The birth of Jesus
1About that time Emperor Augustus gave orders for the names of all the people to be listed in record books.#2.1 names … listed in record books: This was done so that everyone could be made to pay taxes to the Emperor. 2These first records were made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.#2.2 Quirinius was governor of Syria: It is known that Quirinius made a record of the people in ad 6 or 7. But the exact date of the record taking that Luke mentions is not known.
3Everyone had to go to their own home town to be listed. 4So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. Long ago Bethlehem had been King David's home town, and Joseph went there because he was from David's family.
5Mary was engaged to Joseph and travelled with him to Bethlehem. She was soon going to have a baby, 6and while they were there, 7she gave birth to her firstborn#2.7 firstborn: The Jewish people said that the firstborn son in each of their families belonged to the Lord. son. She dressed him in baby clothes#2.7 dressed him in baby clothes: The Greek text has “wrapped him in wide strips of cloth”, which was how young babies were dressed. and laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. 9All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord's glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened. 10But the angel said, “Don't be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. 11This very day in King David's home town a Saviour was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. 12You will know who he is, because you will find him dressed in baby clothes and lying on a bed of hay.”
13Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God. They said:
14“Praise God in heaven!
Peace on earth to everyone
who pleases God.”
15After the angels had left and gone back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let's go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.” 16They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay.
17When the shepherds saw Jesus, they told his parents what the angel had said about him. 18Everyone listened and was surprised. 19But Mary kept thinking about all this and wondering what it meant.
20As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about him. Everything they had seen and heard was just as the angel had said.
21 # Lev 12.3; Luke 1.31. Eight days later Jesus' parents did for him what the Law of Moses commands.#2.21 what the Law of Moses commands: See the note at 1.59. And they named him Jesus, just as the angel had told Mary when he promised she would have a baby.
Simeon praises the Lord
22 # Lev 12.6–8. The time came for Mary and Joseph to do what the Law of Moses says a mother is supposed to do after her baby is born.#2.22 after her baby is born: After a Jewish mother gave birth to a son, she was considered “unclean” and had to stay at home until he was circumcised (see the note at 1.59). Then she had to stay at home for another 33 days, before offering a sacrifice to the Lord.
They took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem and presented him to the Lord, 23#Exod 13.2,12.just as the Law of the Lord says, “Each firstborn#2.23 firstborn: See the note at 2.7. baby boy belongs to the Lord.” 24The Law of the Lord also says that parents have to offer a sacrifice, giving at least a pair of doves or two young pigeons. So that is what Mary and Joseph did.
25At this time a man named Simeon was living in Jerusalem. Simeon was a good man. He loved God and was waiting for God to save the people of Israel. God's Spirit came to him 26and told him that he would not die until he had seen Christ the Lord.
27When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to do what the Law of Moses says should be done for a new baby, the Spirit told Simeon to go into the temple. 28Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms and praised God,
29“Lord, I am your servant,
and now I can die in peace,
because you have kept
your promise to me.
30With my own eyes I have seen
what you have done
to save your people,
31and foreign nations
will also see this.
32 # Isa 42.6; 49.6; 52.10. Your mighty power is a light
for all nations,
and it will bring honour
to your people Israel.”
33Jesus' parents were surprised at what Simeon had said. 34Then he blessed them and told Mary, “This child of yours will cause many people in Israel to fall and others to stand. The child will be like a warning sign. Many people will reject him, 35and you, Mary, will suffer as though you had been stabbed by a dagger. But all this will show what people are really thinking.”
Anna speaks about the child Jesus
36The prophet Anna was also there in the temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. In her youth she had been married for seven years, but her husband had died. 37And now she was eighty-four years old.#2.37 And now she was eighty-four years old: Or “And now she had been a widow for eighty-four years.” Night and day she served God in the temple by praying and often going without eating.#2.37 without eating: The Jewish people sometimes went without eating (also called “fasting”) to show their love for God or to show sorrow for their sins.
38At that time Anna came in and praised God. She spoke about the child Jesus to everyone who hoped for Jerusalem to be set free.
The return to Nazareth
39 # Matt 2.23. After Joseph and Mary had done everything that the Law of the Lord commands, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 40The child Jesus grew. He became strong and wise, and God blessed him.
The boy Jesus in the temple
41 # Exod 12.1–27; Deut 16.1–8. Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for Passover. 42And when Jesus was twelve years old, they all went there as usual for the celebration. 43After Passover his parents left, but they did not know that Jesus had stayed on in the city. 44They thought he was travelling with some other people, and they went a whole day before they started looking for him. 45When they could not find him with their relatives and friends, they went back to Jerusalem and started looking for him there.
46Three days later they found Jesus sitting in the temple, listening to the teachers and asking them questions. 47Everyone who heard him was surprised at how much he knew and at the answers he gave.
48When his parents found him, they were amazed. His mother said, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been very worried, and we have been searching for you!”
49Jesus answered, “Why did you have to look for me? Didn't you know that I would be in my Father's house?”#2.49 in my Father's house: Or “doing my Father's work”. 50But they did not understand what he meant.
51Jesus went back to Nazareth with his parents and obeyed them. His mother kept on thinking about all that had happened.
52 # 1 Sam 2.26; Prov 3.4. Jesus became wise, and he grew strong. God was pleased with him and so were the people.