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Adam Clarke on Luke 2:15-21

15  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

21  After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Luke 2:15-21 NRSV.

15 Κα γνετο ς πλθον π᾿ ατν ες τν ορανν ο γγελοι, ο ποιμνες λλουν πρς λλλους· διλθωμεν δ ως Βηθλεμ κα δωμεν τ ῥῆμα τοτο τ γεγονς κριος γνρισεν μν. 16 κα λθαν σπεσαντες κα νεραν τν τε Μαριμ κα τν ωσφ κα τ βρφος κεμενον ν τ φτν· 17 δντες δ γνρισαν περ το ῥήματος το λαληθντος ατος περ το παιδου τοτου. 18 κα πντες ο κοσαντες θαμασαν περ τν λαληθντων π τν ποιμνων πρς ατος· 19 δ Μαριμ πντα συνετρει τ ῥήματα τατα συμβλλουσα ν τ καρδίᾳ ατς. 20 κα πστρεψαν ο ποιμνες δοξζοντες κα ανοντες τν θεν π πσιν ος κουσαν κα εδον καθς λαλθη πρς ατος. 21 Κα τε πλσθησαν μραι κτ το περιτεμεν ατν κα κλθη τ νομα ατο ησος, τ κληθν π το γγλου πρ το συλλημφθναι ατν ν τ κοιλίᾳ. Luke 2:15-21

Verse 15. Let us now go even unto Bethlehem. διελθωμεν, let us go across the country at the nearest, that we may lose no time, that we may speedily see this glorious reconciler of God and man. All delays are dangerous: but he who delays to seek Jesus, when the angels, the messengers of God, bring him glad tidings of salvation, risks his present safety and his eternal happiness. O, what would the damned in hell give for those moments in which the living hear of salvation, had they the same possibility of receiving it! Reader, be wise. Acquaint thyself now with God, and be at peace; and thereby good will come unto thee. Amen.

Verse 17. They made known abroad the saying. These shepherds were the first preachers of the Gospel of Christ: and what was their text? Why, Glory to God in the highest heavens, and on earth peace and good will among men. This is the elegant and energetic saying which comprises the sum and substance of the Gospel of God. This, and this only, is the message which all Christ’s true pastors or shepherds bring to men. He who, while he professes the religion of Christ, disturbs society by his preachings or writings, who excludes from the salvation of God all who hold not his religious or political creed, never knew the nature of the Gospel, and never felt its power or influence. How can religious contentions, civil broils, or open wars, look that Gospel in the face which publishes nothing but glory to God, and peace and good will among men? Crusades for the recovery of a holy land so called, (by the way, latterly, the most unholy in the map of the world,) and wars for the support of religion, are an insult to the Gospel, and blasphemy against God!

Verse 19. And pondered them in her heart.. συμβαλλουσα, Weighing them in her heart. Weighing is an English translation of our word pondering, from the Latin ponderare. Every circumstance relative to her son’s birth, Mary treasured up in her memory; and every new circumstance she weighed, or compared with those which had already taken place, in order to acquire the fullest information concerning the nature and mission of her son.

Verse 20. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising. These simple men, having satisfactory evidence of the truth of the good tidings, and feeling a Divine influence upon their own minds, returned to the care of their flocks, glorifying God for what he had shown them, and for the blessedness which they felt. “Jesus Christ, born of a woman, laid in a stable, proclaimed and ministered to by the heavenly host, should be a subject of frequent contemplation to the pastors of his Church. After having compared the predictions of the prophets with the facts stated in the evangelic history, their own souls being hereby confirmed in these sacred truths, they will return to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for what they had seen and heard in the Gospel history, just as it had been told them in the writings of the prophets; and, preaching these mysteries with the fullest conviction of their truth, they become instruments in the hands of God of begetting the same faith in their hearers; and thus the glory of God and the happiness of his people are both promoted.” What subjects for contemplation! — what matter for praise!

Verse 21. When eight days were accomplished. The law had appointed that every male should be circumcised at eight days old, or on the eighth day after its birth, Gen. xvii. 12; and our blessed Lord received circumcision in token of his subjection to the law, Gal. iv. 4; v. 3.

— Adam Clarke’s Commentary

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