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Luke Chapter 2:25-52

Memory verses for this week:  Psa 118:29  O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 

Introduction: We continue our study of the book of Luke as we cover the last half of Chapter 2.  In last week’s lesson, we studied about the birth of Jesus Christ, and discussed how God used the king to bring Joseph and Mary to the town of Bethlehem so that Jesus would be born in the exact place that Micah had prophesied.   All things about Christ were according to the scriptures.   And all things were in perfect harmony with the prophecies, many written hundreds of years before the birth of Christ.


I.   The Adoration of Jesus Christ by Simeon 

Luke 2:25  And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

Luke 2:26  And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 

Simeon was a devoted man of God that was about the Lord’s work.  It says in the verses that he was from Jerusalem and was just and devout.  He was waiting for the comforting of Israel through the Messiah’s coming.  He was led by the Holy Ghost as all true Christians who are walking near to the Lord in His will.   The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die before he saw Christ.  Surely at this time there were many Jews who recognized the time was upon them for the prophecy of Daniel 9 to come to pass.  The promised Messiah, the King and Savior of Israel was soon to appear as was promised by the Word of God.   These waited on him.   And we who are alive today and look for Christ’s coming are awaiting his second return today. 

Paul told the Church in Thessalonica to wait on Jesus who will return from heaven to take us out in the rapture. 

1 Th 1:9  For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

1 Th 1:10  And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. 

We all need to be watching and looking for the soon return of Jesus Christ.   He promised to come back, and I know He will do what he promised. 

John 14:1  Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

John 14:2  In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

John 14:3  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.

John 14:4  And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

John 14:5  Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 

There was only a small remnant in Israel who were waiting for Jesus the first time he came.   Most likely there will not be a large number at his second coming, but oh how there should be. 

Luke 2:27  And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 

Simeon came by the leadership of the “Spirit” into the temple.   How each of us needs to seek the leadership of the Holy Spirit everyday of our lives.  While he was there, Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus in to be circumcised.  This was in accordance with the customs of the law, and they were obedient to the law. 

Lev 12:2  Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean.

Lev 12:3  And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 

Luke 2:28  Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

Luke 2:29  Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:

Luke 2:30  For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

Luke 2:31  Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;

Luke 2:32  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. 

After many years of faithful service to the Lord, the desire of Simeon’s heart comes to pass.  He picks up the child and makes a request to the Lord.  “Let thy servant depart in peace for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”  The salvation of a soul is totally dependent upon us coming to Jesus.   Simeon considered himself a servant of the Lord, and Jesus told the disciples before he died on the cross that those who wanted to be great should become the servant of all.   

Simeon gives a prophecy in verses 31 and 32 as he says “Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”  The church and the Gentiles being included was a mystery to those in the Old Testament.   God had brought all mankind together in sending Christ to earth to die for the sins of all man.  Christ would be a light not only to the Jews, but also to all the Gentiles.   Simeon points out how that the light was to come to the Gentiles and then to the nation of Israel.  This was truly due to the Jews rejection of Christ when he came.  Because they would not listen and accept Christ as Messiah, God has blinded their eyes and now turned to the Gentiles during this period of time. But the nation of Israel will come back together and accept Christ one day. 

Luke 2:33  And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.

Luke 2:34  And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;

Luke 2:35  (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

 There are some special words from Simeon to Mary.  He says that “this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel.”  How true this was.  He would be a sign which would be spoken against, and that a sword shall pierce through thy own soul.   Oh how it hurt Mary to see Jesus die there on Calvary, as it did all who truly knew Him as Lord and Savior. 

Verse 34 comes from Isaiah 8:14 

Isa 8:14  And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Isa 8:15  And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. 

Christ became a stumbling block to both houses of Israel (Judah and Israel of the Northern Kingdom), but praise God that many were saved by Christ. 

J. Vernon McGee made some good comments on these verses. 

Notice that Luke calls them “Joseph and his mother,” not His father and mother.

Mary paid a tremendous price to bring the Savior into the world. She paid an awful price to stand beneath the cross of the Lord Jesus and watch Him die.

The cross of Christ has moved many people—artists have painted the picture, songwriters have written music about it, and authors and preachers have sketched those moments with words. There is a danger of dwelling on His death in a sympathetic way. Christ did not die to elicit anyone’s sympathy. He does not want your sympathy, He wants your faith. Later in the Gospel of Luke, when the Lord is on the way to the cross, some women began to weep. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children” (Luke 23:28). If you have tears for Jesus, save them for yourself and your family. Do not weep for Him, because He does not want your sympathy. Jesus Christ wants your faith.

However, when Mary stood beneath that cross and watched Jesus die, it was with a broken heart. Of course her suffering had nothing to do with your salvation; her suffering had nothing to do with her salvation. Her suffering was due to a human relationship. She was His human mother. She had brought Him into the world and raised Him. He was her son. You see, when our Lord looked down from the cross and said, “… Woman, behold thy son!” (John 19:26), a human relationship was there that no one else had. She was suffering as His mother. And at that time the prophecy of Simeon was fulfilled—the sword pierced through her soul also.  [i]


II.  Anna Gives Thanks to the Lord 

Luke 2:36  And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;

Luke 2:37  And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

Luke 2:38  And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. 

Anna was a good women who served God with fastings and prayers night and day.   It says she was about 84 years old, and woman who departed not from the temple.  We need people like Anna who will faithfully serve the Lord.  If you want to accomplish something for God, you must be consistent in your service.  People who live mountain top experiences and then valleys won’t accomplish much in their lives for God.  But slow, steady, faithful service will be used of the Lord in a great way.    Anna had only lived seven years with her husband before he died.   She was a woman who gave thanks unto the Lord and told others about the Word and His redemption.


III.  The Return to Nazareth and the Silent Years 

Luke 2:39  And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.

Luke 2:40  And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. 

It was after they had performed all the things according to the law of the Lord that Joseph and Mary returned to their own city of Nazareth.   It is important in our service that we also do the ‘all’ things of service required of us.   It is promised that the Lord will abundantly bless the church when they teach the new disciples to observe ‘All’ things that He commanded. 

Mat 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Mat 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 

We see three important things about Jesus as He grew.

  1.  He waxed strong in spirit

  2.  He was filled with wisdom

  3.  The Grace of God was upon Him.


IV.  Jesus and His Parents at the Passover 

Luke 2:41  Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.

Luke 2:42  And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.


The parents of Jesus were faithful to the law and customs and went to Jerusalem each year to keep the Passover.   This was a command of the law from over in Exodus.


Exo 23:15  Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)


Exo 12:25  And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.

Exo 12:26  And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?

Exo 12:27  That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD'S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.

 There were rules about who could eat and who could not eat the Passover.  A stranger, a hired servant, or a foreigner could not eat of the Passover.   Similar rules are given concerning the Lord’s Supper, but many ignore those and let anyone who enters the congregation partake of it today.   This is not pleasing to the Lord. 

Exo 12:43  And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:

Exo 12:44  But every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.

Exo 12:45  A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof.

Exo 12:46  In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.

Exo 12:47  All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.

Exo 12:48  And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.

Exo 12:49  One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.

Exo 12:50  Thus did all the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. 

When Jesus (verse 42) was 12 we have record that he made the trip to observe the Passover feast.  This doesn’t mean he had not attended before, it was just a record of this particular journey.   Verse 21 shows that he had been brought to the temple when he was 8 days old, and we know His parents went to the Passover each year in Jerusalem.   We just don’t have a record that he went before this time. 

Luke 2:43  And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.

Luke 2:44  But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.

Luke 2:45  And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.

Luke 2:46  And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.

Luke 2:47  And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 

There are several things we can learn from these verses here in 43-47 about Jesus Christ.  The first was that the parents attended the feast and then left without Jesus.  They thought he was with some of the other family members or acquaintances.  The took it for granted he was in their presence.    We need to not assume Jesus is with us, but we must be sure.   If you can’t go back to a time in your life when you turned your life over to Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, He is not in your life.  You can attend church and have all the saved relatives you can count, but it is a one on one decision that you must make.  Mommy and Daddy can not do anything to save you.   You must come to Christ on your own.  Joseph and Mary did not go to the trouble to be sure Jesus was with them, and went a whole day’s journey before finding He was not in their group.  They sought him among their kinfolks and friends but could not find him.   In our lives, is Jesus among our kinfolks and friends?   If not, we should be witnessing and letting them know about the Savior who can save them from their sins.  They went back to Jerusalem to seek him and after 3 days they found him.  They found him in the temple studying with those who knew about the Word of God.  It astonished these ‘doctors’ of the law of what all he knew and his questions that he asked.  When he was asked a question, they were amazed at his grasp and understanding of God’s Word.  This was no normal 12 year old.    This was the only begotten Son of God. 

Luke 2:48  And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

Luke 2:49  And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?

Luke 2:50  And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. 

Mary was probably right in being upset with Christ.   Perhaps they had been slack in being sure he was with the group before they departed, but I’m sure they expected him to follow along.   She questions Jesus and says “Why hast thou thus dealt with us?  Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.”   They were being good parents and were concerned about their son’s welfare.  What they failed to understand was that Jesus was more concerned about doing the very Will of the Heavenly Father, His true Father.   In verse 49, he says “How is it ye sought me?  Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”   They heard the words, but did not comprehend what he was truly saying. 

Luke 2:51  And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

Luke 2:52  And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. 

We have record here that all children should note.  He went back with Joseph and Mary and was subject unto them.   He obeyed his Father and Mother as the law commanded.     And as the days went by, Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.   Our days should be like this.  We should be growing in God’s Word each day, and growing more like Jesus.  When we do that, we will surely increase in favor with God.

 Matthew Henry said this about verse 52. 

That he improved, and came on, to admiration (v. 52): He increased in wisdom and stature. In the perfections of his divine nature there could be no increase; but this is meant of his human nature, his body increased in stature and bulk, he grew in the growing age; and his soul increased in wisdom, and in all the endowments of a human soul. Though the Eternal Word was united to the human soul from his conception, yet the divinity that dwelt in him manifested itself to his humanity by degrees, ad modum recipientis—in proportion to his capacity; as the faculties of his human soul grew more and more capable, the gifts it received from the divine nature were more and more communicated. And he increased in favour with God and man, that is, in all those graces that rendered him acceptable to God and man. Herein Christ accommodated himself to his estate of humiliation, that, as he condescended to be an infant, a child, a youth, so the image of God shone brighter in him, when he grew up to be a youth, than it did, or could, while he was an infant and a child. Note, Young people, as they grow in stature, should grow in wisdom, and then, as they grow in wisdom, they will grow in favour with God and man.  [ii] 


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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[i]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[ii]Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.