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In the second chapter of Luke beginning in verse 22 Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem to be consecrated to the Lord, because He was the first male.
There are 3 roles played out here that are interesting to me. First—the role of Simeon, the priest. Simeon was a righteous and devout man who was looking for the coming of the Messiah. He believed that he wouldn’t die until after he had seen God’s Messiah. Simeon must have been quite a student of the prophets who foretold even the timing of the Messiah’s appearance.
Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
"Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel."
Second—the role of Jesus’ parents. Note what it says in verse 33. The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."
Third—the role of a prophetess. There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then had been a widow for eighty-four years. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
ONE MORE THING HERE: Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Festival, according to the custom. After the Festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you." "Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And as Jesus grew up, he increased in wisdom and in favor with God and people.
1. Jesus was exceptional, because Simeon and Anna recognized Him.
2. Jesus was exceptional, because His parents see that everything was true to what had been told them by the angels.
3. Jesus was exceptional, because He was able to converse with the rabbi’s at the age of 12 years old.
But here’s the bottom-line. Jesus was not exceptional due to some theological treatise affirming Him to be this way or that. He was exceptional, because it is obvious He is supernatural. But He is not only supernatural; at the same time Jesus is very real and basic—growing up and increasing in wisdom and favor with God and all the people. Jesus was supernatural alright, but He was supernatural—naturally. In order for us to relate to Him, Jesus was down-to-earth and natural. This is what I like best about our study in the writings of Luke. Luke presents the humanity of Jesus as the Son of Man. If we’re going to follow Jesus, then it is important to embrace His humanity. I can’t be God as He is God, but I can follow in His footsteps as I understand the Son of Man.
Now, as we walk through Luke, check out the Son of Man and emulate Him with all your heart.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
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