“What’s Next?” – Luke 2:21-40
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Last Sunday we looked into "Immanuel," "God with us," as it related to God's desire to live with His creation, and how He took on man's flesh to accomplish His desire.
Last Thursday, Christmas Eve, we briefly examined His actual birth, born of "the virgin" in Bethlehem as prophesied by Micah and Isaiah.
But it seems not as much attention is paid to:
As always, in God's Word, "what's next" is much.
So, let us get started and receive the next truths and the blessing therein.
"...eight days were completed for the circumcision..."
* Christ was circumcised according to Mosaic Law and God's covenant with Abraham.
"...His name was called Jesus..."
* "Jesus" - Yeshua (Hb.) - Salvation, God saves.
* To one purpose:
"...you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins..."
"...the name given by the Angel before He was conceived in the womb."
* The angel Gabriel told Mary. (Lk. 1:31)
* The angel, unnamed, told Joseph. (Matt. 1:21)
* And the angel Gabriel told Zacharias to name his son John, John the Baptist, prophet of the Most High. (Lk. 1:13-17)
The Jewish custom was that parents always named their own children, but in this case, God, through His angel, named Jesus (Salvation) and John (Yahweh is Gracious) according to His purpose for them.
"...the days of her purification according to the law of Moses."
"...they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord."
* Jerusalem, the temple's location, 6 miles from Bethlehem.
* "To present Him to the Lord" - To consecrate, or set Him apart for the Lord's use.
* Today we call this “Dedication,” and we promise to raise our children as God commands.
"...(as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD")..."
* Jesus was the firstborn of Mary, and was to be dedicated, "holy to the LORD."(Ex. 13:2)
"...and to offer a sacrifice. According to...the Law of the Lord..."
* Jesus would be our Sacrifice, our Passover, the atonement for our sin.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
"For there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood."
Our "forgiveness" required the most righteous blood for atonement.
"...Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."
"...a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons."
When a Jewish couple brought their son for dedication, Old Testament law required they bring a lamb or goat as an offering. (Lev. 12:2-6)
Unless they were poor, then doves or pigeons were acceptable. (Lev. 12:8)
The Lord Jesus, King of the universe, Owner of all things (Col. 1:15-16), was born into the poorest of peasant families, so that He might identify with all people.
So, why was all of this "law keeping" done for Jesus before He even had a choice?
"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill."
So that He would be perfect and blameless, to fulfill all the law so He could provide us with the grace of God.
"...that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God..."
"...Simeon...was...waiting for the consolation of Israel..."
* Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was "the consolation of Israel," the Salvation of Israel.
* All "just and devout" Jews were longing and expecting the Messiah to rule and reign in Jerusalem, just as King David and Solomon did.
"...and the Holy Spirit was upon him."
* He was in, and led by the Spirit of God to God's purpose.
"...revealed to him by the Holy Spirit..."
* When the Holy Spirit is upon a believer, God will often reveal coming events to fulfill His plans - prophecy.
"Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophecy with them..."
(1 Sam. 10:6)
"...he came by the Spirit into the temple..."
* Again, the Holy Spirit is to be our guide.
* Even the Lord Jesus is led by the Spirit:
"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil."
That God's purpose and plans be accomplished.
"He took Him up in his arms and blessed God..."
* What blesses God is our obedience in faith.
Simeon, who was controlled by the Spirit received a revelation concerning Christ in the same way as we do:
- He studied the Word, and knew the prophecies.
- He spent time in prayer, seeking the Lord, and listening, rather than just speaking.
That Simeon was able to "bless God" demonstrates that he knew immediately and absolutely that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, sent by the Father.
"Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word..."
* "Peace" - The same "peace" that the heavenly host praised God with:
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
(Lk. 2:14 NIV)
"For my eyes have seen Your salvation..."
* "Salvation" - Soterion (Gk.) Yeshua (Hb.)
Simeon has seen his salvation in physical form -- the Lamb of God, baby Jesus, a real person, not a word, creed or doctrine. (Jn. 14:6, Acts 3:12)
"A Light to bring revelation to the Gentiles..."
Isaiah 42:1, 6, 49:6
"And the glory of Your people Israel."
* The Jews expected Messiah to come only for Israel. (Isa. 49:5)
* Originally, in God's plan, Israel was to be the light and glory to all the nations to lead them to God. But now God would, through Jesus, bring hope and glory to all.
"...behold this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel..."
Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, "The Stone which the builders rejected has become the Chief Cornerstone," and "a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offense." They stumble, being disobedient to the Word, to which they also were appointed.
(1 Pet. 2:7-8)
And it was fulfilled as Jesus said it would be in AD 70,
"...and for a sign that will be spoken against."
He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (Isa. 8:14)
"...a sword will pierce through your own soul also..."
* A sword that would pierce Mary's heart as she watched her Son pay for the sins of the world on the cross of Calvary. (Jn. 19:25-30)
"And this woman...served God with fastings and prayers night and day."
* Did the Apostle Paul, while still Rabbi Saul, know of this prophetess in the temple?
Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day.
(1 Tim. 5:5)
"And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem."
* "Redemption in Jerusalem" - The Jews were looking for freedom from the Roman yoke of slavery, redemption's definition is the process by which one is brought out of bondage.
But Christ provided redemption from the greatest slavery and bondage, sin and its wages:
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The prophetess, Anna, an amazing, elderly prayer warrior and woman of God who testified of Messiah's real identity.
And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
In this one incident at the temple of God, while Christ was yet a babe in arms, we see His future destiny and the promised fulfillment of all the Father's plans.
Christ has provided our "what's next," and because of this, we need have no fear and can rest in the peace He provides.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
So be it, come quickly Lord!
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