Read Luke 2 here or click on the speaker icon below to listen.
Mary, very pregnant with her son, is forced to travel a great distance to Bethlehem with her husband, Joseph. A census was called by Caesar Augustus requiring everyone to report in at their hometown. It was bustling with all of the people coming to town to do the same. There was no place to stay and Mary finds herself ready to give birth. A manger was the only available lodging, and here Jesus is born. A humble beginning.
Nearby, an angel appears to shepherds. Hard-working, often shunned and forgotten people in the fields. The angel tells of a baby born in the city of David. A Savior, who is Christ the Lord. A multitude of heavenly hosts suddently join the angel in worshiping the newborn king. The shepherds go finding everything as the angel told them and share with Mary the news they received. We are told Mary treasured these things, pondering them in her heart. What must be swarming through her heart and mind at all that is taking place!
As follows Jewish custom, Jesus is circumcised at eight days old and then presented in Jerusalem at around 40 days old. There in Jerusalem was Simeon who the Holy Spirit revealed would not see death until he had seen Christ the Lord…the promised and long-awaited One. As Jesus enters the temple with His parents, Simeon recognizes Him immediately and prays a blessing over the child. Mary and Joseph marvel at what they are hearing as Simeon says, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” It is incredible news…but it must be so hard to hear at the same time.
Also present is a prophetess, Anna, who upon seeing the child Jesus also recognized who He was and began giving thanks. As parents, Mary and Joseph must be unable to process all they are seeing and hearing related to this tiny child they have been chosen to raise.
Jesus goes from forty days old to twelve years old in this chapter, with us only learning, ”the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.”
At age twelve, the family again returns to Jerusalem. A likely annual trek, as all devout Jewish families would take. Traveling home in a large group of family and friends, Mary and Joseph don’t initially notice Jesus isn’t with them. In a panic, they head back to Jerusalem and find Him in the temple three days later. Jesus is sitting under Jewish teachers…listening, asking questions, and amazing even the most knowledgeable among them with His wisdom and understanding at such a young age. When Mary and Joseph finally locate Him, He simply replies, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?” Heading back home, Mary doesn’t understand all that she is hearing and seeing but she treasures these things up in her heart.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
Think about all the messages Mary and Joseph witnessed about their young son, from angels to prophets. What do you think they were thinking about all these things?
Why do you think the angel appeared to shepherds to share the good news?
In these inspired and preserved words of God to us, why do you think we aren’t given more information about Jesus as a child? What do you think He was like?