Contemporary English Version
The Birth of Jesus
3 Everyone had to go to their own hometown to be listed. 4 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.
5 Mary was engaged to Joseph and traveled with him to Bethlehem. She was soon going to have a baby, 6 and while they were there, 7 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.
8 That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. 9 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.
The Preaching of John the Baptist
3 For fifteen years[k] Emperor Tiberius had ruled that part of the world. Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod[l] was the ruler of Galilee. Herod’s brother, Philip, was the ruler in the countries of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was the ruler of Abilene. 2 Annas and Caiaphas were the Jewish high priests.[m]
At that time God spoke to Zechariah’s son John, who was living in the desert. 3 So John went along the Jordan Valley, telling the people, “Turn back to God and be baptized! Then your sins will be forgiven.” 4 Isaiah the prophet wrote about John when he said,
“In the desert
someone is shouting,
‘Get the road ready
for the Lord!
Make a straight path
5 Fill up every valley
and level every mountain
Straighten the crooked paths
and smooth out
the rough roads.
6 Then everyone will see
the saving power of God.’”
7 Crowds of people came out to be baptized, but John said to them, “You bunch of snakes! Who warned you to run from the coming judgment? 8 Do something to show that you really have given up your sins. Don’t start saying that you belong to Abraham’s family. God can turn these stones into children for Abraham.[n] 9 An ax is ready to cut the trees down at their roots. Any tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into a fire.”
10 The crowds asked John, “What should we do?”
11 John told them, “If you have two coats, give one to someone who doesn’t have any. If you have food, share it with someone else.”
12 When tax collectors[o] came to be baptized, they asked John, “Teacher, what should we do?”
13 John told them, “Don’t make people pay more than they owe.”
14 Some soldiers asked him, “And what about us? What do we have to do?”
John told them, “Don’t force people to pay money to make you leave them alone. Be satisfied with your pay.”
15 Everyone became excited and wondered, “Could John be the Messiah?”
16 John said, “I am just baptizing with water. But someone more powerful is going to come, and I am not good enough even to untie his sandals.[p] He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 His threshing fork[q] is in his hand, and he is ready to separate the wheat from the husks. He will store the wheat in his barn and burn the husks with a fire that never goes out.”
18 In many different ways John preached the good news to the people. 19 But to Herod the ruler, he said, “It was wrong for you to take Herodias, your brother’s wife.” John also said that Herod had done many other bad things. 20 Finally, Herod put John in jail, and this was the worst thing he had done.
The Baptism of Jesus
21 While everyone else was being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. Then as he prayed, the sky opened up, 22 and the Holy Spirit came down upon him in the form of a dove. A voice from heaven said, “You are my own dear Son, and I am pleased with you.”
The Ancestors of Jesus
23 When Jesus began to preach, he was about thirty years old. Everyone thought he was the son of Joseph. But his family went back through Heli, 24 Matthat, Levi, Melchi, Jannai, Joseph, 25 Mattathias, Amos, Nahum, Esli, Naggai, 26 Maath, Mattathias, Semein, Josech, Joda;
27 Joanan, Rhesa, Zerubbabel, Shealtiel, Neri, 28 Melchi, Addi, Cosam, Elmadam, Er, 29 Joshua, Eliezer, Jorim, Matthat, Levi;
30 Simeon, Judah, Joseph, Jonam, Eliakim, 31 Melea, Menna, Mattatha, Nathan, David, 32 Jesse, Obed, Boaz, Salmon, Nahshon;
33 Amminadab, Admin, Arni, Hezron, Perez, Judah, 34 Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, Terah, Nahor, 35 Serug, Reu, Peleg, Eber, Shelah;
36 Cainan, Arphaxad, Shem, Noah, Lamech, 37 Methuselah, Enoch, Jared, Mahalaleel, Kenan, 38 Enosh, and Seth.
The family of Jesus went all the way back to Adam and then to God.
- 2.1 names. . . listed in record books: This was done so that everyone could be made to pay taxes to the Emperor.
- 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.
- 2.7 first-born: The Jewish people said that the first-born son in each of their families belonged to the Lord.
- 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.
- 2.21 what the Law of Moses commands: See the note at 1.59.
- 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.
- 2.23 first-born: See the note at 2.7.
- 2.37 And now she was eighty-four years old: Or “And now she had been a widow for eighty-four years.”
- 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.
- 2.49 in my Father’s house: Or “doing my Father’s work.”
- 3.1 For fifteen years: This was either A.D. 28 or 29, and Jesus was about thirty years old (see 3.23).
- 3.1 Herod: Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great.
- 3.2 Annas and Caiaphas. . . high priests: Annas was high priest from A.D. 6 until 15. His son-in-law Caiaphas was high priest from A.D. 18 until 37.
- 3.8 children for Abraham: The Jewish people thought they were God’s chosen people because of God’s promises to their ancestor Abraham.
- 3.12 tax collectors: These were usually Jewish people who paid the Romans for the right to collect taxes. They were hated by other Jews who thought of them as traitors to their country and to their religion.
- 3.16 untie his sandals: This was the duty of a slave.
- 3.17 threshing fork: After Jewish farmers had trampled out the grain, they used a large fork to pitch the grain and the husks into the air. Wind would blow away the light husks, and the grain would fall back to the ground, where it could be gathered up.