The Birth of Jesus
Luke 2:16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
Luke 2:17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. :18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. :19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
As soon as the angels departed, the shepherds hurried to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and Jesus lying in a manger. They gave a complete report of the angel’s visit, causing considerable surprise among those who had gathered in the stable. But Mary had a deeper understanding of what was going on; she treasured all these things, and knowingly pondered them in her heart.
Luke 2:20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
The shepherds returned to their flocks, overjoyed at all they had heard and seen, and overflowing in their worship of God. How can we apply this to our lives?
Luke 2:21 And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
This took place when He was eight days old. It was a token of the covenant that God made with Abraham. On this same day, the Child was named, according to Jewish custom. The angel had previously instructed Mary and Joseph to call Him JESUS.
Luke 2:22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord :23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), :24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
The second ceremony was concerned with the purification of Mary. It took place forty days after the birth of Jesus (see Lev. 12:1–4). Ordinarily parents were supposed to bring a lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or turtledove for a sin offering. But in the case of the poor, they were permitted to bring “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons” (Lev. 12:6–8). The fact that Mary brought no lamb, but only two young pigeons is a reflection of the poverty into which Jesus was born.
The third ritual was the presentation of Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem. Originally, God had decreed that the firstborn sons belonged to Him; they were to form the priestly class (Ex. 13:2).
Later, He set aside the tribe of Levi to serve as priests (Ex. 28:1, 2). Then the parents were permitted to “buy back” or “redeem” their firstborn son by the payment of five shekels. This they did when they dedicated him to the Lord.
Luke 2:25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. :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.
Simeon was one of the godly remnant of Jews who was waiting for the coming of the Messiah. It was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before seeing the Lord’s Christ or Anointed One.
“The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him” (Ps. 25:14). There is a mysterious communication of divine knowledge to those who walk in quiet, contemplative fellowship with God.
Luke 2:27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, :28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
It so happened that he entered the temple area on the very day that Jesus’ parents were presenting Him to God. Simeon was supernaturally instructed that this Child was the promised Messiah. Taking Jesus in his arms, he uttered the memorable song now known as The Nunc Dimittis (Now you are letting … depart).
Luke 2:29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; :30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation :31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, :32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”
The burden of the song is as follows: Lord, now You are letting me depart in peace. I have seen Your salvation in the Person of this Baby, the promised Redeemer, as You promised me. You ordained Him to provide salvation for all classes of people. He will be a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles (His First Advent) and to shine in glory on Your people Israel (His Second Advent). Simeon was prepared to die after he had met the Lord Jesus. The sting of death was gone. What can we learn from this?
Luke 2:33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.
Luke carefully guards the doctrine of the Virgin Birth with his precisely worded Joseph and His mother, as read by the King James tradition, following the majority of manuscripts.
Luke 2:34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against :35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
After this initial outburst of praise to God for the Messiah, Simeon blessed the parents, then spoke prophetically to Mary.
The prophecy consisted of four parts: 1. This Child was destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel. Those who were arrogant, unrepentant, and unbelieving would fall and be punished. Those who humbled themselves, repented of their sins, and received the Lord Jesus would rise and be blessed.
2. The Child was destined … for a sign which will be spoken against. There was a special significance connected with the Person of Christ. His very presence on earth proved a tremendous rebuke to sin and unholiness, and thus brought out the bitter animosity of the human heart.
3. Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also. Simeon was here predicting the grief which would flood Mary’s heart when she would witness the crucifixion of her Son (John 19:25).
4. … that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. The way in which a person reacts to the Savior is a test of his inward motives and affections.
Thus Simeon’s song includes the ideas of touchstone, stumblingstone, stepping-stone, and sword.
Luke 2:36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; :37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
Anna the prophetess, was, like Simeon, a member of the faithful remnant of Israel who was waiting for the advent of the Messiah. She was of the tribe of Asher (meaning happy, blessed), one of the ten tribes carried into captivity by the Assyrians in 721 B.C.
Anna must have been over one hundred years old, having been married for seven years, then widowed for eighty-four years. As a prophetess, she undoubtedly received divine revelations and served as a mouthpiece for God.
She was faithful in her attendance at public services at the temple, worshiping with fastings and supplications night and day. Her great age did not deter her from serving the Lord. What can we learn from this?
Luke 2:38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
Just as Jesus was being presented to the Lord, and as Simeon was speaking to Mary, Anna came up to this little cluster of people. She gave thanks to the Lord for the promised Redeemer, then spoke about Jesus to the faithful ones in Jerusalem who were expecting redemption.
Hinson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 121). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
MacArthur, J. F., Jr., MacDonald, Farstad, Believers Bible; Hinson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 2195). Nashville: Thomas Nelson