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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#829. The birth of Jesus - Luke 2:1-21 (5/6/23)

Today, as we continue in our series in Luke, we are briefly looking at Luke 2:1-21.

Summary: Understanding and reflection upon Jesus’ birth leads to peace and praise

To watch this devotional, please go to:

Jesus is born in Bethlehem

‘In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.’ (Luke 2:1-7)

There are many questions and speculations around the circumstances of Jesus’ birth, but Luke does want us to understand the poor and humble nature of His birth. The King of Kings was born in a poor dwelling and is placed in a feeding trough! Luke’s and God’s heart for the poor is seen in this narrative. All of us should throw off all pride and shame regarding our background and also allow God to give us His heart for people from all backgrounds.

Through these events, the prophesied plan of God through Micah (5:3) is fulfilled. This is how Matthew puts it:

‘After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ (Matthew 2:1-6)

God works through this human decree; even through people and governments that are outside of His Kingdom, He fulfils His promise.

The shepherds (our reading continues)

‘And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.’ (Luke 2:8-20)

God declares the birth of Christ to these shepherds. God reveals His plan of salvation to them. They are not seeking Him, but He reveals Himself to them. Shepherds were despised and considered to be unclean by many. God comes to those we would not expect to be first in line. The gospel comes to the unexpected. God reveals Himself to sinners. He reveals His great plan of salvation to the unworthy.

Luke, as with the circumstances of Jesus’ birth, wants us to see God’s heart for the poor and outcasts. shepherds were often despised and their honoured inclusion reveals God’s heart for all people.

They are told that Jesus’ birth is ‘good news…that will cause great joy for all the people.’ This joy, they are told, comes because ‘a Saviour has been born to you’. His ministry is summarised as bringing ‘peace on earth to those on whom his favour rests. Like these poor and despised shepherds, God wants us to know the joy of Knowing Jesus' salvation and peace.


Understanding and reflection upon Jesus’ birth leads to peace and praise. If we are to become like these ‘heavenly hosts’, and shepherds who ’returned, glorifying and praising God’, we need to be like Mary, of whom it is said; ‘Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.’ What do you think this means for you?




It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Very important - this is the last week to book in for our weekend away!


What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?


Please read Luke 2:1-52

This section on the birth of Christ has three sections:

1. Jesus’ birth (vv. 1–20)

2. His presentation in the temple (vv. 21–40)

3. His presence as a boy in the temple (vv. 41–52)

Let's discuss together:

  • What particularly struck you from Sunday's message?

  • What would you say was the common theme and aim in Luke telling these three accounts?

  • What are the various applications that one could make to this passage?

  • Jesus, in vv. 41-52, reveals His desire to be in His Father's house in order to learn and pray. How do you or could imitate Jesus in this?

  • SIV - What do the Shepherds do in vv. 16-20 and what does this teach us about evangelism?

  • SIV - How could you serve, invest and invite this week and let’s pray about this.

  • Prayer - How would you like prayer as a result of today’s study?

48 views2 comments


Jun 05, 2023

Missing end of video!

Matt Beaney
Matt Beaney
Jun 05, 2023
Replying to

Thanks. All fixed now.

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