The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus(A) issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.(B) (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.)(C) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem(D) the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him(E) and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 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.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel(F) 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.(G) I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior(H) has been born to you; he is the Messiah,(I) the Lord.(J) 12 This will be a sign(K) 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(L) 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.(M) 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.(N) 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God(O) 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,(P) he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.(Q)

Jesus Presented in the Temple

22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses,(R) 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”[b]),(S) 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.”[c](T)

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout.(U) He was waiting for the consolation of Israel,(V) 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,(W) 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,(X)
    you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.(Y)
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,(Z)
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.”(AA)

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:(AB) “This child is destined to cause the falling(AC) 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,(AD) 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.[e](AE) She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.(AF) 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.(AG)

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.(AH) 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.(AI)

The Boy Jesus at the Temple

41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.(AJ) 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(AK) at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother(AL) said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father(AM) 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?”[f](AN) 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.(AO)

51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them(AP) and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.(AQ) 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.(AR)

Footnotes

  1. Luke 2:2 Or This census took place before
  2. Luke 2:23 Exodus 13:2,12
  3. Luke 2:24 Lev. 12:8
  4. Luke 2:29 Or promised, / now dismiss
  5. Luke 2:37 Or then had been a widow for eighty-four years.
  6. Luke 2:49 Or be about my Father’s business

The Birth of Jesus

About that time Emperor Augustus gave orders for the names of all the people to be listed in record books.[a] These first records were made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.[b]

Everyone had to go to their own hometown to be listed. So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. Long ago Bethlehem had been King David’s hometown, and Joseph went there because he was from David’s family.

Mary was engaged to Joseph and traveled with him to Bethlehem. She was soon going to have a baby, and while they were there, she gave birth to her first-born[c] son. She dressed him in baby clothes[d] and laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds

That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. All 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. 10 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. 11 This very day in King David’s hometown a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. 12 You will know who he is, because you will find him dressed in baby clothes and lying on a bed of hay.”

13 Suddenly 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.”

15 After 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.” 16 They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay.

17 When the shepherds saw Jesus, they told his parents what the angel had said about him. 18 Everyone listened and was surprised. 19 But Mary kept thinking about all this and wondering what it meant.

20 As 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 Eight days later Jesus' parents did for him what the Law of Moses commands.[e] 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 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.[f]

They took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem and presented him to the Lord, 23 just as the Law of the Lord says, “Each first-born[g] baby boy belongs to the Lord.” 24 The 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.

25 At 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 26 and told him that he would not die until he had seen Christ the Lord.

27 When 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. 28 Simeon 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.
30 With my own eyes I have seen
what you have done
    to save your people,
31 and foreign nations
    will also see this.
32 Your mighty power is a light
    for all nations,
and it will bring honor
    to your people Israel.”

33 Jesus' parents were surprised at what Simeon had said. 34 Then 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, 35 and 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

36 The 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 died. 37 And now she was eighty-four years old.[h] Night and day she served God in the temple by praying and often going without eating.[i]

38 At 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 After Joseph and Mary had done everything that the Law of the Lord commands, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 40 The child Jesus grew. He became strong and wise, and God blessed him.

The Boy Jesus in the Temple

41 Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for Passover. 42 And when Jesus was twelve years old, they all went there as usual for the celebration. 43 After Passover his parents left, but they did not know that Jesus had stayed on in the city. 44 They thought he was traveling with some other people, and they went a whole day before they started looking for him. 45 When they could not find him with their relatives and friends, they went back to Jerusalem and started looking for him there.

46 Three days later they found Jesus sitting in the temple, listening to the teachers and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was surprised at how much he knew and at the answers he gave.

48 When 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!”

49 Jesus answered, “Why did you have to look for me? Didn’t you know that I would be in my Father’s house?”[j] 50 But they did not understand what he meant.

51 Jesus went back to Nazareth with his parents and obeyed them. His mother kept on thinking about all that had happened.

52 Jesus became wise, and he grew strong. God was pleased with him and so were the people.

Footnotes

  1. 2.1 names. . . listed in record books: This was done so that everyone could be made to pay taxes to the Emperor.
  2. 2.2 Quirinius was governor of Syria: It is known that Quirinius made a record of the people in A.D. 6 or 7. But the exact date of the record taking that Luke mentions is not known.
  3. 2.7 first-born: The Jewish people said that the first-born son in each of their families belonged to the Lord.
  4. 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.
  5. 2.21 what the Law of Moses commands: See the note at 1.59.
  6. 2.22 after her baby is born: After a Jewish mother gave birth to a son, she was considered “unclean” and had to stay home until he was circumcised (see the note at 1.59). Then she had to stay home for another 33 days, before offering a sacrifice to the Lord.
  7. 2.23 first-born: See the note at 2.7.
  8. 2.37 And now she was eighty-four years old: Or “And now she had been a widow for eighty-four years.”
  9. 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.
  10. 2.49 in my Father’s house: Or “doing my Father’s work.”