Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Luke 2:8-24

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Luke 2:8

shepherds. Often stayed in the fields at night to protect their sheep. They could have been at the traditional Shepherd's Field, which was about two miles from Bethlehem. Shepherds were especially appropriate to serve as witness to the birth of Jesus, since David was a shepherd as well (2 Sam. 5:2; 7:7; 1 Chron. 11:2; 17:6). He would also save his people as the Good Shepherd (John 10:11; see Gen. 48:15; 49:24; Ps. 23:1-4; Jer. 31:10). Yet, shepherds were not wealthy or powerful. The message given to them (vv. 10-12) was good news for the poor (Isa. 61:1; see 1:52; 4:18; 7:22).

Luke 2:9

angel of the Lord. See note on 1:11. glory of the Lord. The manifestation of God's presence among his people (see Exod. 16:10; 24:17; 40:34; Ps. 63:2). fear. A typical response to the appearance of angels (see 1:12, 30; 2:10; 8:50; Gen. 15:1; Judg. 6:23; Dan. 10:12, 19).

Luke 2:10

good news. The verb form of the word for the message of gospel (see 9:6; 20:1; Matt. 4:23; 9:35; Acts 8:25, 40; 14:7; Rom. 1:1, 16). joy. Fear (v. 9) should always give way to joy when people see and embrace the saving work of God (in salvation (1:14; 15:7, 10; 10:17; 24:41, 52).

Luke 2:11

Today. The good news of Jesus's birth did not simply point to the future. With this birth, the news of salvation had dawned. savior. The first of three titles that Luke used to summarize the person and work of Christ. As Savior, he provides deliverance from danger or enemies (see Judg. 3:9, 15; 2 Kgs. 13:5; Neh. 9:27). Jesus brings salvation from sins and its consequences (see 1:77; 19:10; Rom. 5:8-9; Eph. 2:8-10). Christ. A title which means Anointed (Ps. 2:2; Acts 5:42; 17:3); from the Hebrew word Messiah. Jesus came in fulfillment of God's promises to send a Davidic King to save and reign over his people (see 2 Sam. 7:11-16; Isa 23:5). Lord. Title used of God himself in the Old Testament. It speaks to his sovereign reign. Applied to Jesus, the title emphasizes that he is God as well as king (20:41-44; Acts 2:33-36). See HC 18.

Luke 2:12

sign. Something to confirm the truthfulness of God's message. manger. The sight provided an enigma: How could so glorious and powerful a person be found lying in such humble circumstances? The unusual circumstances of Jesus's birth made it easy for the shepherds to find him, and thus confirm the angel's message.

Luke 2:13

heavenly army. A multitude of angels, numbering in the thousands.

Luke 2:14

Praise is given to God because of the salvation he brings in Jesus, his Son. peace. Unlike the political peace given by mere men like Caesar, Jesus will give peace with God (Ps. 29:11; Isa. 26:3; Jer. 16:5; Rom. 5:1). people . . . pleased. The objects of God's grace. Namely, his elect who respond to his coming with faith (see 1:50-53).

Luke 2:18-19

Luke contrasted the public response of the shepherds and town against Mary's private response. Though many immediately were amazed, Mary continued to consider the full meaning of what happened.

Luke 2:21-24

Obedience to the Law of Moses is mentioned several times in these verses. This emphasizes the piety of Joseph and Mary. It also shows Jesus's obedience to and fulfillment of the Law (Matt. 3:15; 5:17-18). Though Jesus was sinless, he was willingly born under the Law (Gal. 4:4-5). This allowed him to experience the fullness of human life and be a perfect substitute for humanity before God (Rom. 8:3; Heb. 2:17).

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