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Luke Chapter Two


I. Content of the Chapter


The Birth and Growing up of the Son of Man the Savior

I. The time and circumstance of His birth (v.1-7).

II. The preaching of Glad tidings of the angel and the praise of shepherds (v.8-20).

III. His being circumcised and being devoted to God (v.21-24).

IV. The praise of Simeon and the saying of a prophetess, Anna (v.25-38).

V. His growing up of the childhood and the event that He was in the temple when He was twelve years old (v.39-52).


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Luke. 2:1 “And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.

   YLT: “And it came to pass in those days, there went forth a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world be enrolled”

   Meaning of Words: “all the world”: the whole habitable earth.

   The Background: “Caesar Augustus” was the first emperor of the Roman Empire and he ruled the Roman Empire from B.C. 30 to A.D. 14.

   Literal Meaning: “all the world should be registered” “all the world” indicates the bound in the dominion of the Roman Empire at that time”; “be registered” is equal to the present popular census and the aim is for conscription and taxation at that time.

  Caesar originally wanted to show his supremacy through this behavior. Unexpectedly, this behavior fulfilled the plan of God. In order to be registered, Joseph and Mary had to come to Bethlehem from Nazareth (See v.4) and in Bethlehem she gave birth to the Savior Jesus. Then the prophecy of the place of Christ’s birth in the Old Testament was fulfilled (See Mic. 5:2; John. 7:41-42). This shows that the registration was of the domination of God.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Everything that happens to us is of the well-pleasing thoughts of God (See Matt. 11:26).

2) All the authorities on earth are the tools in the hand of God (See Prov. 21:1) to show His marvelous works and fulfill His will.


Luke. 2:2 “This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.

   YLT: “this enrollment first came to pass when Cyrenius was governor of Syria

   The Background: according to the research of Joseph the Jewish historian, people at that time had to be registered every fourteen years. Quirinius had been the governor of Syria two times. The first time was from B.C. 6 to B.C. 4 and the second was from A.D. 6 to A.D. 9. Fortunately every time he was the governor of Syria, the registration took place and therefore here the book mentioned the “first”.

  The year of the birth of the Lord Jesus was reckoned wrong by men so that it had been reckoned four to six years later at least concerning the beginning of an ear that is used universally. Therefore the actual year of His birth was in agreement with the history of this verse.

   Literal Meaning: “was governing Syria” “Syria” was one of the provinces of the Roman Empire and it was on the northeast of Palestine. The Roman Emperor directly appointed the governor of Syria. The governor, with great power, owned the authority to supervise the neighboring vassal states (the kingdom of Judah which Herod the Great ruled for example).


Luke. 2:3 “So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

   YLT: “and all were going to be enrolled, each to his proper city,”

   Literal Meaning: “everyone to his own city” indicates that everyone returns to his registered ancestral home town.


Luke. 2:4 “Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,

   YLT: “and Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, that is called Bethlehem, because of his being of the house and family of David,”

   Literal Meaning: “Joseph also went up from Galilee” Judea was in the south of Galilee, however, the land was higher and therefore the author used “went up”.

  “The city of David, which is called BethlehemBethlehem was the hometown of David (1Sam. 17:12) and therefore it was called the city of David. It was three days away from Bethlehem to Nazareth.

  “He was of the house and lineage of David.” Joseph was the lineage of David the royalty (See Matt. 1:6-16).


Luke. 2:5 “to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.

   YLT: “to enroll himself with Mary his betrothed wife, being with child.”

   Literal Meaning: “to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife” “betrothed wife” indicated the fiancée who had been engaged; at that time, though they did not have the reality of husband and wife, they had the role of husband and wife and they were obliged to keep their virginities. If the fiancée committed adultery, she would be stoned to death by her fiancé (See Deut. 22: 23-24).

  “Who was with child” “with child” indicates that it is close to the circumnatal period (See v.6). In ancient times women who were with child probably worked and traveled as usual.


Luke. 2:6 “So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.

   YLT: “And it came to pass, in their being there, the days were fulfilled for her bringing forth,”

   Literal Meaning: “while they were there” indicates the time that they stayed in Bethlehem.


Luke. 2:7 “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

   YLT: “and she brought forth her son the first-born, and wrapped him up, and laid him down in the manger, because there was not for them a place in the guest-chamber.”

   The Background: at that time, there were many people seeking temporary lodging in order to be registered and the inns were full and the overcrowdedness even caused trouble. Therefore the boss of inns made the livestock sheds open to the poor travelers for their lodging. 

   Literal Meaning: “laid Him in a manger” “a manger” was the crib that was made up of boards with nails to contain fodder of animals. It was a little bigger than a baby and it happened to be a bed to for the baby.

   Spiritual Meaning: this verse is a picture of typification, showing how the world dealt with Christ------the hearts of the world were chocked with cares of this life (See 8:14) and there was no room for Him so that He was dealt with badly -----He was laid in a manger.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man does not have where to lay His head (Matt. 8:20).

2) The only place in this world that accepts the Lord Jesus is the cross; since the world deal with the Lord this way, we should not hope to be dealt with better by the world.


Luke. 2:8 “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

   YLT: “And there were shepherds in the same region, lodging in the field, and keeping the night-watches over their flock,”

   Literal Meaning: “keeping watch over their flock by night.” “keeping watch” indicates in shifts; “over their flock” is to guard the flock from thieves and wild beasts. 

 Controversial Clarification: the so-called “Christmas” was established presumptuously by the Roman Catholic Church in the fourth century. At that time, the Emperor Constantine was changed to believe in Christianity and he commanded the whole people of the country to be converted to Christianity and this caused many nominal Christians. Most Romans were heathens who worshiped the sun-god before that time. They formerly regarded December 25th (from this day the days becomes longer and the nights become shorter) as the birthday of the sun-god and the whole nation celebrated the festivity joyously. Since the whole people were converted to Christianity, they still followed the old traditions and presumptuously appropriated December 25th as Christmas in the excuse of Jesus Christ who is the sun of righteousness (Mal. 4:2). Actually, the birth of the Lord Jesus should not be in the time of bitter winter------the end of the December and the reasons are as follows:

  1) According to the latitude of Palestine, it is bitterly cold in the end of December and it is also the season of rain and snow. At that time, the shepherds and their flock could not pass the night in the wild.

  2) According to the circumstantial evidence of history, “registration” (See v.1-3) is the historical fact that is on record. The big event that the whole people were influenced to receive the population census, every of which to his own country, should not take place in the time of bitter winter (it should not be spring or summer that are the busy seasons for farmers).

  Then, should Christians celebrate Christmas? Those approve this hold that:

  1) Though December 25th is not the birth of the Lord Jesus, establishing a day of common view to remember the birth of the Savior is good both to glorify God and benefit men.

  2) Believers could thank and worship God, rejoice together and bear witness to the glad tidings through this festivity and therefore Christmas has the positive meaning.

  However, many Christians who love the Lord with pure hearts, such as Watchman Nee and Wang Mingdao and other spiritual giants hold that the negative effects to celebrate Christmas are much more than the above positive effects. Therefore it is better not to celebrate Christmas and the reasons should never be neglected:

  1) It was easy for the authors of Gospels to search the birthday of the Lord Jesus, however, they all omitted the day. It shows that through this God purposely made us not pay attention to the birthday like what the world does.

  2) The Bible did not ask believers to remember the birth of the Lord Jesus, but His death (1Cor. 11: 23-26); we are saved because we believe in His death of redemption on the cross instead of His birth.

  3) The so-called “Christmas Day” is not the commandment of God but the establishment of men, just like the king Jeroboam ordained a feast (1Kings. 12:32-33). It is a behavior to offer the sacrifice presumptuously and it must be unacceptable to God (See 1Sam. 15:22).

  4) Just like the Jews changed “the feasts of Jehovah” into “the Jew’s Feasts” (John. 2:13; 5:1; 7:2) and “your appointed feasts” (Is. 1:14). Today the “Christmas” is “the feast of Christianity” instead of “the feast of God”. Therefore it is abominated by God.

  5) In fact, many believers bring in many customs of the world (such as dance, drinking to liven things up) in the excuse of the celebration of Christmas, even some heathen fiesta ways (such as the decoration of Christmas trees). This could not glorify God or benefit men at all, on the contrary, this humiliates the name of the Lord.

  6) Many upright Christians originally want to preach the glad tidings and bear witness of the Lord through the celebration of Christmas, however, unconsciously they mislead the world to stress on the birth of the Lord more than His death and even neglect the death of redemption on the cross. As a result of that, the purpose of glad tidings is blurred. The greater part of those who receive this kind of gospel lack solid foundation of faith and they are Christians who are neither cold nor hot.

   Enlightenment in the Word: in the last days of darkness (“night”), we should remain aloof from the world (“in the fields”) and take care of the flock that the Lord has entrusted us faithfully (“keep watch over their flock”).


Luke. 2:9 “And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

   YLT: “and lo, a messenger of the Lord stood over them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they feared a great fear.”

   Meaning of Words: “stood before”: come, be at hand (instant).


Luke. 2:10 “Then the angel said to them, Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

   YLT: “And the messenger said to them, ‘Fear not, for lo, I bring you good news of great joy, that shall be to all the people”

   Literal Meaning: “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” “good tidings of great joy” the birth of the Lord Jesus is good tidings of the greatest joy in the universe; “to all people” shows that it concerns not only the Jews but also all human beings.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “Do not be afraid” This is the feature of the time of grace; the first message from above is the word of comfort.

2) The birth of the Lord bring the hope of being redeemed to all things (See Col. 1:20; Rom. 8:21).


Luke. 2:11 “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

   YLT: “because there was born to you to-day a Saviour who is Christ the Lord in the city of David,”

   Literal Meaning: “there is born a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” Here it shows the three identities of the Lord Jesus on the earth: 1) Savior------He is the redeemer of all the people; 2) the Lord------He is dominator of all things and He is God; 3) Christ------He is the Messiah, the king.


Luke. 2:12 “And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’”

   YLT: “and this [is] to you the sign: Ye shall find a babe wrapped up, lying in the manger.’”

   Meaning of Words: “sign”: miracle, indication.

   Spiritual Meaning: this verse points out the sign of the Son of Man the Savior as follows:

  1) “A Babe” “babe” symbolizes that though He is little, He is full of life.

  2) “Lying in a manger” “manger” is the container to hold fodder of livestock; this symbolizes that though He is humble and despised by men, He is the bread which came down from heaven (See John. 6:41).


Luke. 2:13 “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

   YLT: “And suddenly there came with the messenger a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying,”

   Literal Meaning: “a multitude of the heavenly host” indicate the angels (See v.15).


Luke. 2:14Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’”

   YLT: “`Glory in the highest to God, and upon earth peace, among men good will.’”

   Literal Meaning: “glory to God in the highest” “in the highest” indicates the place where God is, i.e. third heaven (See 2Cor. 12:2). “Glory” is that God Himself is manifest; the moment God is manifest, it is full of glory (See Exod. 40:35). God in heaven is spirit and He is invisible to men’s eyes and incomprehensible to men’s minds; the Lord Jesus------the world became flesh to declare God (John. 1:18) and made men know God. Therefore the birth of the Lord Jesus was to manifest God, i.e. glory to God in the highest.

  “And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” “Peace” does not indicate the peace and success of environment but the peace and safety of minds. “Goodwill toward men” is a Hebrew idiom and it means the targets of God’s goodwill.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The praise of the angles shows the two duties of the Lord Jesus: on one hand He came to make God’s glory be manifest and on the other He came to make men have everlasting rest.

2) God’s glory is manifested through His salvation; only when men receive God’s salvation will God be glorified.

3) The salvation of God not only remits us from the punishment of sins but also makes us enjoy the life of God; the more we enjoy the life of God, the more God will be manifested and then God will be glorified.

4) The more one’s self disappears in God, the more he would glorify God.

5) There is no place for men’s glory in God’s work; any service should glorify God.

6) Peace is to those who are acceptable to God. Those who seek to please God will enjoy peace. Only when we obey the will of God and be acceptable to God will we have true peace.

7) First glory to God and then peace from God toward men. When you fully seek the glory of God, your soul will be lifted up to the heavenly and eternal realm. Peace shall be the king forever and peace shall come certainly because we are no longer troubled by gains and loss and the world.

8) “Peace” of Christians is neither related to the objective environment nor affected by outside things.

9) We should not seek peace besides God; there is only one fountain of peace in the whole world and that is God Himself.


Luke. 2:15 “So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.’”

   YLT: “And it came to pass, when the messengers were gone away from them to the heavens, that the men, the shepherds, said unto one another, `We may go over indeed unto Bethlehem, and see this thing that hath come to pass, that the Lord did make known to us.’”

   Enlightenment in the Word: believers should search and confirm the word that they have heard (See Acts. 17:11).


Luke. 2:16 “And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.

   YLT: “And they came, having hasted, and found both Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in the manger,”


Luke. 2:17 “Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.

   YLT: “and having seen, they made known abroad concerning the saying spoken to them concerning the child.”

   Enlightenment in the Word: believers also should preach what they have seen to others (See 1John. 1:3).


Luke. 2:18 “And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

   YLT: “And all who heard, did wonder concerning the things spoken by the shepherds unto them;”

   Enlightenment in the Word: God’s works and believers’ experience and witnesses are uncommon; anyone that follows the Lord and obeys His words will experience “marvelous” things continually in his life.


Luke. 2:19 “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.

   YLT: “and Mary was preserving all these things, pondering in her heart;”

   Enlightenment in the Word: “kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” Meditating the words and things of the Lord (See Gen. 24:63) is the secret of success to be guided by the Lord.


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.

   YLT: “and the shepherds turned back, glorifying and praising God, for all those things they heard and saw, as it was spoken unto them.”

   Enlightenment in the Word: if one walks in believing and obeying the words of the Lord, he shall verify the faithfulness of the words of the Lord in himself.


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.

   YLT: “And when eight days were fulfilled to circumcise the child, then was his name called Jesus, having been so called by the messenger before his being conceived in the womb.”

   Literal Meaning: “when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child” Every Jewish male child should be circumcised when he is eight days old (See Gen. 17:12; Lev. 12:3). The so-called “circumcision” is to cut off a piece of the foreskin as the sign of covenant with God from generation to generation.


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

   YLT: “And when the days of their purification were fulfilled, according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present to the Lord,”

   Literal Meaning: “the days of her purification according to the law of Moses” According to the law of Moses, if a woman born a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days. She should not touch hallowed thing or come into the sanctuary. She should stay home for thirty-three days (See Lev. 12:2-4). Therefore “the days of her purification were completed” indicates forty days after she born a child.

   Enlightenment in the Word: parents of the Lord Jesus according to the flesh obeyed the law of Moses to circumcise Him (v.21), and presented Him to God (v.24). These show that the Lord was born under the Law as a man in order to fulfill all the requirements of the law and redeem them that were under the law (Gal. 4:4-5).


Luke. 2:23 “(as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD),

   YLT: “as it hath been written in the Law of the Lord, ‘Every male opening a womb shall be called holy to the Lord,’”

   Literal Meaning: “every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD” “be called holy to the LORD” indicates to be separated to God; this remembers that God had killed all that opened the womb in Egypt and saved and delivered Israel from Egypt and therefore all that open the womb shall be Jehovah’s (See Exod. 13:11-16).

   Enlightenment in the Word: “every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD” Actually, this regulation of the law is fulfilled in the Lord. It shows that Christ is the reality of the law and He is also the explanation of the Bible.


Luke. 2:24 “and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.’”

   YLT: “and to give a sacrifice, according to that said in the Law of the Lord, ‘A pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons.’”

   Literal Meaning: “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons” The sacrifice in this verse is not for the child (See Lev. 12:6) but for the woman who bore a child (See Lev. 12:8); turtledoves and pigeons are the offerings of the poor, showing that the house of Joseph and Mary was very poor. 


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.

   YLT: “And lo, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name [is] Simeon, and this man is righteous and devout, looking for the comforting of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him,”

   Meaning of Words: “Simeon”: God hears.

   Literal Meaning: “this man was just and devout” “just” is towards men and “devout” towards God.

  “Waiting for the Consolation of Israel” At that time, Israel was under the dominion of the different nation and they waited earnestly for Messiah that God had promised to save them from the pressing of extreme misery. Therefore they treated the Messiah as “the Consolation of Israel” in their hearts (See Is. 40:1-5; 49:13).

   Spiritual Meaning: Simeon represents all those who live piously under the law. Though they try their best to obey all the regulations of the law, they are not released and they do not have rest. Therefore they hope earnestly the coming of the Consolation and the salvation. 

   Enlightenment in the Word: the Lord Jesus Christ is the only hope for all those who are born under the law.


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.

   YLT: “and it hath been divinely told him by the Holy Spirit not to see death before he may see the Christ of the Lord.”


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,

   YLT: “And he came in the Spirit to the temple, and in the parents bringing in the child Jesus, for their doing according to the custom of the law regarding him,”

   Literal Meaning: “he came by the Spirit” indicates that He was led by the Spirit. Luke used three ways to describe the Spirit’s work in Simeon: 1) the Holy Spirit was upon Him (v.25); 2) it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit (v.26); 3) he came by the Spirit (v.27).

   Enlightenment in the Word: “the revelation that Simeon have received” was to “see the Lord’s Christ” (v.26). “The inspiration that he had received” led him to meet Jesus. This proves that all the work of the Holy Spirit is for the glory of Christ and to bring men into the reality of Christ (See John. 16:13-15).


Luke. 2:28 “he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

   YLT: “then he took him in his arms, and blessed God, and he said,”

   The Background: according to the Jewish traditions, parents have to bring their child to the Holy Temple and asked the elder rabbi to bless and pray for the baby.

   Literal Meaning: “blessed God” It seemed that he was praising God. Actually, it is the Holy Spirit that declares the message of God through him.


Luke. 2:29Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word;

   YLT: “`Now Thou dost send away Thy servant, Lord, according to Thy word, in peace,”

   Enlightenment in the Word: the meaning of men’s life is to see and experience Christ (See v.30); otherwise, it is meaningless and vain to spend one’s life.


Luke. 2:30 “For my eyes have seen Your salvation

   YLT: “because mine eyes did see Thy salvation,”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Chinese sage said that “one has not lived in vain if he dies after he is told of the way”; to Christians it is that, “if our eyes have seen the salvation, we could depart in peace”.

2) If we have Christ, we have the salvation; if we do not have Christ, we do not have the salvation. Christ Himself is our salvation.

3) The salvation is that the Lord Himself comes to be men’s everything and enjoyment.

4) When Christ------“the new man” in grace comes, the old Simeon------“the old man” under the law shall and must depart.


Luke. 2:31 “Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,

   YLT: “which Thou didst prepare before the face of all the peoples,”


Luke. 2:32 “A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.’”

   YLT: “a light to the uncovering of nations, and the glory of Thy people Israel.’”


Luke. 2:33 “And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.

   YLT: “And Joseph and his mother were wondering at the things spoken concerning him,”


Luke. 2:34-35 “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 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.’”

   YLT: “and Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, ‘Lo, this [one] is set for the falling and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign spoken against (and also thine own soul shall a sword pass through) that the reasonings of many hearts may be revealed.’”

   Literal Meaning: “then Simeon blessed them” Please note that Simeon blessed the parents of Jesus instead of Jesus because without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better (See Heb. 7:7).

  “For the fall and rising of many” Whether one falls or rises depends on whether he believes in Him or not. To those who do not believe in Him, Christ is the rock of offence that makes them be offended because of Him (See Rom. 9:23); to those who believe in Him, Christ is the cornerstone that makes men be built up because of Him.

  “And for a sign which will be spoken against” It means that the Lord Jesus will become the laughing stock of unbelievers and He will be talked about, mocked, slandered and abused by men.

  “A sword will pierce through your own soul also” because Mary will see her own son be crucified on the cross (See John. 19:25).

   Enlightenment in the Word: our Lord is a tried stone (See Is. 28:16) and is also a stone to try others. If men are tried by this stone, they will be shown as one of the three kinds of men among the “many” in the speech of Simeon:

  1) Many will fall because of the words of the Lord (for example, many disciples were offended because they did not understand the words of the Lord and went away, See John. 6:60-61, 66).

  2) Many will rise because of the words of the Lord (for example, Peter followed the Lord Jesus confirmedly, See John. 6:67-68).

  3) The thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (for example, Judas was revealed by the words of the Lord that he was the devil that betrayed the Lord, See John. 6:70-71).


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;

   YLT: “And there was Anna, a prophetess, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, she was much advanced in days, having lived with an husband seven years from her virginity,”

   Meaning of Words: “Anna”: grace, prayer; “Asher”: fortune; “Phanuel”: the countenance of God.

   Spiritual Meaning: Simeon (v.25) represents the law; Anna represents the prophets. They together represent the whole age of the Old Testament. Their features are:

  1) “Of a great age” symbolizes the lack of life and vigor.

  2) “A widow” symbolizes without dependence or satisfaction.


Luke. 2:37 “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.

   YLT: “and she [is] a widow of about eighty-four years, who did depart not from the temple, with fasts and supplications serving, night and day,”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Every believer is able to receive the power of prayer, however, one never receive the power without any effort. The effect of prayer lies in the steadfastness and perseverance of prayer. To those who pray on and off, their prayers won’t be of great effect.       

2) The more we pray, the more we will be good at praying. We should learn to pray through prayer and continue praying through prayer.

3) Intercessors are the greatest protectors of the church and they are the channels for God to show His mercy before the mercy-seat.


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.

   YLT: “and she, at that hour, having come in, was confessing, likewise, to the Lord, and was speaking concerning him, to all those looking for redemption in Jerusalem.”

   Literal Meaning: “all those who looked for the redemption in Jerusalem” “the redemption in Jerusalem” is one important part for the Messiah to save the whole Israel (See Is. 40:2; 52:9). “Redemption in Jerusalem” and “the Consolation of Israel” are synonyms (v.25).

   Enlightenment in the Word: when men are under the requirements of the law, though they do not depart the temple, serve God with fastings and prayers day and night (See v.37) and live the most pious life, it is still in vain. Only when Christ comes will they be able to “give thanks” to the Lord and “speak of Him” to men and fulfill their duties of prophets practically.


Luke. 2:39 “So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.

   YLT: “And when they finished all things, according to the Law of the Lord, they turned back to Galilee, to their city Nazareth;”


Luke. 2:40 “And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

   YLT: “and the child grew and was strengthened in spirit, being filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.”

   Enlightenment in the Word: the Lord Jesus still needs God’s grace in the humanity. Believers should look upon God’s grace more.


Luke. 2:41 “His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.

   YLT: “And his parents were going yearly to Jerusalem, at the feast of the passover,”

   The Background: according to the regulations of the law of Moses, the Jews should go to Jerusalem three times every year, at the feast of the Passover, at the feast of weeks, and at the feast of tabernacles (See Deut. 16:16). However, in the age of the birth of Jesus, the Jews who lived far away only went to Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover.

  “The feast of the Passover” This feast is to remember that Israel was delivered from Egypt (See Exod. 12:1-20). It is held in the first month of the Jewish calendar (about from March to April of the solar calendar) and it lasts seven days. 


Luke. 2:42 “And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.

   YLT: “and when he became twelve years old, they having gone up to Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast,”

   The Background: according to the saying of the Jewish Bible exegete Alford, the Jews call the boys who are twelve years old “sons of the law” and they begin to be restrained by the law.

  Some others said that when the Jewish boys are thirteen years old, they officially become one member of the sacred assembly of Israel. Common boys begin to make preparations for this when they are twelve years old.


Luke. 2:43 “When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it;

   YLT: “and having finished the days, in their returning the child Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, and Joseph and his mother did not know,”

   The Background: “Joseph and His mother did not know it.” When the Jews went to Jerusalem to keep holiday, they mostly go and return in a group. Usually, women and children walk before men and the whole family gather together in the appointed place. Therefore His parents supposed that He was in the company (See v.44).


Luke. 2:44 “but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day's journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.

   YLT: “and, having supposed him to be in the company, they went a day’s journey, and were seeking him among the kindred and among the acquaintances,”


Luke. 2:45 “So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.

   YLT: “and not having found him, they turned back to Jerusalem seeking him.”


Luke. 2:46 “Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.

   YLT: “And it came to pass, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both hearing them and questioning them,”

   The Background: on the occasion of the feast, rabbis of the Jewish council would come to the Holy Temple and answer the questions of the common people publicly concerning the law and traditions.

   Literal Meaning: “after three days” They had already “gone a day’s journey” (See v.44) before they departed from Jerusalem and they returned a day’s journey. They probably spent a day to find Him.

  “Sitting in the midst of the teachers” “Teachers” are rabbis who were familiar with the law and ceremonies of the Bible.


Luke. 2:47 “And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.

   YLT: “and all those hearing him were astonished at his understanding and answers.”


Luke. 2:48 “So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.’”

   YLT: “And, having seen him, they were amazed, and his mother said unto him, `Child, why didst thou thus to us? lo, thy father and I, sorrowing, were seeking thee.’”


Luke. 2:49 “And He said to them, Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"

   YLT: “And he said unto them, `Why [is it] that ye were seeking me? did ye not know that in the things of my Father it behoveth me to be?’”

   Literal Meaning: “be about My Father’s business” “My Father” indicates God the Father in heaven.

   Enlightenment in the Word: believers, as sons and daughters of God, should be about Father’s business and should not set their minds on the things on earth (See Col. 3:2).


Luke. 2:50 “But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.

   YLT: “and they did not understand the saying that he spake to them,”


Luke. 2:51 “Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.

   YLT: “and he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and he was subject to them, and his mother was keeping all these sayings in her heart,”


Luke. 2:52 “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

   YLT: “and Jesus was advancing in wisdom, and in stature, and in favour with God and men.”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The true growth of life is not unbalanced but harmonious.

2) If we are possessed by Christ and manifest Him by living, there will be the “balanced” condition and it should not be extreme or unbalanced. Any extreme or unbalanced condition should not be of Christ.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


The Son of Man the Savior Is A Perfect Man

I. He was born when His parents obeyed the law of men (v.1-7)------He had the official census registration.

II. His mother gave birth to Him after the normal period of gestation (v.6-7)------He was born according to the law of God’s creation of men and He was a normal man.

III. He completely obeyed the regulations of the law of God (v.21-24)------He was an orthodox Jewish.

IV. He grew up according to the law of life of men (v.40)------He grew up under the normal conditions.

V. He was about the Father’s business in His childhood, however, He was subject to His parents according to the flesh (v.41-51)------He cared about and sought the things of God and this did not make Him overlook His identity of the Son of Man.

VI. His body, soul and spirit all grew up harmoniously (v.52)------He acted as a perfect man both before God and men.


Knowledge of Heavenly Revelation

I. The requirements to receive heavenly revelation (v.8):

  A. in the fields------keep aloof from the world.

  B. the shepherds------they look after the Lord’s lambs that the Lord has entrusted to them.

  C. keep watch over…by night------they are faithful and do not leave their positions in the darkness of the last time. 

II. The feature of heavenly revelation (v.9)------it is uncommon and it unavoidably makes men be afraid.

III. The aim of heavenly revelation (v.10)------it is not for one’s own being spiritual but for the profit of all.

IV. The content of heavenly revelation (v.11)------it is not spiritual reasons but Christ Himself.

V. The sign of heavenly revelation (v.12)------Christ humbled Himself (a Babe) not for men’s research but to be men’ bread of life (lying in a manger).

VI. The effect of heavenly revelation (v.13-14)------it gained a group of people whom God favors. They themselves not only enjoy the peace of God but also make others glorify God because of them.


The Spiritual Meanings of Three Ceremonies

I. Circumcision (v.21)------it typifies that we put off the body of the sins of the flesh in Christ (See Col. 2:11).

II. The ceremony to present the boy who opens the womb (v.22-23)------it typifies Christ’s redemption (Exod. 12:13).

III. The ceremony to cleans women who had given birth to a child (v.24)------it typifies that men were shaped in iniquity (Ps. 51:5).


The Example of Anna the Prophetess (v.36-37)

I. She had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity and was a widow ------her life was full of misery but she had not fallen into the deep sorrow. 

II. She was already eighty-four years------though she was old, she never gave up her hope.

III. She did not depart from the temple------she did not depart the habitation of God (which typifies the church).

IV. She served God with fastings and prayers night and day------she did not cease serving God with prayers.


Four Important Aspects of the Balanced Growth of Believers (v.52)

I. Wisdom------mental growth.

II. Stature------physical growth.

III. In favor with God------growth in spirit.

IV. In favor with God------growth in character.


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Sharon Ren