Luke Chapter 2
Caesar Augustus was the Roman Emperor at the time of the birth of the Christ. The only other Caesar that reigned during the human lifetime of Christ was Tiberius, at the time of Christ's crucifixion. The two Roman coins (see The Denarius) show both of them.
"2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world [i.e. the part of the world that the malignant Roman empire had invaded and occupied; see Ancient Empires - Rome] should be taxed. 2:2 And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. 2:3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David [see The City of David], which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and lineage of King David: 2:5 To be taxed with Mary [see also What Would Mary Really Say About Idolatry?] his espoused wife, being great with child. 2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son [see Mary's Other Children], and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2:1-7 KJV)
One of the most famous "Christmas stories" is proof in itself that Christ was not born in the winter - shepherds never left their sheep, or themselves with them, out in open pasture during the cold, wet months of winter in Judea. Christ was most probably born in early autumn, in September or October (see the Fact Finder question below).
"2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 2:9 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. 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger [see Nativity].
2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
2:15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven [see Heavens Below, Heavens Above], 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.
2:16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
2:17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 2:18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 2:19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 2:20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them." (Luke 2:8-20 KJV)
Jesus was born and raised as a Jew, "according to the law of Moses."
"2:21 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 [see also Spiritual Conception].
2:22 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; 2:23 As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord; 2:24 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.
2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and The Holy Ghost was upon him. 2:26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 2:27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 2:28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 2:29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 2:30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 2:31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 2:32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
2:33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. 2:34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel [see Israelite Monarchy - The Messiah]; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; 2:35 Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
2:36 And there was one Anna, a Prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; 2:37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 2:38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
2:39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him." (Luke 2:21-40 KJV)
Jesus "lost" at the Temple at age twelve is one of the most famous events of Christ's life (see Has Anyone Seen Our Son?).
"2:41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover [see Christ's Passover]. 2:42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast [see Christ's Feast of Unleavened Bread]. 2:43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. 2:44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. 2:45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. 2:46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 2:47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 2:48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
2:49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? 2:50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
2:51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." (Luke 2:41-52 KJV)
Luke Chapter 3
The purpose of the ministry of John The Baptist was to prepare the way for Christ's ministry. John was famous while Jesus was yet unknown.
"3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod [see The Herods] being Tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, 3:2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests [see also The Lines Of Eleazar and Ithamar], the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3:3 And he came into all the country about Jordan [see The Jordan River], preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; 3:4 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 3:5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
3:6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
3:7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him [see Baptism and The Origin of Baptism], O generation of Vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance [see The Process Of Conversion], and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 3:9 And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire [see They Shall Be Ashes].
3:10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
3:11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
3:12 Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?
3:13 And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
3:14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do?
And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
3:15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire [see Baptism Of Fire]: 3:17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. 3:18 And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.
3:19 But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, 3:20 Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison [see John's Last Days]." (Luke 3:1-20 KJV)
Before John was imprisoned, Jesus was baptized by him, not for repentance, but for example.
"3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 3:22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased." (Luke 3:21-22 KJV)
The Scriptures provide both genealogies of Jesus Christ (see Why 2 Genealogies For Jesus Christ?).
"3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being as was supposed, the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, 3:24 Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Janna, which was the son of Joseph, 3:25 Which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Amos, which was the son of Naum, which was the son of Esli, which was the son of Nagge, 3:26 Which was the son of Maath, which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Semei, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Juda, 3:27 Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri, 3:28 Which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Addi, which was the son of Cosam, which was the son of Elmodam, which was the son of Er, 3:29 Which was the son of Jose, which was the son of Eliezer, which was the son of Jorim, which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, 3:30 Which was the son of Simeon, which was the son of Juda, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Jonan, which was the son of Eliakim, 3:31 Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David, 3:32 Which was the son of Jesse, which was the son of Obed, which was the son of Booz, which was the son of Salmon, which was the son of Naasson, 3:33 Which was the son of Aminadab, which was the son of Aram, which was the son of Esrom, which was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda [see Tamar and Judah], 3:34 Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac [see Isaac's Faith And Obedience to understand how Isaac's near sacrifice portrayed Christ's actual sacrifice], which was the son of Abraham [see On His Own Two Feet and Israel's Iraqi Roots], which was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor, 3:35 Which was the son of Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala, 3:36 Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech, 3:37 Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan, 3:38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God." (Luke 3:23-38 KJV)
Luke Chapter 4
The actual Greek word, pronounced pi-rad-zo, which is translated as "tempted" in 4:2 Being forty days tempted of the devil" (Luke 4:2 KJV), means to determine whether something can be done, to try something (as in a trial - see Trials and Tribulations).
The "temptation of Christ" was a demonstration of how Satan puts stress upon the most fundamentally human instincts to bait people into sin. He used some of the same tactics with the Christ, who was as human as any other man (see Could Jesus Have Sinned?), that he used with Adam and Eve - hunger and vanity, and not by coincidence, since Christ had come to undo the fall caused by Adam and Eve's failure to resist the devil in exactly the same way. It was a repeat of the challenge in the Garden of Eden, but this time Satan lost to "the second Adam" (see The Adam Family).
"4:1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost [see Ghost and Spirit: What's The Difference?] returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 4:2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.
4:3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.
4:4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
4:5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 4:6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it [see Who Still Rules The World Today?].
4:7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
4:8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
4:9 And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a Pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: 4:10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: 4:11 And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
4:12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
4:13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season." (Luke 4:1-13 KJV)
Nazareth is world-famous as the town where Christ grew from infancy into a man. What is not as well known is that, after He began to preach, the people of Nazareth would have murdered the Christ if He had remained: "4:28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 4:29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong" (Luke 4:28-29 KJV).
"4:14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. 4:15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.
4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read [see Aliyya and Haftara]. 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
4:20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 4:21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
4:22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?
4:23 And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.
4:24 And he said, Verily, I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
4:25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
4:26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. 4:27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.
4:28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
4:29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. 4:30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way." (Luke 4:14-30 KJV)
Christ moved to Capernaum from Nazareth.
"4:31 And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.
4:32 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.
4:33 And in the synagogue [the inset photo in the map shows the remnant of that synagogue in Capernaum] there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice,
4:34 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.
4:35 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.
4:36 And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out. 4:37 And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about." (Luke 4:31-37 KJV)
Jesus' ministry involved great healing - physical and spiritual.
"4:38 And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. 4:39 And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.
4:40 Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. 4:41 And Devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.
4:42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them. 4:43 And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.
4:44 And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee." (Luke 4:38-44 KJV)
Fact Finder: What time of the year was Christ born?
See The Conception Of Christ