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Luke chapter 2

New International Version

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.'
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.'
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, 'Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord'), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: 'a pair of doves or two young pigeons.'
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.'
33 The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: 'This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.'
36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
41 Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, 'Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.'
49 Why were you searching for me?' he asked. 'Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?' 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
English Standard Version

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was 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 those with whom he is pleased!” 15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first 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.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous 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. 27 And he came in 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,
29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
King James Version

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. 22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; 23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) 24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. 33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. 34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; 35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. 36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; 37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. 39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. 40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. 43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. 44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. 45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. 46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. 49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? 50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. 51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
New American Standard Bible

1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. 2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all the people were on their way to register for the census, each to his own city. 4 Now 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 betrothed to him, and was pregnant. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock at night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood near them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 And so 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; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.' 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army of angels praising God and saying,
14 'Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased.'
15 When the angels had departed from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, 'Let’s go straight to Bethlehem, then, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.' 16 And they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen Him, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it were amazed about the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
21 And when eight days were completed so that it was time for His circumcision, He was also named Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
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 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'), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what has been stated in the Law of the Lord: 'A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG DOVES.'
25 And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to 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. 27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, 28 then he took Him in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 'Now, Lord, You are letting Your bond-servant depart in peace, According to Your word; 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all the peoples: 32 A light for revelation for the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.'
33 And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to His mother Mary, 'Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and as a sign to be opposed— 35 and a sword will pierce your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.'
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, 37 and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She did not leave the temple grounds, serving night and day with fasts and prayers. 38 And at that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak about Him to all those who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 And when His parents had completed everything in accordance with the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth. 40 Now the Child continued to grow and to become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the favor of God was upon Him.
41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up there according to the custom of the feast; 43 and as they were returning, after spending the full number of days required, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but His parents were unaware of it. 44 Instead, they thought that He was somewhere in the caravan, and they went a day’s journey; and then they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 And when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, looking for Him. 46 Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. 48 When Joseph and Mary saw Him, they were bewildered; and His mother said to Him, 'Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You!' 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’shouse?' 50 And yet they on their part did not understand the statement which He had made to them. 51 And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued to be subject to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and people.
New Living Translation

1 At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David's ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, his fiancee, who was now obviously pregnant.
6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. 'Don't be afraid!' he said. 'I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior--yes, the Messiah, the Lord--has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.'
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others--the armies of heaven--praising God and saying,
14 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'
15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, 'Let's go to Bethlehem! Let's see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.'
16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds' story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
21 Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived.
22 Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. 23 The law of the Lord says, 'If a woman's first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the LORD.' 24 So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord--'either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.'
25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
29 'Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. 30 I have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared for all people. 32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!'
33 Jesus' parents were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby's mother, 'This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.'
36 Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 37 Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. 38 She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
39 When Jesus' parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 40 There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God's favor was on him.
41 Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. 42 When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. 43 After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn't miss him at first, 44 because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn't show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends.
45 When they couldn't find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. 46 Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. 47 All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
48 His parents didn't know what to think. 'Son,' his mother said to him, 'why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.'
49 'But why did you need to search?' he asked. 'Didn't you know that I must be in my Father's house?' 50 But they didn't understand what he meant.
51 Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.
52 Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.
Christian Standard Bible

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. 2 This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.
4 Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, 5 to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 Then she gave birth to her firstborn son, and she wrapped him tightly in cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Don't be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger."
13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
14 Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors!
15 When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."
16 They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger. 17 After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had seen and heard, which were just as they had been told.
21 When the eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus--the name given by the angel before he was conceived. 22 And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were finished, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every firstborn male will be dedicated to the Lord ) 24 and to offer a sacrifice (according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons ).
25 There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel's consolation, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord's Messiah. 27 Guided by the Spirit, he entered the temple. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon took him up in his arms, praised God, and said,
29 Now, Master, you can dismiss your servant in peace, as you promised. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation. 31 You have prepared it in the presence of all peoples -- 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to your people Israel.
33 His father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and told his mother Mary, "Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed-- 35 and a sword will pierce your own soul--that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
36 There was also a prophetess, Anna, a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well along in years, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and was a widow for eighty-four years. She did not leave the temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayers. 38 At that very moment, she came up and began to thank God and to speak about him to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When they had completed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The boy grew up and became strong, filled with wisdom, and God's grace was on him.
41 Every year his parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up according to the custom of the festival. 43 After those days were over, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. 44 Assuming he was in the traveling party, they went a day's journey. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. 46 After three days, they found him in the temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all those who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."
49 "Why were you searching for me? " he asked them. "Didn't you know that it was necessary for me to be in my Father's house? " 50 But they did not understand what he said to them.
51 Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them. His mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.

What does Luke chapter 2 mean?

Luke's account connects Jesus' birth to historical events. Augustus was Emperor sometime between 27 BC and AD 14. However, Quirinius' governorship would have been around AD 6 or 7, which results in questions about what Luke really means here. One possibility involves Luke's use of the Greek term prōtos, which may mean this census was commanded "before" Quirinius' term. Another option is that the census was announced by Augustus prior to Jesus' birth, but not fully implemented until later, i.e., during Quirinius' governorship. As with any government count, this census was meant to calculate taxes and military resources. Mary's soon-to-be-husband, Joseph, is a descendant of David, so they go to Bethlehem to participate (Luke 2:1–5).

It would have been unusual for an unmarried couple to travel together, but the circumstances of Mary's pregnancy are hardly normal (Luke 1:34–35). The family likely realized it would be better for her to be with Joseph when she gave birth. That Mary is in Bethlehem when Jesus is born corresponds to Messianic prophecy (Micah 5:2). A common assumption about the night of Jesus' birth is that Mary and Joseph were coldly turned away from lodging by callous businessmen, so she was forced to give birth in a barn. What's more likely is that there was no room for childbirth in the main living area of the place where they had already arranged to stay. That Mary rests while Jesus lays in a feeding trough is certainly part of His humble beginnings, but it does not mean ancient hospitality somehow skipped them over (Luke 2:6–7).

Throughout history, God has made it clear that human effort and human prestige are nothing when He is not at the center of events. He routinely uses those the world deems unimportant to accomplish great things (1 Corinthians 1:27–28). In keeping with that theme, the first people to hear about Jesus' birth are not kings and scholars. Rather, they are common herdsmen. These ordinary folks are treated to the sight of an angelic choir praising God. Though the angel does not command the shepherds to seek out the newborn King, he does explain how they can find Him (Luke 2:8–14).

When the angels leave, the shepherds naturally react by going to see Jesus in person. There, they explain what has happened. In many cultures, families will set out a series of miniature figures representing the night of Jesus' birth. These nativity scenes almost always include Jesus, Mary, Joseph, shepherd, and angels. However, they are also often seen with barnyard animals and the wise men from the east (Matthew 2:1–2). Scripture does not indicate there were literal animals surrounding Christ on that night, and the wise men almost certainly met with Him much later and in a different place. Mary makes a conscious effort to consider all that happens. She knows these events are important (Luke 2:15–20).

Mary and Joseph raised Jesus in obedience to the traditional laws of the Old Testament. This included circumcision (Genesis 17:10–12). It also meant following the Mosaic requirements for ritual purity. The rules in Leviticus 12 require a lamb for this rite, but allow a poor person to offer two birds, instead. This seems to be the choice made by Joseph and Mary (Luke 2:21–24).

While in the temple, Joseph and Mary encounter Simeon. We know little about him other than his profound connection to the Holy Spirit. That influence gave him a divine promise: that he would live to see the Messiah. This has led many to assume Simeon was very old when he saw Jesus. However, Scripture never mentions Simeon's age. His reaction is to hold the infant Messiah and offer praises to God. These amaze Mary and Joseph, as Simeon highlights Jesus' role as the Savior of not just Israel, but the entire world (Luke 2:25–32).

Not everything Simeon has to say is happy news. He points out that Jesus' ministry will be a point of division. Even the people of Israel will be sharply divided: between those who do and those who do not accept Him as their Savior. Mary, for her part, will also suffer intense emotional pain, like a sword stabbing into her heart. The most vivid example of this will be her presence at Jesus' crucifixion (John 19:25–27). How people respond to Jesus will reveal the intentions of their hearts (Luke 2:33–35).

Another notable person in the temple on this day is Anna. Scripture does not tell us exactly how she came to be identified as a prophetess (Exodus 15:20; Judges 4:4). She seems to have been known as such prior to her description here. Aged eighty-four, she spends most of her time in prayer and worship. This passage seems to imply that she was led to come to the temple at the very moment Simeon was holding Jesus and responded by telling everyone who would listen about the Messiah (Luke 2:36–38).

Luke often reminds readers that Jesus' experience was fully human. That includes being raised by His family, in Mary's hometown. Nazareth was not held in high esteem by Jews of that era. It was not only considered backwards and low-class, but it was also the site of a Roman garrison. That Jesus will be known as a "Nazarene" is no compliment (John 1:46). And yet, it is there where Jesus will experience a relatively normal childhood (Luke 2:39–40).

Part of Jesus' God-honoring upbringing is participation in required feasts (Deuteronomy 16:16). What happens during the Passover festival is often taken drastically out of context. Jesus is nearly the age of adulthood in His culture, making a trip His family performed yearly, among a large group of relatives and neighbors. It's awkward that Mary and Joseph don't realize Jesus didn't leave the city with the group until the end of the day, but not negligent. A days' journey out, a day to return, and then finding Him is summarized as "after three days." Jesus is discovered in the temple, amazing people with His depth of wisdom (Luke 2:41–47).

Mary is unhappy about how these events have happened. She seems to think Jesus has mistreated her and Joseph, Jesus' adoptive and legal father. Jesus' answer, however, implies that the temple is exactly where she should have expected Him to be. He also refers to it as "[His] Father's house." This implies self-awareness about His divinity and status as the Son of God. Mary doesn't fully understand this series of events, at first (Luke 2:48–50).

Though she doesn't see the full picture yet, Mary continues to trust God. She makes a deliberate effort, once again, to keep all these things in her memory. Luke's comment here doesn't suggest that Jesus only now began to submit to His earthly parents. Rather, this clarifies that Jesus continued to act in submission. He didn't use this moment as an excuse to ignore their authority. This deference, from God Incarnate to His earthly family, clarifies that a call to submission is not a sign of inferiority (Luke 2:51).

Luke also reminds the reader, once again, that Jesus' humanity was entirely complete. He grew, physically and mentally, as he aged into adulthood. Other than a lack of sin (Hebrews 4:15, 1 Peter 2:22), He was entirely human (Luke 2:52).

Next, Luke's account will leap forward around eighteen years, to the public ministry of John the Baptist. This lack of details about Jesus' early life is both efficient and kind. It keeps Scripture from being packed with irrelevant detail (John 21:25). It also prevents well-meaning parents from constantly comparing their child's growth milestones to those of the Messiah.