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Gene’s Daily Scriptural Postings.

Reflective Bible Study.

Chosen By God: Luke 2:21-38

Listen to this episode and/or subscribe on in Luke – Episode 4: Luke’s gospel describes a message Mary received when taking Jesus to be dedicated. Discover in this message a prophecy and a warning that predicts the direction Jesus’ life will head! Read the transcript: As we continue moving through Jesus’ birth story in Luke’s gospel, we arrive at a significant event in the story, but one that doesn’t fit very well if we try to condense and combine Matthew’s gospel with Luke’s gospel describing Jesus’ birth. While I believe both gospels are accurate, where things can get confusing is when we try to squish the details together and make two events into one. Because of the event our passage includes for this episode, it is best to view Matthew and Luke’s gospels separately, and let Luke describe the events close to the night Jesus was born, and let Matthew fill us in on events that likely happened a few weeks after Jesus had entered this world as a baby. Actually, it is fascinating to look at the event we are about to read while realizing that Herod was ruling Jerusalem and Judea, and that Herod was in Jerusalem directing the wise men towards Bethlehem not too long after this event happened. Our passage for this episode is found in Luke’s gospel, chapter 2, and we will read from the Good News Translation. Starting in verse 21, Luke tells us that 21 A week later [this would be a week after Jesus was born], when the time came for the baby to be circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name which the angel had given him before he had been conceived. 22 The time came for Joseph and Mary to perform the ceremony of purification, as the Law of Moses commanded. So they took the child to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, 23 as it is written in the law of the Lord: “Every first-born male is to be dedicated to the Lord.” 24 They also went to offer a sacrifice of a pair of doves or two young pigeons, as required by the law of the Lord. 25 At that time there was a man named Simeon living in Jerusalem. He was a good, God-fearing man and was waiting for Israel to be saved. The Holy Spirit was with him 26 and had assured him that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s promised Messiah. 27 Led by the Spirit, Simeon went into the Temple. When the parents brought the child Jesus into the Temple to do for him what the Law required, 28 Simeon took the child in his arms and gave thanks to God: 29 “Now, Lord, you have kept your promise, and you may let your servant go in peace. 30 With my own eyes I have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples: 32 A light to reveal your will to the Gentiles and bring glory to your people Israel.” 33 The child’s father and mother were amazed at the things Simeon said about him. 34 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, “This child is chosen by God for the destruction and the salvation of many in Israel. He will be a sign from God which many people will speak against 35 and so reveal their secret thoughts. And sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart.” 36-37 There was a very old prophet, a widow named Anna, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. She had been married for only seven years and was now eighty-four years old. She never left the Temple; day and night she worshiped God, fasting and praying. 38 That very same hour she arrived and gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were waiting for God to set Jerusalem free. In this passage, Jesus’ parents take Jesus to dedicate Him at the temple. It is amazing in my mind to think that Jesus would have been present in the temple, right under the noses of the religious leaders, Herod, and all the people, and most people simply didn’t pay that close attention. According to this passage, only two people really take notice: Simeon, who the Bible simply describes as a man who had the Holy Spirit and who God had promised to reveal the Messiah to; and Anna, a widow who had dedicated herself to worshiping God in the temple. For a long time, I had assumed that Simeon was the priest on duty that day, but nothing in this passage implies this to be the case. Nothing is really mentioned about the priest on duty, about Jesus parents actually giving the sacrifice, or about the response of those that Simeon and Anna told about Jesus. However, in Simeon’s message to Mary, we can see three huge ideas that are incredibly powerful when we stop and look at what he told her. At the beginning of Simeon’s message to Mary in verse 34, God prophesies about Jesus’ life saying “This child is chosen by God for the destruction and the salvation of many in Israel.” It would be very easy to latch on to the positive side of this message, but this message contains both positive and negative. Jesus came not only to save people living in Israel, but also for destruction. To quantify the negative side of this promise, Simeon continues in the last part of verse 34 and into verse 35 saying, “He [Jesus] will be a sign from God which many people will speak against and so reveal their secret thoughts.” According to this second statement in Simeon’s message to Mary, Jesus is a sign from God that will polarize people and those who speak out against Jesus will reveal the secrets of their hearts. Those who speak out against Jesus show the universe that they have sided against God.It is powerful to realize that what we tell others about Jesus shows how loyal or disloyal we are to God. As we continue in Luke’s gospel, Jesus’ presence clearly separates those who have sided with God vs. those who have decided to set themselves against Jesus. The last part of Simeon’s message to Mary is directed specifically towards Mary. In the last portion of verse 35, Simeon tells Mary, “And sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart.” Whether we like to think of it or not, this statement predicts Jesus’ death. Before Jesus had fully stepped into history, Simeon, led by the Holy Spirit, forewarns Mary that Jesus’ life as a Messiah would end in death. Jesus would die before she would. However, this message, while it was challenging, does contain the promise that Jesus’ arrival signified the way God chose to open salvation for many people living in Israel. Actually, Jesus’ arrival signified the way God chose to open salvation for all His people living at any point in the history of our human race. Sin came in to this world through the actions of Adam and Eve, and through the actions and sacrifice of Jesus, God has made a way for us to outlast sin. As we continue through our year focusing in on Luke’s gospel, expect to see this theme show up regularly. Through Jesus, we have the hope and assurance of a new life with God! As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with: As I always challenge you to do, intentionally seek God first in your life and choose to place your faith, hope, trust, and belief in Jesus. Through what Jesus came to accomplish, we have the hope of salvation and a way out of facing the eternal consequences of sin. Jesus’ entrance into the world gives us an escape for a problem that we cannot solve on our own. Also, continue praying and studying the Bible for yourself to grow closer to Jesus and to God. Through prayer and study, discover how we can open our hearts, minds, and lives to God and let His Holy Spirit transform us. Through the Holy Spirit, we can discover the truth God wants to teach us and we can discover how important Jesus’ sacrifice is for our future. And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or turn away from where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him! Listen to this episode and/or subscribe on this article on the web on it's official page: Chosen By God: Luke 2:21-38

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