Luke 2

Luke 2:1

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.

The inhabited earth implies the entire Roman world. They weren’t counting people in China or South America.

Luke 2:4

Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,

Bethlehem. The village of Bethlehem is known as the Cradle of Christianity because Jesus was born there (Matt. 2:1). Bethlehem was also the home of King David (1 Sam 16:1, 17:15) and Naomi, the mother-in-law of Ruth (Ruth 1:1, 19).

Luke 2:10

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;

(a) Good news. What is the good news that makes the good news good? It is the revelation of the love of God that comes to us through Jesus Christ.

(b) Great joy. The good news is meant to bring great joy to all.

There is no bad news in the good news. Any message that leaves you fearful of an angry and judgmental God is not good news. Nor is any message that leaves you insecure and uncertain, forever wondering if you are accepted and forgiven. See entry for The Gospel.

Luke 2:13

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

Heavenly host. When Christ came to earth there was a heavenly host. When he returns for his final coming he will come with angels (Matt. 16:27, 25:31).

Luke 2:22

And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord

The Law of Moses refers to the commandments, ordinances, punishments, and ceremonial observances given to the nation of Israel through Moses (Jos. 8:31). This law is sometimes referred to as the law of commandments (Eph. 2:15) or the law of the Jews (Acts 25:8). See entry for The Law.

Luke 2:23

(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “EVERY firstborn MALE THAT OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE LORD”),

The Law of the Lord. In the old covenant, the Jews sometimes referred to the Law of Moses (Jos. 8:31-32) as the Law of God (Jos. 24:26, Neh. 8:8) or the Law of the Lord (Ex. 13:9).

Luke 2:24

and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS.”

(a) The Law of the Lord was the Law of Moses; see previous verse.

(b) Two young pigeons. When Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary were too poor to bring anything but a poor man’s offering to the temple (Lev. 12:8). They did not remain poor for long. The lavish gifts of the magi (see Matt. 2:11) would have supported them for years.

Luke 2:25

And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

This man was righteous. Before the cross, no one could be made righteous. The gift of righteousness had not been given and the “one act of righteousness” had not be done (Rom. 5:18). This is why Old Testament saints such as Abraham were credited with righteousness on account of their faith in God (see entry for Rom. 4:3). The Jews probably considered Simeon righteous because he was a good man, but God considered him righteous because he was looking for the consolation of Israel. He was waiting in faith for Jesus.

Luke 2:26

And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

(a) Revealed to him. Simeon had received a wonderful word of knowledge: He would see the Messiah. That was some promise. Israel had been waiting for the Messiah for more than a thousand years. The prophets of old had longed to see the Messiah but none of them did. “They didn’t see him but I’m going to see him,” said Simeon and he was right. How did he know? The Holy Spirit revealed it to him. When the infant Jesus was brought to the temple, Simeon was there ready and waiting. Those who are led by the Spirit are always at the right place at the right time.

(b) Seen the Lord’s Christ. Simeon saw a baby and understood by the Holy Spirit that he was looking at the Messiah. In contrast, others saw Jesus the man and had no idea who he was (see Matt. 16:13–16).

Luke 2:30

For my eyes have seen Your salvation,

Your salvation. Simeon took the infant Jesus in his arms and understood that he was looking at God’s salvation. Jesus is the Deliverer who rescues us from our enemies (Luke 1:71). See entry for Salvation.

Luke 2:40

The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

From a young age, Jesus had a revelation of his Father’s love and grace.

Luke 2:49

And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”

My Father. In the earliest recorded words of Jesus we have a hint of his future ministry: Jesus came to reveal God our Father.

In the Gospels, Jesus referred to God as Father more than 150 times. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us to pray to “our Father in heaven” (Matt. 6:9). Although God is the Almighty Creator and the Ancient of Days, he wants us to relate to him as our loving Father. When Jesus prayed, “Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:28), he was saying, “May you be known as Father.”

The Bible has many names for God, but Jesus gave us the best name of all: “Abba, Father” (see entry for Mark 14:36). Abba is not the name of a distant and mysterious God. Abba is your heavenly Father who cares for you and knows your needs (Matt. 6:31–32). Abba Father is the name of God who loves you as much as he loves Jesus (see entry for John 17:23).

Luke 2:52

And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

(a) Favor with God. You don’t need to go to Jerusalem to experience the favor of God. Favor comes when we seek God first and as we grow in grace.

(b) Favor… with men. Although Jesus walked in grace from a young age (Luke 2:40), he did not enjoy favor with men until his light began to shine at age 12. As soon as he began to glorify the Father and make him known (Luke 2:49), favor followed.

The Grace Commentary is a work in progress with new content added regularly. Sign up for occasional updates below. Got a suggestion? Please use the Feedback page. To report typos or broken links on this page, please use the comment form below.

Leave a Reply