from: New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students, 2015 (Click HERE to get full lesson with links and pictures.)
Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem, and Jesus was born there. Shepherds obeyed an angel’s instruction to find the newborn Jesus, and then they proclaimed Jesus’s birth to others. Simeon blessed Jesus at the temple, and Anna shared her witness that the Redeemer had been born. Jesus grew “in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
Jesus is born in Bethlehem
The Birth of Jesus
How confident are you in your knowledge of the events surrounding the Savior’s birth? Test yourself by completing the following quiz. Write whether each statement is true (T) or false (F).
____ 1. Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem to pay taxes.
____ 2. Mary and Joseph traveled 27 miles (44 kilometers) from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
____ 3. The infant Jesus was laid in a manger because the inn was full.
____ 4. The shepherds followed the star to the manger where Jesus lay.
____ 5. Besides Mary and Joseph, the first ones on record to have seen Jesus were the shepherds.
____ 6. The angel told the shepherds not to tell anyone what they had seen.
As you study Luke 2, look for the answers to these questions to see if you answered them correctly.
Read Luke 2:1–5, looking for why Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem.
Notice that Luke 2:1, footnote b clarifies that Caesar wanted to register, or count, the people. This was done for taxation purposes.
Turn to Bible Maps, no. 11, “The Holy Land in New Testament Times,” located in the Bible appendix. Find the cities of Nazareth and Bethlehem on the map.
Notice that “Bethlehem [is] approximately 85–90 miles (137–145 kilometers) south of Nazareth, a trek of at least four to five walking days, perhaps longer considering Mary’s condition” (New Testament Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2014], 143).
Ponder what you think would be the most appropriate circumstances for the birth of the Creator and Savior of the world. Read Luke 2:6–7, looking for the circumstances of Jesus’s birth.
Read Luke 2:8–14, looking for how the Savior’s birth was announced.
Notice that Luke 2:10 describes feelings we can experience because the Savior was born. Consider writing the following truth in your scriptures: Because the Savior was born on the earth, we can experience great joy.
As you continue to study Luke 2, look for examples of how knowledge of the Savior’s birth brought joy to others.
Read Luke 2:15–20, marking words or phrases that indicate how the shepherds responded to the angel’s instructions.
Notice that the shepherds immediately responded to the angel’s message. Of what did the shepherds receive a witness, or testimony, as a result of responding to this message?
Review Luke 2:17–20, looking for what the shepherds did after they received their witness of Jesus Christ. Why do you think the shepherds shared with others what they had experienced and heard?
journal: Complete the following assignments in your scripture study journal:
a. Based on what you learned from the shepherds’ actions, complete the following principle: When we receive our testimony of Jesus Christ, we will want to _____________________________________________________.
b. Ponder a time when you felt a desire to share your testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel with others. Write about why you had that desire.
Simeon and Anna declare Jesus to be the Savior of the world
In Luke 2:21–24 we read that eight days after Jesus’s birth, Mary and Joseph presented Him at the temple in accordance with Jewish law (see Exodus 13:2). Two individuals who were at the temple that day recognized the infant Jesus as the Messiah.
Read the account of Simeon in Luke 2:25–32. (Note that the phrase “waiting for the consolation of Israel” in Luke 2:25 refers to waiting for the Messiah to come.) Then read the account of Anna in Luke 2:36–38. In both accounts, look for how knowledge of the Savior’s birth brought joy to these individuals.
In what ways did Simeon and Anna then testify of Jesus Christ?
We read in Luke 2:34–35 that Simeon also blessed Mary and Joseph. The Joseph Smith Translation clarifies the prophecy of Simeon to Mary: “Yea, a spear shall pierce through him to the wounding of thine own soul also; that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 2:35).
journal: In your scripture study journal, explain why knowing of the Savior’s birth has brought you joy. Consider sharing this testimony with a friend or during family home evening.
According to Luke 2:39, after presenting Jesus at the temple, Mary and Joseph returned with Jesus to their home in Nazareth.
Young Jesus grows “in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man”
Write something you would like to improve about yourself: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
How could knowing what Jesus was like when He was your age help you become the person you would like to be?
The scriptures contain only a few details about Jesus’s youth, but those details can be a great blessing and guide to us as we seek to improve ourselves. Read Luke 2:40, looking for how Luke described Jesus’s early life. Note that waxed means to grow or increase.
Next, read Luke 2:41–49, looking for what Jesus did when He was 12 years old.
Why had Jesus stayed behind at the temple? (Read Luke 2:46, footnote c, looking for how the Joseph Smith Translation clarifies what Jesus was doing at the temple.)
video: You may want to watch “Young Jesus Teaches in the Temple” (2:30) from The Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos, available at LDS.org, to see a depiction of what happened when Joseph and Mary found Jesus at the temple. If the video is not available, read Luke 2:48–50, looking for what Jesus said to Mary and Joseph when they found Him.
What does this account reveal about Jesus’s knowledge of His divine identity as a young man?
Prophet Joseph Smith
The Prophet Joseph Smith revealed the following about Jesus Christ as a youth: “When still a boy He had all the intelligence necessary to enable Him to rule and govern the kingdom of the Jews, and could reason with the wisest and most profound doctors of law and divinity, and make their theories and practice to appear like folly compared with the wisdom He possessed; but He was a boy only, and lacked physical strength even to defend His own person, and was subject to cold, to hunger and to death (in History of the Church, 6:608).
Read Luke 2:51–52, looking for ways in which Jesus grew (see also Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 3:24–26 [in the Bible appendix]).
Luke 2:52 teaches us that Jesus “increased in wisdom.” In that verse we also learn three other ways he grew. To increase in “stature” means to grow physically. The phrase “in favour with God” relates to spiritual well-being, and the phrase “in favour with … man” relates to social relationships. Thus, based on our study of this verse we can learn the following principle: We can follow Jesus’s example by gaining wisdom and growing physically, spiritually, and socially.
Ponder the following questions:
• Why it is important for us to develop in each of these four areas?
• How have you been blessed as you have tried to follow Jesus’s example of developing Himself in these areas?
journal icon4. Copy the following chart in your scripture study journal. Then write under each of the categories a goal for your own personal development and a plan for how you will act on that goal during the coming weeks.
I CAN FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS BY INCREASING …
My goal and plan to complete my goal:
journal: Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Luke 2 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher:
Answers to the true–false quiz: 1. True; 2. False; 3. True; 4. False; 5. True; 6. False.