Luke 2:22-35 (NIV) – When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 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, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 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, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
“The picture is of Jesus as the true world ruler: the Lord, the Messiah, the savior, the real king of the world instead of Caesar. How easy it would be to fill in this picture in glowing, royal colours, giving us a sense of future glory, world dominion, power and majesty.
“Luke does the opposite. He chooses somber colours; and the more he fills in the picture the more we realize that this is a different sort of kingdom to that of Caesar Augustus. It is indeed what God had promised; but, not for the last time, Luke is warning us that it doesn’t look like what people had expected.
In particular, this is becoming a story about suffering. Simeon is waiting for God to comfort Israel. Anna is in touch with the people who are waiting for the redemption of Israel. They are both living in a world of patient hope, where suffering has become a way of life. It now appears that God’s appointed redeemer will deal with this suffering by sharing it himself. Simeon speaks dark words about opposition, and about a sword that will pierce Mary’s heart as well.” [N.T. Wright, Luke for Everyone, pages 25-26]
Joseph and Mary marvel in response to the revelation of who Jesus is. This revelation of Jesus “pierces” to the core of who they are as they are called to follow Him.
Response & Prayer: As we are reflecting and anticipating together in this Christmas season, may the revelation of Jesus pierce to the core of who we are and may we be changed in new ways as we grow in our calling to follow him daily.
Let’s prayerfully close in this worship song together: “Jesus, Only Jesus” by Matt Redman (written by Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill, Matt Redman, Nathan Nockels, Tony Wood)