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Luke 2:1-20 The Message (MSG)

The Birth of Jesus

1-5 About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.

6-7 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

An Event for Everyone

8-12 There were shepherds camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”

13-14 At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:

Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

15-18 As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the shepherds talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the shepherds were impressed.

19-20 Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The shepherds returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

Luke 2:1-20 The Passion Translation (TPT)

The Birth of Jesus

1–2 During those days, the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus,[a] ordered that the first census be taken throughout his empire. (Quirinius was the governor of Syria at that time.) Everyone had to travel to the hometown of their family to complete the mandatory census. 4–5 So Joseph and his wife, Mary, left Nazareth,[b] a village in Galilee, and journeyed to their hometown in Judea, to the village of Bethlehem,[c] King David’s ancient home. They were required to register there, since they were both direct descendants of David. Mary was pregnant and nearly ready to give birth.

6–7 When they arrived in Bethlehem,[d] Mary went into labor, and there she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped the newborn baby in strips of cloth, and Mary and Joseph laid him in a feeding trough since there was no available space in any upper room in the village.[e]

An Angelic Encounter

That night, in a field[f] near Bethlehem, shepherds were watching over their flocks. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared in radiant splendor before them, lighting up the field with the blazing glory of God, and the shepherds were terrified! 10 But the angel reassured them, saying, “Don’t be afraid, for I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! And it is for everyone everywhere! 11 For today in Bethlehem[g] a rescuer was born for you. He is the Lord Yahweh, the Messiah.[h] 12 You will recognize him by this miraculous sign: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in the feeding trough!”[i]

13 Then all at once in the night sky, a vast number of glorious angels appeared, the very armies of heaven! And they all praised God, singing:

14 “Glory to God in the highest realms of heaven!
    For there is peace[j] and a good hope[k] given to the sons of men.”

15 When the choir of angels disappeared and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go! Let’s hurry and find this Word[l] who is born in Bethlehem and see for ourselves what the Lord has revealed to us.” 16 So they hurried off and found their way to Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in a feeding trough.

17 Upon seeing this miraculous sign, the shepherds recounted what had just happened. 18 Everyone who heard the shepherds’ story was astonished by what they were told.

19 But Mary treasured all these things in her heart and often pondered what they meant.

20 The shepherds returned to their flock, ecstatic over what had happened. They praised God and glorified him for all they had heard and seen for themselves, just like the angel had said.

Footnotes:

  1. 2:1–2 It is ironic that the Roman emperors viewed themselves as “gods” while the little baby born in a feeding trough was the true God incarnate.
  2. 2:4–5 “Nazareth” is taken from a Hebrew word for “branch” (Isa. 11:1). God controls all events, proven by the fulfillment of the prophecy that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, even though his parents were living in Nazareth. See Mic. 5:2.
  3. 2:4–5 The distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem is about sixty-five miles (105 kilometers) and would have taken a number of days for them to arrive. Bethlehem, or Byt-lehem, means “house of bread,” the prophesied birthplace of Messiah. However, the Hebrew word lechem is a homonym for “fighter” or “warrior.” Jesus was born in “the house of fighters.” Bethlehem is the city of David, who was one of the greatest fighters in the entire Bible. Perhaps this is why the people of Jesus’ day expected him to fight the Romans and free their land from foreign occupation. Jesus fulfilled both aspects of the meaning of Bethlehem in Gethsemane and on the cross, where he fought the “Goliath” of our souls and won, becoming bread for the world.
  4. 2:6–7 Or “While they were in Bethlehem.”
  5. 2:6–7 This is the Greek word kataluma. This is not an “inn” but simply the upstairs level of a home where guests would stay. It means there was no guest room available in Bethlehem for Mary to give birth. Since all of Joseph’s and Mary’s family also made the journey because of the census, every home of a relative would have been full. In that day Bethlehem was far too small of a village to have an actual inn, all the katalumai there were occupied. It is likely that Joseph and Mary had to sleep downstairs in the main room of a relative’s house. The downstairs of a village home in that day was like an all-purpose room that served as a workshop during the day, and at night it was used to shelter frail animals, while the rest of the flock was left outdoors. The kataluma was not a full-fledged barn or stable, but it did contain a drinking trough or manger cut in the bedrock. This was the likely place where the baby Jesus was placed after his birth.
  6. 2:8 Many scholars believe that these could be the same fields where sacrificial flocks were kept for temple worship. How fitting that these shepherds would hear the announcement of the birth of the Lamb of God. Others believe these fields could have been near the field of Boaz, or the fields where David once watched over the flocks of his father, Jesse.
  7. 2:11 The Greek text says, “the city of David.”
  8. 2:11 Translated literally from the Aramaic text. This is one of the most amazing statements found in the Gospels declaring the deity of Jesus Christ.
  9. 2:12 A baby lying in a feeding trough where animals were kept nearby, wrapped in strips of cloths, became a sign of the Man-Savior’s life on earth. He entered the world as a lowly baby, and though he is the mighty God, he lived his life on earth in gentleness before all. The shepherds that night were possibly near Bethlehem at Migdal Eder, “the [watch] tower of the flock.” This would fulfill both the prophecies of Mic. 5:2 and Mic. 4:8, which say, “to you it [he] will come, your dominion [kingdom] from old will arrive.” It was at the lower floor of the watchtower (Migdal Eder) that the birthing of the Passover lambs would take place. Selected ewes that were about to give birth would be brought there. After the birth of the lambs, the priestly shepherds would wrap the lambs in cloth and lay them in a manger lined with soft hay to prevent them from hurting themselves, for Passover lambs must be unblemished with no bruise or broken bone. The miracle sign for these priestly shepherds would be a baby boy lying where the Passover lamb should be—in a manger, wrapped in strips of cloth. It was at the cradle of Jesus Christ that the kingdom from ancient times arrived on earth.
  10. 2:14 Luke’s Gospel is the Gospel of peace. The four prominent sacrifices of the Old Testament are emphasized in the four Gospels. In Matthew we see the death of Christ in the figure of the trespass offering, in Mark the sin offering, in Luke the peace offering, and in John the burnt offering. The peace God gives us is emphasized in Luke’s Gospel, which is why the angels announced peace and hope. On the day of his resurrection Jesus said, “Peace to you.”
  11. 2:14 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “good will among people” or “good will among people with whom he is pleased.”
  12. 2:15 The Greek is the word rhema.
The Passion Translation (TPT)

The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017, 2018, 2020 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc.
Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com

Luke 2:1-20 New International Version (NIV)

The Birth of Jesus

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[a] 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.

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. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 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.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Footnotes:

  1. Luke 2:2 Or This census took place before
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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