The Birth of Jesus
Luke 2:1-7 (Matthew 1:18-25)
(1) In those days the emperor Caesar Augustus gave a command that a population census must be taken of the entire Roman empire. (2) This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of the Roman province of Syria. (3) And everyone went to their home town to register their name.
(4) So Joseph also traveled from Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and lineage of David. (5) He went there to register his pregnant wife Mary.
(6) While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to give birth to her baby (7) and she gave birth to her first baby, a son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in an animal’s feeding trough (a manger) located in a lower room of the house (traditionally understood as a public inn, but houses at this time often had a section on the lower floor for their animals), because there was no place for them in the upper guest room.
Shepherds in Bethlehem Visit Jesus
(8) And there were shepherds living out in the fields near Bethlehem, keeping guard over their flocks at night. (Shepherds usually lived outside during the warmer months, from March to November).
(9) An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the majestic glory of God’s presence shone around them. They were terrified. (10) But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, because I bring you good news of great joy for all the people. (11) Today in Bethlehem—the town of David—a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah (Christ), the Lord. (12) This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby boy wrapped in cloths and lying in an animal’s feeding trough (a manger).”
(13) Suddenly a great army of heavenly angels appeared with the angel, worshiping God and saying, (14) “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace to all people on whom his grace rests!”
(15) After the angels went back to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has made known to us.” (16) So the shepherds hurried to Bethlehem and found Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus, who was lying in an animal’s feeding trough (a manger).
(17) When the shepherds saw the baby, they told everyone what they had been told about baby Jesus (18) and everyone was amazed at what they heard the shepherds tell them. (19) But Mary remembered all these things and pondered them in her heart. (20) The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and had seen, which were just as they had been told by the angel.
Jesus Dedicated in the Jerusalem Temple
(21) At the end of eight days, when it was time to circumcise the baby boy, he was named Jesus (which means “the Lord saves”), the name the angel had given him before he was born.
(22) When the time of the purification rites required by the law of Moses (after 40 days) came, Joseph and Mary took Jesus up to the Jerusalem temple to dedicate him to the Lord, (23) as it is written by Moses in Exodus 13:2, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord.” (24) And they offered a sacrifice in keeping with what is written in Leviticus 12:8, “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” (This type of sacrifice suggests that Joseph and Mary were from the lower class of society).
Simeon in the Jerusalem Temple
(25) Now there was a man living in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was holy and righteous before God, and was waiting for the restoration of Israel. The Holy Spirit was on him, (26) and it had been revealed to him by the Spirit that he would not die before he saw the Lord’s Messiah (Christ). (27) And Simeon was led by the Holy Spirit into the temple courts at the same time that Joseph and Mary brought baby Jesus to perform for him the custom required by the law of Moses.
(28) Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God, saying, (29) “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised; you can now dismiss your servant in peace. (30) For my eyes have seen your salvation, (31) which you have prepared in the sight of all peoples—(32) a light for revelation to the nations, and the glory of your people Israel.”
(33) Joseph and Mary marveled at what Simeon said about Jesus. (34) Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Jesus will cause the falling and rising of many people in Israel, and he will be a sign that people will speak against, (35) so the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will even pierce your soul, Mary (which likely refers to Mary’s witness of the crucifixion of Jesus).”
Anna in the Jerusalem Temple
(36) There was also a prophetess named Anna, who was the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old. She had been married seven years (37) before her husband died, and then she remained a widow until she was 84 years old. She never left the temple courts but worshiped God day and night (from morning to evening) through fasting and prayer.
(38) Coming up to Joseph and Mary at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child Jesus to everyone who was looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
Jesus’ Family Returns to Nazareth
(39) When Joseph and Mary had done everything that was required by the Lord’s law, they left Jerusalem and returned to their own town of Nazareth in Galilee. (40) And Jesus grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom and God’s grace was on him.
Boy Jesus at the Jerusalem Temple
(41) Every year Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem for the Passover feast (held in the spring, around late March/early April). (42) According to the custom of the feast, they went up to Jerusalem when Jesus was 12 years old.
(43) When the festival was over, Joseph and Mary returned to Nazareth, but they did not realize that the boy Jesus had stayed in Jerusalem. (44) They thought he was traveling in the caravan of their family and friends. After a day’s journey (about 20 miles/32 km), they asked their family and friends where Jesus was. (45) When they could not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.
(46) After three days they found Jesus sitting among the teachers in the temple courts, listening to them and asking them questions. (47) Everyone who heard Jesus was amazed at his understanding and his answers.
(48) Joseph and Mary were shocked when they saw him. Mary said to Jesus, “Son, why have you scared us like this? We have been frantically searching for you everywhere.” (49) Jesus said, “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know that it is necessary for me to be in my Father’s house (doing my Father’s affairs)?” (50) But Joseph and Mary did not understand what Jesus was talking about.
(51) Then Jesus went down to Nazareth with Joseph and Mary, and he was obedient to his parents. But Mary remembered all these things in her heart. (52) And Jesus grew in wisdom and in body (years), and in favor with God and the people.