something. Celebrating the birth of Christ is a wonderful thing. We should do this all day, every day. So, don’t make that into a point of contention. The only reason we know about Resurrection Sunday is due to the Hebrew calendar and the fact they were celebrating Pesach (Passover). Otherwise I am sure that as well would not be kept on the exact day.
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.Luke 2:7 KJV
For those who have issue with Jesus having brothers and sister and for the heretics who suggest that Mary had children before Jesus; Luke makes it very clear that Jesus was her firstborn son. This presupposes she had other children. None of which came before Jesus and all the others came after him. Which is she had other children means, MARY DID NOT DIE A VIRGIN! I know, I just ruffled feathers here. I am sorry but, the truth is the truth. This is what the word says and we must accept it.
I have seen mangers pictured so many different ways. Most likely it was not clean and the reason Mary wrapped Jesus in cloths was to keep him clean. Why is the manger dirty? A manger is a feeding trough. It might have been a wooden one but also what is common is a stone one. Not something very comfortable for a child. Nor does it give any acknowledgement to his royalty.
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.Luke 2:7 KJV
We have lost some of the cultural understandings people held with our modern world. It is easy to miss why it is important to bring up the shepherds.
Shepherds were considered unclean by the law of Moses. They could not worship for a great deal of the year at the temple. Most Hebrews held Shepherds as being undesirable and would much rather not associate with them.
They too understood the law of Moses. Having an angel appear before them would cause them terror. One because angels are apparently terrifying and two they were scared of being judged by God. An angel would have no place coming to such filthy people. At least this was the image the people had instilled into them.
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.Luke 2:10 KJV
So once again the angel says fear not. Most likely we are dealing with Gabriel here, tradition tends to hold this idea but perhaps not. The angel immediately tells the shepherds that it comes with good news. This would naturally alleviate their fears of a coming judgement on them. Not only good news but good news which shall be to all the people. Essentially telling them to go and spread this news.
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.Luke 2:11-14 KJV
Not just one angel now, but a whole host of angels. We are not given any idea how large a host of angels is but it is clearly some kind of division. Let’s take a look at the Greek and figure out what a host exactly is. Stratias (στρατιᾶς), an army. So there are many angels, an army of angels. They had been there before they made themselves known and appeared out of nowhere and what do they do? They praise God and announce their good will towards men.
Why would an army of angels being hanging about? I think they had tasks of their own but God decided it best not to allow us to know that information. So pondering it can be fun but once again if it is not in scripture you cannot be sure.
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.Luke 2:15 KJV
The imagery here is interesting. Notice there is no directional movement for these angels. They simply went away into heaven. The words here are apēlthon (ἀπῆλθον); which means to go away, to go after. Then we have ouranon (οὐρανὸν), which is an odd word. It means heaven. However it is also the heaven of the sky, the heaven of the stars, and the heaven of the spiritual realms. So this is a non descriptive word here. We only know that the went to one of the heavens, which one I am not sure. I would lean on it being the spiritual heaven since no direction was given.
I imagine the shepherds were just amazed at what was going on. Standing there and left wondering, what is that? After receiving the news they gathered together and all decided to go from the countryside into Bethlehem to find this child King in a manger.
Now I want to make you aware of this, the priests of Israel should have done their duty and been looking for baby Jesus. They had the benefits of prophecy, they also had the benefit of actually having the writings of the prophets. Because of this they did not they were not given the honor. Instead it was given to the low. Which is beautiful. Worldly success is nothing in God’s eyes. Instead the real treasure comes from those who are rich with God.
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.Luke 2:16-18 KJV
It should have been the priests announcing this. Not the shepherds. They failed in their duty! How many of us are doing the same. We are given the word and yet still we don’t bother with it? I know there are many opportunities I have squandered and it hurts when I think about it. I had years go by without doing my diligence in the word. If I had studied earlier, I would be years beyond what little I know now. Don’t be like the priests of Israel who missed the birth of Christ.
Now the shepherds went out telling everyone. Now this is not like five guys and a heard of sheep. There would have been a lot of shepherds telling the same story. Since there was an army of angels (messengers). However, they did not just take the angels word for it. They searched first and found Jesus, don’t proclaim anything without first searching it for yourself.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.Luke 2:19
Mary watched and saw all these things happening, miracle after miracle poured out around her. She ponders them within her heart. Meaning she deeply is being affected by all this. Luke makes it clear that these things are affecting Mary greatly. Not Joseph though. I am sure he was but Luke did not feel it necessary to mention.
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.Luke 2:20 KJV
Notice the shepherds are praising God. This is when Jesus was an infant. There are no wise men here. The images of Christ in a manger being visited by the wise men is wrong. Just keep that in mind.
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.Luke 2:21-24 KJV
First off we have the naming of Jesus and his bris which we covered last chapter with John. Now purification was a ceremonial practice which could be a study all of it’s own. For the purposes of this particular study we are only going to look at the direct text and the concept behind it.
Now according to the law the firstborn is to be sacrificed to the Lord. Many people twist this and say “That means God wants child sacrificing.” No it points to higher things. God requires a substitute. For most it is a lamb, however for the poor a pair of doves and pigeons is also allowed. This tells us Mary and Joseph were both poor. Now why is sacrificing a substitute so important. Because Jesus is the first born of God. The ultimate sacrifice. He is our eternal substitute since God is the creator of man and God’s first born must be sacrificed, Jesus is before Adam, a new first born. A sacrifice to end all other sacrifices.
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,Luke 2:25-28 KJV
The holy spirit is among Simeon as well. In fact he is one of the few priests who were not corrupted at this time.
29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:Luke 2:29
First thing to point out, this is an extremely weak translation. I am going to re translate it into modern language because it is way more impactful. lettest is actually apolueis (ἀπολύεις) which means to set free or release. Servant is doulon (δοῦλον) which is a bond servant or slave. Depart is apoluó (ἀπόλύω) it is to release, but it is used in regards to prisoners or debtors. So really what he is saying is this: “Lord, now set free your bond servant release me of my debt in peace, according to your word:” What debt is he talking about?
30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,Luke 2:30 KJV
He is recognizing that Jesus is the one who will set free man of their debt of sin.
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.Luke 2:31-32 KJV
He is not just going to free the Jews, but he is going to set free all people, Gentile and Jew alike. Not only that but Christ will bring glory back to Israel. Not the Rothchilds; Israel still needs further restoration. The true throne of David will rise again in God’s timing. Let us pray for the return Kingdom daily. Now remember, Luke is a gentile and he would find it important to make it a point that Jesus came for EVERYONE, not just for Israel.
33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.Luke 2:33 KJV
I know they understood Jesus was special but I don’t think they truly grasped just how special he was. These words should not be shocking considering he is heir of all things. Still they are marveled.
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.Luke 2:34-35 KJV
This is a warning to Mary that troubling times are coming. That while many will be blessed it will reveal the true hearts of people, the mask will be lifted and the true sin nature of people will show. The violence in peoples hearts are a hideous thing when revealed open for all to see. He is warning Mary the Jesus is going to do just that.
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;Luke 2:36 KJV
Another woman in ministry, chosen by God.
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.Luke 2:37-38 KJV
She recognized he was Christ as well. I want to make a point of this fasting, is a good thing. It clears the mind and keeps the body healthy. Prayer also clears the soul and keeps the spirit healthy. Both are key functions of human living. You should consider fasting especially for the health benefits.
Why did Luke specifically name these two people? I think it might be because they were the only two who recolonized who Jesus was at the temple.
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.Luke 2:40 KJV
Time passes and Jesus grows up.
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.Luke 2:41-42 KJV
Twelve years old is a very specific number. Thirteen is when a child is consider a man in Hebrew traditions. So he is still a boy.
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.Luke 2:43-45 KJV
You might think they were unfit parents, however this was common at the time. People would travel with their families and towns in large groups so it was often the kid was running around chatting up their uncles and aunts and other people. Stranger danger was not really a thing.
So to their surprise when they could not find Jesus they turned back around and thought we left him behind! Quickly I would imagine they ran back to the city!
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.Luke 2:46-47 KJV
We see this method used often in the Bible. God asks questions to things he already knows. So likewise Jesus would show the same characteristics. This obviously displayed his complete and total understanding of the Torah and law of Moses.
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?Luke 2:48-49 KJV
This is Jesus’s first words recorded in the Bible. The real interesting part is that Jesus refers to our heavenly father as “MY FATHER”. No where in the bible is this reference used before this point. He is our father as well especially as Christians we have every right to call God “My Father” because he is my Father.
So we know for a fact Jesus knew his mission here on earth, granted it was at twelve but we know he knew at an early age if not in the womb itself.
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 2:50-52 KJV
There we go we have completed Luke Chapter 2. I hope you found this to be a blessing to you. Next study will be finished very soon. Like within the next few hours soon.
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