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Return of the Holy Family to Nazareth from Bethlehem

   39And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.   40And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.  Luke 2:39-40



















Quotes & Notes on:    Luke 2:40

  • John Wesley's Notes:
    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.

  • Treasury of Scripture Knowledge:
    * the child. Lu 2:52; Jg 13:24; 1Sa 2:18; 3:19; Ps 22:9; Isa 53:1,2
    * strong. Lu 1:80; Eph 6:10; 2Ti 2:1
    * filled. Lu 2:47,52; Isa 11:1-5; Col 2:2,3
    * the grace. Ps 45:2; Joh 1:14; Ac 4:33

  • Adam Clarke's Commentary:
    The child grew] As to his body-being in perfect health.

    Waxed strong in spirit] His rational soul became strong and vigorous.

    Filled with wisdom] The divinity continuing to communicate itself more and more, in proportion to the increase of the rational principle. The reader should never forget that Jesus was perfect man, as well as God.

    And the grace of God was upon him.] The word cariv, not only means grace in the common acceptation of the word, (some blessing granted by God's mercy to those who are sinners, or have no merit,) but it means also favour or approbation: and this sense I think most proper for it here, when applied to the human nature of our blessed Lord; and thus our translators render the same word, Lu 2:52. Even Christ himself, who knew no sin, grew in the favour of God; and, as to his human nature, increased in the graces of the Holy Spirit. From this we learn that, if a man were as pure and as perfect as the man Jesus Christ himself was, yet he might nevertheless increase in the image, and consequently in the favour, of God. God loves every thing and person, in proportion to the nearness of the approaches made to his own perfections.

  • Family Bible Notes:
    (No comment on this verse)

  • 1599 Geneva Bible Notes:
      As Christ grew up in age, so the virtue of his Godhead showed itself more and more.

  • People's New Testament Commentary:
      The child grew. He was a child, and a child that grew in heart, in intellect, in size, in grace, in favor with God. Not a man in child's years.

    Filled with wisdom. The body advances in stature and the soul in wisdom. The divine nature revealed its own wisdom in proportion to the measure of the bodily growth.--Cyril. In "the mystery of godliness: God manifest in the flesh" [1Ti 3:16], one of the inscrutable things that was that the Divine man should become a babe, not only in body, but in mind and wisdom.

  • Robertson's Word Pictures:
       Coming up (epistâsa). Second aorist active participle. The word often has the notion of coming suddenly or bursting in as of Martha in Lu 10:40. But here it probably means coming up and standing by and so hearing Simeon's wonderful words so that her words form a kind of footnote to his. Gave thanks (anthômologeito). Imperfect middle of a verb (anthomologeô) in common use in Greek writers and in the LXX though here alone in the N.T. It had the idea of a mutual agreement or of saying something before one (anti). Anna was evidently deeply moved and repeated her thanksgiving and kept speaking (elalei, imperfect again) "to all them that were looking for (prosdechomenois, as in Lu 1:35 of Simeon) the redemption of Jerusalem (lutrôsin Ierousalêm)." There was evidently a group of such spirits that gathered in the temple either men around her and Simeon or whom she met from time to time. There was thus a nucleus of old saints in Jerusalem prepared for the coming of the Messiah when he at last appears as the Messiah in Jerusalem (John 2 and 3). These probably all passed away. But they had a happy hour of hope and joy. The late MSS. have "in Jerusalem" but "of Jerusalem" is correct. What they meant by the "redemption of Jerusalem" is not clear, whether political or spiritual or both. Simeon was looking for the consolation of Israel (Lu 2:25) and Zacharias (Lu 1:68) sang of redemption for Israel (Isa 40:2).

  • Albert Barnes' Commentary:
     Strong in spirit. In mind, intellect, understanding. Jesus had a human soul, and that soul was subject to all the proper laws of a human spirit. It therefore increased in knowledge, strength, and character. Nor is it any more inconsistent with his being God to say that his soul expanded, than to say that his body grew.

    Filled with wisdom. Eminent for wisdom when a child--that is, exhibiting an extraordinary understanding, and wise to flee from everything sinful and evil.

    And the grace of God, &c. The word grace in the New Testament commonly means unmerited favour shown to sinners. Here it means no more than favour. God showed him favour, or was pleased with him and blessed him. It is remarkable that this is all that is recorded of the infancy of Jesus; and this, with the short account that follows of his going to Jerusalem, is all that we know of him for thirty years of his life. The design of the evangelists was to give an account of his public ministry, and not his private life. Hence they say little of him in regard to his first years. What they do say, however, corresponds entirely with what we might expect. He was wise, pure, pleasing God, and deeply skilled in the knowledge of the divine law. He set a lovely example for all children; was subject to his parents, and increased in favour with God and man.

    {w} "filled with wisdom" Isa 11:2,3; Lu 2:52

  • Jamieson-Faussett Brown:
     His mental development kept pace with His bodily, and "the grace of God," the divine favor, rested manifestly and increasingly upon Him. See Lu 2:52.

  • Spurgeon Commentary:
    What a child was this, with the fullness of divine grace upon him! Lord Jesus, make our sons and daughters to be like thee while they are yet children.

  • William Burkitt's Notes:
    (No comment on this verse)

  • Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary:
    (No comment on this verse)

  • The Fourfold Gospel:
     And the child grew. This verse contains the history of thirty years. It describes the growth of our Lord as a natural, human growth (compare Lu 1:80); for, though Jesus was truly divine, he was also perfectly man. To try to distinguish between the divine and human in Jesus, is to waste time upon an impracticable mystery which is too subtle for our dull and finite minds.

    And waxed strong. His life expanded like other human lives. He learned as other boys; he obeyed as other children. As he used means and waited patiently for growth, so must each individual Christian, and so must the church. Though the latter is a mystical body, and animated by the Holy Spirit, it must nevertheless make increase of itself before coming to the perfect man (Eph 4:16).

    Filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. These words describe briefly the life of Christ during the preparatory period at Nazareth. It was a quiet life, but its sinless purity made the Baptist feel his own unworthiness compared to it (Mt 3:14), and its sweet reasonableness inspired in Mary, the mother, that confidence which led her to sanction, without reserve, any request or command which Jesus might utter (Joh 2:5).





After Joseph and Mary had done everything they were supposed to do according to the law after Jesus was born, they returned to Galilee to their home in Nazareth.  There, Jesus grew and became strong and wise and God's grace was with him.

Problem: According to Matthew 2:1-23, the Magi came to see Jesus and were directed by Herod to Bethlehem, where we traditionally assume they found Jesus.  This would have been about two years after the Nativity.

See also Catholic Encyclopedia: Magi

Sidebar Study:  Childhood Through Early Manhood of Jesus

Variations in Manuscripts

Verse Variation
Luke 2:40 child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom
strong in spirit

Cross References

Current Text  Refrence Description
Luke 2:38 Luke 24:21
Mark 15:43
Luke 2:40 Luke 1:80
  1. Return to Nazareth
  2. Boyhood of Jesus until age 12 vs 40
  3. End of Luke Boyhood story, & just 1 vs.
  4. See Mt. 2:1-23 for
    1. Flight to Egypt
    2. Murder of the Innocents
    3. Return from Egypt to Nazareth


Updated:   Wednesday, March 06, 2013 at 03:51 AM



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