Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed
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:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child
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.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
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 shall be 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 manger.
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.
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 child.
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.
21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

MEMORY VERSE:  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  Luke 2:10, 11

CENTRAL THOUGHT:  While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem to be taxed, staying in the stable of the inn, Jesus Christ the Saviour was born and was wrapped in strips of cloth and laid in a manger.  And out on the fields in the same country the angel of the Lord appeared to some shepherds and told them about His birth, and they came to Bethlehem and found Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus.


Luke 2:1,  “taxed”:  Registered or enrolled.
Verse 3,  “his own city”:  The city where one was born.
Verse 7,  “swaddling clothes”:  Strips of cloth to wrap a baby in.  “manger”:  A feeding crib for cattle.  “inn”:  A hotel or lodging place.
Verse 9,  “sore afraid”: Feared with great fear.
Verse 14,  “good will”:  Delight and kindness to humanity.
Verse 19,  “pondered”:  Meditated and thought much about.
Verse  22,  “days of her purification”: Adam Clarke explains that this was 33 days after what was termed the 7 days of her uncleanness—40 days in all: after the birth of a male child.  Leviticus 12:2, 3


The wonderful account of the birth of Jesus Christ is and for many generations has been a joyous and inspiring story that has blessed humanity.  Along with the events that happened before and led up to this precious story, it is all a cherished treasure in our hearts.  We have in our lesson Luke’s account of Christ’s birth and why Jesus was born in Bethlehem instead of up north at Nazareth.  For some reason Caesar Augustus, the emperor at Rome, decided that all the world should be registered and taxed, and everyone had to go to the city where he was from to have this accomplished.  This, no doubt, was a great difficulty, because Mary was “great with child,” which meant that the time of her giving birth to Jesus was very near.  And so it was that while they were in Bethlehem the time came for her to bring forth her precious little baby.  This was all very difficult. And the fact that they could not find a convenient place to stay, the inn being crowded, and their to stay in the stable where animals were probably present, made it even more adverse.  But God was with them, and she was able to bring forth her precious little baby and made a bed for him in the manger.

God made a wonderful move that brightened the whole scene for Joseph and Mary.  Out in the country near by were some shepherds with their flock of sheep.  They had a visitation from heaven and a lovely angel accompanied by the bright glory of God that informed them of the birth of our Saviour and told them what to look for.  They saw and heard the bright throng of angels singing praises to God.  It is no wonder that the shepherds were desirous to go unto Bethlehem to see what the Lord had made known to them.  Perhaps it took a little time for them to search and inquire, but they hurried and were able to locate it all.  I am sure that those shepherds cherished the memory of that precious incident in their hearts always!

We have the scene of Joseph and Mary having to go to Jerusalem to present their precious baby to the Lord as the law of the Lord required.  We will see the precious experience they had there in our next lesson.                     —Bro. Leslie Busbee


  1. What made Joseph and Mary’s trip to Bethlehem difficult?
  2. What took place while they were there?
  3. What did the shepherds out in the fields see and hear?
  4. What did the shepherds make known abroad?
  5. What effect did all of this have upon Mary’s heart?


We ponder in our hearts as Mary did in her heart all the wonderful things that took place as revealed in our lesson today!  On one hand, we think of the difficulties and hardships that she and Joseph endured.  With her “great with child,” the long trip from Nazareth down to Bethlehem was no doubt a difficult and treacherous undertaking.  They did not have a nice car in which to travel nor paved roads.  But they probably had a donkey for Mary to ride on, and Joseph had to walk and lead the way.  So it is with times for all of us in this mortal life.  Adversity, hardship, suffering, and difficult scenes come to all of us along life’s way.  But we must, as Mary and Joseph did, endure it all and press along the way we have to go.

Think of their time in Bethlehem, finding no place in the inn and having to take up a place in the stable to try to find shelter and comfort!   On top of it all, the time came for Mary’s little baby to come forth.  Think how she had to wrap Him up in strips of cloth and lay him on some hay in the manger!  It surely takes courage and patience to endure the adversities of this mortal life!  Think of their wonder and thrill to receive the visit of the shepherds and hear their report of the visit of the angel of the Lord and the glorious concert of angels singing praises to God!  No wonder Mary had so many things to keep and ponder in her heart!  Oh, this whole story from start to finish is an inspiration to our hearts!  We will look forward to a continuation of the blessed account of our Saviour’s growth from babyhood to adulthood and the great things He accomplished for us poor and needy people!       —Bro. Leslie Busbee


In Acts 26:26 Paul said, “ . . . this thing was not done in a corner” concerning Jesus Christ, his birth, life, and death.  This was not a secret, hidden, nor-partially true event.  This was prophesied through many different prophets hundreds of years before it came to pass.  We will look at the book of Matthew 1:1-16.

Matthew begins with Abraham and traces Jesus’ lineage through to Joseph (his legal father).  Whereas in Luke’s gospel 3:23-38 the writer traces Mary’s lineage going backwards from Heli (her father) to Adam, who was called the son of God.  We have a maternal genealogy in Luke and a paternal, in Matthew’s gospel.  Both lines are running parallel back to David’s two sons through Joseph to King Solomon and through Mary’s bloodline to Nathan. Most of us do not see the importance of this fact; but the reason it is important is because it proves  he is the true Messiah.

Notice in Joseph’s genealogy a man named Jechonias (heir to the throne of David) in Matthew 1:11.  His name is also called Jehoiakim in Jeremiah 22:24-30. Verse 30 says, “Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.”  This curse was placed on this king and his seven sons and their descendants which were mentioned in I Chronicles 3:17-18.  If Jesus had been Joseph’s biological son he would have been one of the accursed and never could have been the true Messiah.

When Joseph took Mary and the unborn child, he gave him legally the royal title given to him through King Solomon.  Therefore, Jesus, the son of David, was the legal Messiah, the royal Messiah, the uncursed Messiah, the true Messiah, the only possible Messiah, and that royal line ended with the first born, Jesus Christ.  Mary’s line, although not royal, had no curse upon it and produced her son Jesus Christ. The line, with the curse on it because of  Jechonias’ sins was King Solomon’s royal line producing Joseph’s lineage.

It is thrilling to me to see how God had all this planned too, that His son would be born of a pure blood line.  The gift of God to mankind came in the form of a little baby boy named Jesus to be the savior of the world.  What a wonderful blessing he has been to all the world who believe on him as the son of the most high God; and to those who don’t,  he remains Lord over all.  “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner.”  I Peter 2:7.

Documented in: The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell.              —Bro. James Bell