A CLOSER LOOK AT LUKE 2:1-19
I want to share with you insights into the first nineteen verses of Luke chapter two.
Luke 2:1-2 (KJV)
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all
the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
The world is not all of the world, but, the empire under Caesar’s rule. It is obvious that you can’t require
something from people you do not control or rule.
The “taxing” is not a taxing, but a census. At this time in history Caesar Augustus was having his Silver
Jubilee (25th anniversary) of him becoming ruler of the Roman Empire. As such, the census of the people
was taken as an oath of allegiance to Caesar from all of his subjects. This Silver Jubilee, also coincided
with the 750th year of the founding of Rome and Caesar’s 60th birthday. Because it was a special census
Cyrenius (Quirinius) was put in charge. It is important to note that many scholars consider Luke
inaccurate because there is very little about Cyrenius and a census until the census of 6/7 AD. They do
not understand the importance of this census being done accurately and on time for Caesar Augustus
being declared Pater Patriae (father of the country.) Therefore, Cyrenuis had a special assignment to
oversee the census.
Luke 2:3-4 (KJV)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 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:)
When we have a census in the United States the government sends us a census questionnaire to our
residence. Not so back then. Lineage was very important, so, to keep the record straight and to be
counted, a person had to go back to the town of his lineage.
Luke 2:5 (KJV)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
In Bible times a man and a woman would have a ten day wedding ceremony then they would live six
months with his family and then six months with her family. At the end of a year they would have a big
celebration. All of the family and friends along with the dignitaries of the town would be invited. When
everyone was there the husband would say:
John 14:1-3 (KJV)
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions (apartments, the sons and their wives would live with
their father): if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that
where I am, there ye may be also.This is a direct quote from the wedding ceremony by Jesus Christ.
The whole first year of marriage was considered the espousal period. It climaxed at the year end
celebration. So, Joseph and Mary were married and they traveled to Bethlehem during their first year,
the espousal year.
Luke 2:6-7 (KJV)
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 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.
When someone talks about their firstborn child it stands to reason that that person has other sons after
the first born. Mary had at least four other sons and at least three daughters. Jesus Christ was God’s
only begotten son, but, he was Mary’s first born.
In the culture of that time, when a king was born they would do two things to the baby. First, they
would put a little bit of salt in the water that they used to clean him with. Salt represented truth and
honesty. There is a covenant that they carryout to this day called the salt covenant. When two people
take the salt covenant then they are bound to protect each other with their lives, never steal from each
other or harm the other in any fashion.
The other thing they did to the babe was to wrap him in swaddling clothes. These were strips of fine
fabric that were wrapped around the babe from head to toe. It represented that he would be honest
and forthright in his dealings with others. In Ezekiel there is an insult to all of Jerusalem regarding their
Ezekiel 16:4 (KJV)
4 thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all.
Luke 2:8 (KJV)
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their
flock by night.
Contrary to popular belief, Jesus Christ was not Born on December 25th. He was born in
September. The reason I bring this up here is that in the dead of winter the shepherds would not
be in the fields at night. It was too cold. They would lead the sheep out to graze during the day
and then bring them back and put them in pens.
The idea that Jesus was born on December 25th Started with the Roman Catholic Church. you
see, December 25th was first day after the winter solstice that the pagans could tell that the Sun’s
path was starting to rise. So, they would have a celebration to the Sun God on that day. To get
converts the Roman Catholics changed the celebration to a celebration of the Son of God.
Luke 2:9-14 (KJV)
9 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.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shallbe to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Have you ever wondered why the angel came to the shepherds? Don’t you think that he should
have gone to the heads of Judaism or perhaps the mayor of Bethlehem, but, why the shepherds?
The shepherds were simple people who must have loved God. They sat together many times and
discussed the coming of the Christ along with other prophesies yet to be fulfilled. It comes down
to this – they were believers. They believed in God. They believed His Word and they believed
in the Christ to come.
Believing is action and when the angel told them to go see the Christ child they didn’t waste any
time. They ran to see the babe! I know this because the babe is only wrapped in swaddling
clothes for a few minutes their timing was impeccable.
About the angel and the heavenly host of angels. Angels don’t have wings and they don’t sing.
We humans have the privilege of singing which doesn’t have be that good. All it has to be is a
joyful noise unto the Lord.
Luke 2:15-20 (KJV)
15 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.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
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.