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  • JOHN WESLEY'S BIBLE COMMENTARY
    NOTES - LUKE 2

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    Verse 1. That all the world should be enrolled - That all the inhabitants, male and female, of every town in the Roman empire, with their families and estates, should be registered.

    Verse 2. When Cyrenius was governor of Syria - When Publius Sulpicius Quirinus governed the province of Syria, in which Judea was then included.

    Verse 6. And while they were there, the days were fulfilled that she should be delivered - Mary seems not to have known that the child must have been born in Bethlehem, agreeably to the prophecy. But the providence of God took care for it.

    Verse 7. She laid him in the manger - Perhaps it might rather be translated in the stall. They were lodged in the ox stall, fitted up on occasion of the great concourse, for poor guests. There was no room for them in the inn - Now also, there is seldom room for Christ in an inn. Matt. i, 25

    Verse 11. To you - Shepherds; Israel; mankind.

    Verse 14. Glory be to God in the highest; on earth peace; good will toward men - The shouts of the multitude are generally broken into short sentences. This rejoicing acclamation strongly represents the piety and benevolence of these heavenly spirits: as if they had said, Glory be to God in the highest heavens: let all the angelic legions resound his praises. For with the Redeemer's birth, peace, and all kind of happiness, come down to dwell on earth: yea, the overflowings of Divine good will and favour are now exercised toward men.

    Verse 20. For all the things that they had heard - From Mary; as it was told them - By the angels.

    Verse 21. To circumcise the child - That he might visibly be made under the law by a sacred rite, which obliged him to keep the whole law; as also that he might be owned to be the seed of Abraham, and might put an honour on the solemn dedication of children to God.

    Verse 22. The days - The forty days prescribed, Lev. xii, 2, 4.

    Verse 23. Exod. xiii, 2.

    24. A pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons - This offering sufficed for the poor. Lev. xii, 8.

    Verse 25. The consolation of Israel - A common phrase for the Messiah, who was to be the everlasting consolation of the Israel of God. The Holy Ghost was upon him - That is, he was a prophet.

    Verse 27. By the Spirit - By a particular Revelation or impulse from him.

    Verse 30. Thy salvation - Thy Christ, thy saviour.

    Verse 32. And the glory of thy people Israel - For after the Gentiles are enlightened, all Israel shall be saved.

    Verse 33. Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken - For they did not thoroughly understand them.

    Verse 34. Simeon blessed them - Joseph and Mary. This child is set for the fall and rising again of many - That is, he will be a savour of death to some, to unbelievers: a savour of life to others, to believers: and for a sign which shall be spoken against - A sign from God, yet rejected of men: but the time for declaring this at large was not yet come: that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed - The event will be, that by means of that contradiction, the inmost thoughts of many, whether good or bad, will be made manifest.

    Verse 35. A sword shall pierce through thy own soul - So it did, when he suffered: particularly at his crucifixion.

    Verse 37. Fourscore and four years - These were the years of her life, not her widowhood only. Who departed not from the temple - Who attended there at all the stated hours of prayer. But served God with fastings and prayers - Even at that age. Night and day - That is, spending therein a considerable part of the night, as well as of the day.

    Verse 38. To all that were waiting for redemption - The scepter now appeared to be departing from Judah, though it was not actually gone: Daniel's weeks were plainly near their period. And the revival of the spirit of prophecy, together with the memorable occurrences relating to the birth of John the Baptist, and of Jesus, could not but encourage and quicken the expectation of pious persons at this time. Let the example of these aged saints animate those, whose hoary heads, like theirs, are a crown of glory, being found in the way of righteousness. Let those venerable lips, so soon to be silent in the grave, be now employed in the praises of their Redeemer. Let them labour to leave those behind, to whom Christ will be as precious as he has been to them; and who will be waiting for God's salvation, when they are gone to enjoy it.

    Verse 40. And the child grew - In bodily strength and stature; and waxed strong in spirit - The powers of his human mind daily improved; filled with wisdom - By the light of the indwelling Spirit, which gradually opened itself in his soul; and the grace of God was upon him - That is, the peculiar favour of God rested upon him, even as man.

    Verse 43. The child Jesus - St. Luke describes in order Jesus the fruit of the womb, chap. i, 42; an infant, chap. ii, 12; a little child, ver. 40; a child here, and afterward a man. So our Lord passed through and sanctified every stage of human life. Old age only did not become him.

    Verse 44. Supposing him to have been in the company - As the men and women usually travelled in distinct companies.

    Verse 46. After three days - The first day was spent in their journey, the second, in their return to Jerusalem: and the third, in searching for him there: they found him in the temple - In an apartment of it: sitting in the midst of the doctors - Not one word is said of his disputing with them, but only of his asking and answering questions, which was a very usual thing in these assemblies, and indeed the very end of them. And if he was, with others, at the feet of these teachers (where learners generally sat) he might be said to be in the midst of them, as they sat on benches of a semicircular form, raised above their hearers and disciples.

    Verse 49. Why sought ye me? - He does not blame them for losing, but for thinking it needful to seek him: and intimates, that he could not be lost, nor found any where, but doing the will of a higher parent.

    Verse 50. It is observable that Joseph is not mentioned after this time; whence it is probable, he did not live long after.

    52. Jesus increased in wisdom - As to his human nature, and in favour with God - In proportion to that increase. It plainly follows, that though a man were pure, even as Christ was pure, still he would have room to increase in holiness, and in consequence thereof to increase in the favour, as well as in the love of God.

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