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Bible Commentaries
Luke 2

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

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Verses 1-52


1. The Birth of Christ at Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-7 )

2. The Glad Tidings Announced to the Shepherds. (Luke 2:8-20 )

3. The Circumcision and Presentation (Luke 2:21-24 )

4. Simeon and His Prophecy (Luke 2:25-35 )

5. Anna the Prophetess (Luke 2:36-38 )

6. In Nazareth (Luke 2:39-40 )

7. In the Temple (Luke 2:41-51 )

8. The Increase (Luke 2:52 .)

Luke 2:1-7

The appointed time (Galatians 4:4 ) had come. According to prophecy the Saviour had to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2 ). But Mary lived in Nazareth. God in His own marvelous way ordered everything and Caesar Augustus was directed to issue the decree of taxation at such a time and in such a way and also the journey of Joseph and his espoused wife, Mary, that she had to be in Bethlehem when the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. The great Roman Emperor knew nothing of what God was accomplishing by his decree. Then He was born, who left the glory of Heaven and became poor for our sakes. What condescension we behold here! The Maker of Heaven and Earth, born of a woman, taking the creature’s place! The first resting place of Him, who came from the bosom of the Father is a manger! There was no room for Him in the inn.

Luke 2:8-20

Here not the birth of a King is announced as in Matthew, but the birth of a Saviour. The wise men from the East looking for the newborn King are not mentioned by Luke. Poor shepherds hear the glad tidings first. Heaven is opened. The Glory of the Lord shines round about; angels’ voices are heard, telling out in heavenly praise, what will be the ultimate result of the work of the Second Man. “Glory to God in the highest, Peace on Earth, good will toward men.” But the world rejected Him. Good will toward men sounds forth in the glad tidings, but “Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth” is yet to come, when He, the Son of Man, appears again. The shepherds were obedient. They made haste. How simple their faith; how great their reward!

Luke 2:21-24

And now we find that He, who came of a woman also was made under the law. The circumcision made Him “debtor to do the whole law” which He alone could fulfill; and then to redeem those upon whom the curse of the law rests, by being made a curse for us. (Galatians 3:13 ). The name announced before His birth is then given to the child. (Matthew 1:21 ). Five other persons in the Bible were named before their birth: Isaac, Genesis 17:19 ; Ishmael, Genesis 16:11 ; Josiah, 1 Kings 13:2 ; Cyrus, Isaiah 44:28 , and John the Baptist. As the firstborn, according to His own law, He is presented unto the Lord. The required sacrifice is brought, in which is written the story of the cross. The sacrifice tells the story of poverty, for the sacrificial birds were only for the poor. “If she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtle doves, or two young pigeons.” (Leviticus 12:6 ).

Luke 2:25-35

Simeon had the divine revelation that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Anointed. He belonged to the faithful remnant of Israel, who in the dark days of decline and apostasy held fast the Word and waited for its promised fulfillment. The Lord had then a faithful remnant, who waited for His first coming; and now His faithful people wait for the blessed Hope, His coming again to receive them unto Himself. Simeon had the revelation that he should not see death, till He had come. This corresponds to the greater promises in 1 Corinthians 15:51 and 1 Thessalonians 4:17 . The Spirit led him into the temple at the right moment. His waiting ended when he held the child in his arms. It was a babe, like any other babe. Yet faith saw in Him what He is, the Lord’s salvation for His people; He who had come to do the great work. “A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people, Israel.” This is prophetic. The Gentiles are put first. Even so it has come to pass; after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in all Israel will be saved. See Isaiah 49:5-6 ; Romans 11:25-26 . And Simeon, holding the babe in his arms, blest the mother and Joseph, not the child, for he knew He was the Blesser.

Luke 2:36

Then a daughter of Phanuel, Anna, appeared to add her testimony. What a beautiful woman she must have been in her self-denying service! No sooner had she seen the Lord than she spake at once of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. In the midst of the wicked city, soon to become a city of murderers (Isaiah 1:21 ), there was a company of men and women who looked for redemption.

Luke 2:39-40

They returned to Nazareth. The visit of the wise men, the flight into Egypt and the return are omitted. Twelve years passed and it did not please the Holy Spirit to give us a report of them. Spurious Gospels of the Infancy were circulated later; they are all legendary and unreliable. As the true Man He grew from infancy to boyhood. Of all the sinless conditions of the human body He was partaker. He grew both mentally and physically. His heart ever seeking God and being in subjection unto Him.

Luke 2:41-50

Every Jewish boy of twelve years visited Jerusalem at the time of the great festivals. He stayed behind and his anxious mother and Joseph found Him in the temple three days later. For three days He was lost to them. May this not be a reminder of the three days He was thought lost by His disciples? (Luke 24:21 ). Here the human infirmity of Mary comes to light. She was nervously anxious. Her words have an accusing tone. The greatest mistake she committed was the mentioning of Joseph as “thy Father.” In all this her human failure is in evidence. But how sublime the answer of the twelve year old boy! He is astonished that they should have sought Him; He came to seek them. He is astonished that they did not know that He had to be about His Father’s business. What an answer it is! These are His first words recorded in the Gospels. He corrects His fallible mother, who had said, “thy Father and I.” His Father, He declares, is He in whose house He had gone. It is the first self-witness to His Deity.

Luke 2:51-52

And He went down with them to Nazareth and was subject unto them. He was obedient in all things.

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Luke 2". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/luke-2.html. 1913-1922.
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