Read Luke Chapter 2
Luke takes us on a whistle stop tour from Jesus birth to when He was 12. Along the way we meet the shepherds who were the first to worship the Baby Jesus and after meeting Him could not keep quiet about all that they had seen. Then we meet Simeon in Jerusalem who had been waiting a long time for this day. He blessed and prophesied over Jesus that He would cause some to fall and some to rise. We meet briefly Anna the 84 year old prophetess who gave thanks for the arrival of the Messiah and spoke about Him to any who would listen.
After these things had taken place we get a glimpse into the early years of our Lord Jesus as a boy. The events continue to be reported in such a way as to provide a consecutive narrative. We have the events of Jesus as a baby, signifying adherence to Jewish custom and law; the circumcision and dedication. We have a hint at his steady growth as a child, becoming physically able and clever (exactly the desire of all parents of young children). Then we have the extraordinary events in Jerusalem when Mary and Joseph have their worst fears realised; their child was missing. Everything worked out in the end and Jesus, having acted in a very adolescent way, knowing who He is at heart but acting on it too soon, became subject to His parents headship to await patiently the beginning of His ministry. While doing this Jesus: “kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” He grew into a fine young man, every parents hope for their teenagers.
Luke 2:3 “And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. 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, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.”
You may think the lowly town of Bethlehem is an interesting choice for the Saviour to be born, that is until you understand why. Bethlehem was the home town of the line of King David (see the book of Ruth), that’s why Mary and Joseph went there, because Joseph was a descendent of King David and everyone had to travel to their home towns to be counted. The census, decreed by the Emperor because of his pride, was used by God for his own reasons fulfilling the prophecy as decreed in Micah 5:2. Jesus would therefore be born exactly where God had determined. And so it was: Mary was heavily pregnant with Jesus as they travelled and shortly after their arrival she gave birth.
Luke 2:13 “And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” 15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”
It is not insignificant that there were shepherds nearby. Bethlehem was the place where lambs were reared for use in the temple sacrifices; sacrifices for the sins of the nation. One day Jesus would become the ‘Lamb of God’ to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
Continue on to Chapter Three