Luke 2: Jesus’ Birth and Youth

What was the purpose of the census under Caesar Augustus? Who had to register? When and where?

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Luke 2:1–4 When Caesar Augustus ordered a census throughout the Roman Empire (this was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria), everyone went to his own town to register. Joseph went to Bethlehem in Judea, the home of his ancestors, because he was a descendant of King David.
King James
Luke 2:1–4 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 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:)

Why did Mary go with Joseph?

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Luke 2:5 He took Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant and near the time of delivery, and left their village, Nazareth in Galilee.
King James
Luke 2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

Why was no lodging available for Joseph and Mary?

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Luke 2:6–7 While they were in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to a son, wrapped him snugly, and placed him in a manger because no lodging was available.
King James
Luke 2:6–7 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 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.

What made a heavenly appearance so terrifying to the shepherds?

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Luke 2:8–9 That night, in a nearby field, shepherds watching their flocks were terrified when an angel of God appeared in brilliant light.
King James
Luke 2:8–9 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 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.

Why was the good news delivered to shepherds and not someone else?

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Luke 2:10–14 “Do not be afraid,” the angel said. “My good news will bring great joy to everyone. Today in the city of David, a savior has been born, the anointed Messiah. You will know who he is when you see a baby wrapped in cloth and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, a host of angels appeared, praising God and singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men.”
King James
Luke 2:10–14 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

After hearing the message, how soon did the shepherds go to Bethlehem? Why might they have delayed their departure?

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Luke 2:15–16 After the angels returned to Heaven, the shepherds said, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this miracle that God has revealed to us.”
They left their flocks, hurried to the city, and found Joseph, Mary, and the baby, who was lying in a manger.
King James
Luke 2:15–16 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. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

How much difficulty might the shepherds have had in finding the right stable?

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Luke 2:16 They left their flocks, hurried to the city, and found Joseph, Mary, and the baby, who was lying in a manger.
King James
Luke 2:16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

What was so amazing about the shepherds’ story?

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Luke 2:17–18 After seeing the baby, the shepherds told everyone what had happened. All who heard their story were amazed.
King James
Luke 2:17–18 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

After hearing the shepherds, what was Mary pondering?

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Luke 2:19 Mary treasured the experience and pondered what it all might mean.
King James
Luke 2:19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

How well was the shepherd’s story accepted by those who heard it firsthand? When it was repeated?

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Luke 2:20 As the shepherds returned to their fields, they praised and glorified God for all they had seen and heard, how everything had been exactly as the angel had said.
King James
Luke 2:20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Neighbors and family gathered for the celebration for John. Who was present for Jesus’ celebration?

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Luke 1:59 The baby was eight days old when they gathered for the circumcision ceremony. They called him Little Zechariah,
2:21 Eight days later, it was time for the circumcision ceremony and to name the baby Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived.
King James
Luke 1:59 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.
2:21 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.

For the consecration offering in the Temple, why couldn’t Joseph come up with enough money for a lamb?

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Luke 2:24 Unable to afford the cost of a lamb for the consecration offering, they brought the alternative sacrifice of two doves, one for the burnt offering, the other for the purification offering.
King James
Luke 2:24 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.

For how long had Simeon gone to the Temple with the hope of seeing the Messiah?

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Luke 2:25–26 At the same time, the Holy Spirit led a righteous man named Simeon to enter the Temple. Simeon had eagerly anticipated the arrival of the Messiah, who would restore Israel. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would not die until he had seen God’s anointed.
King James
Luke 2:25–26 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. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

How did Simeon introduce himself to Jesus’ parents?

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Luke 2:27–29 So he was there when the parents came to present their baby to God as the Law required. After taking the infant into his arms, he praised God, saying, “God, now that your promise is fulfilled, your servant can die in peace.”
King James
Luke 2:27–29 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, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:

Why did seeing the Messiah give Simeon peace?

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Luke 2:29–32 “God, now that your promise is fulfilled, your servant can die in peace. With my own eyes, I have seen your salvation prepared for all people, a guiding light to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.”
King James
Luke 2:29–32 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

After seeing Jesus, did he know more about the Messiah than before?

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Luke 2:30–35 “With my own eyes, I have seen your salvation prepared for all people, a guiding light to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.”
As Joseph and Mary marveled at his words, he turned to Mary. “This child will cause the rise and fall of many in Israel. He will be a sign from God that many people will oppose as he reveals the thoughts of many hearts and pierces your own soul like a sword.”
King James
Luke 2:30–35 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. 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; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

How did Luke learn the details about Anna?

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Luke 2:36–37 Anna, a prophet, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher, was also in the Temple. Her husband had died after seven years of marriage. From then until now, at the age of eighty-four, she had been a widow, who never left the Temple but stayed there from dawn to dusk, worshiping God in fasting and prayer.
King James
Luke 2:36–37 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; 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.

How did Anna confirm what Simeon had said?

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Luke 2:37–38 From then until now, at the age of eighty-four, she had been a widow, who never left the Temple but stayed there from dawn to dusk, worshiping God in fasting and prayer. While Simeon was still speaking, she came to them and likewise praised God, saying Jesus was the child for whom all were looking because he would redeem Jerusalem.
King James
Luke 2:37–38 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. 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.

Why doesn’t Luke mention the wise men and the flight to Egypt? What difficulties had to be overcome before they could return to Nazareth?

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Luke 2:39 After Joseph and Mary had done all that was required in the Law, they returned to Galilee, to their hometown of Nazareth.
King James
Luke 2:39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.

In what ways was Jesus different from other children? How might he have been seen as no different at all?

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Luke 2:40 The child grew and became strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s grace was upon him.
Luke 2:52 As the years passed, he grew physically and spiritually, enjoying the favor of God and the people.
King James
Luke 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Before Jesus reached age twelve, how often had he been to Passover in Jerusalem? Why?

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Luke 2:41–42 The family went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover festival, according to Jewish custom when Jesus was twelve.
King James
Luke 2:41–42 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.

If we do not blame Jesus or his parents for any misconduct, how could he be left behind?

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Luke 2:43–44 Afterward, when leaving for home, his parents did not realize that he had stayed behind. They traveled for a whole day, assuming he was elsewhere in the caravan. When he did not show up that evening, they looked for him among relatives and friends.
King James
Luke 2:43–44 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. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.

What were Joseph’s and Mary’s feelings as they looked for the lost Jesus? In what places did they look but not find him?

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Luke 2:44–45 They traveled for a whole day, assuming he was elsewhere in the caravan. When he did not show up that evening, they looked for him among relatives and friends. Unable to find him, they went back to Jerusalem and searched.
King James
Luke 2:44–45 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.

What was Jesus doing for the three days while his parents were looking for him? Where did he sleep? What did he eat?

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Luke 2:46 Finally, after three days, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening and asking questions.
King James
Luke 2:46 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.

After three days looking but not finding Jesus, what hope was left that his parents would ever find him?

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Luke 2:46 Finally, after three days, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening and asking questions.
King James
Luke 2:46 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.

Why was the Temple the last place that Jesus’ parents looked?

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Luke 2:46 Finally, after three days, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening and asking questions.
King James
Luke 2:46 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.

Why were the teachers in the Temple amazed at Jesus understanding and answers to questions?

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Luke 2:46–47 Finally, after three days, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening and asking questions. His understanding and his answers had amazed everyone.
King James
Luke 2:46–47 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. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

Why were Joseph and Mary shocked? Why hadn’t Jesus been roaming the city, looking for his parents?

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Luke 2:48–51 Joseph and Mary were shocked.
“Son,” Mary said, “why have you treated us this way? Your father and I have been frantically searching everywhere.”
“Why?” Jesus said. “Didn’t you know I would have to be here, doing the work of my Father?”
They did not understand what he meant, but Mary held this event dear to her heart.
Jesus returned to Nazareth with them, submitting to their authority.
King James
Luke 2:48–51 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. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. 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.

How was losing Jesus an event that Mary held “dear to her heart”? What were Joseph’s feelings?

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Luke 2:50–51 They did not understand what he meant, 51 but Mary held this event dear to her heart. Jesus returned to Nazareth with them, submitting to their authority.
King James
Luke 2:50–51 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. 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.