The day after Christmas or a week after Christmas can be disappointing or outright sad. Perhaps Mary and Joseph felt the same after Jesus’ birth. The visitors from the hills overlooking Bethlehem had left. They were getting use to each other as a family. In the days to come they had to face the bad news with the good news. From Luke 2:22-38, we read of this...
The shepherds had left days before. The wonder of that special night was somehow in the past and the reality of DUTY was on the minds of the parents. They needed to go to Jerusalem.
They needed to get to the Temple so the baby could be legitimate or kosher. He needed to be presented to the Temple and dedicated to the Lord as it was the DUTY of all parents of a first-born male child. As it said in the Law: "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"
In life, there is sometimes good news mixed with bad.
With our story today, we find two people, really three, who are living in a tough situation. The times are not all that sure, what with the Roman government in control of Israel. There are rebels trying to overthrow the Romans. Thieves and beggars are looking for fast riches. Those who were poor had to pay more taxes and to top it all off, here is a couple who do not have a home to call their own——yet.
So, being good Jewish parents, Joseph and Mary travel to the capital city to present their first-born son at the Temple. What they experienced there would only add to what Mary already held in her heart. It was something bad and good concerning her Son.
The Good News :
The old man Simeon, who saw them there was so excited. The One he had been waiting for ALL his life was before him. He broke into praise to the Father by saying:
That was the good news. God’s salvation was here! In the sight of ALL people everywhere—not to a few select people. This salvation was also for the Gentiles AND for the people of Israel.
But to Mary, he would say some sad or bad news:
Should that keep us from being open to His Love? Should that keep us from embracing the Truth found in the Person of Jesus? I think not. To be honest with ourselves and question the things at are puzzling and let go of those things that are dead ends, one would find the Peace that passes all understanding.
In truth, the message of Simeon is both good news and bad because it shows us there is a difference with this Jesus. He is not neutral. He does make a difference in lives. He changes their hearts. He gives them forgiveness. He is the Light for us Gentiles to follow. And thru Him, we become the Glory of God’s People Israel—meaning we become the holders of the blessings of Abraham. AND He is alive today to prove that to be true.
Good News, indeed! As it brings five things into focus!
1. Produced by Faith; By Faith we approach… Eph 3:12.
2. Strengthened by Faith; I know whom I have believed… 2 Tim 1:12.
Litmus is a powdery substance obtained from lichens (a fungi and algae growing together in symbiosis or are mutually beneficial between two things) that is used to indicate whether something is an acid or a base.
A test in which a single factor determines the outcome of weather or not one is a believe or not.
Do I sense a need to depend on God and come to him to walk in light, or do I not? My response to Jesus is the test, and the answer comes from my heart. Each person's response to Him reveals where he or she is before God, just as one day Jesus will reveal where everyone's heart is (Acts 10:42-43.
The fifth focus…
5. Is the Effect of Righteousness… Peace… Isa 32:17.
In case it was missed, the bad news went like this:
Mix with Non Jews—outside the Fold—God’s Plan (1st in the book).
Experience pain-rejected by a divided Israel.
Though no details of Anna's prophecy are given, this section completes the cycle the Temple witnesses. Again, Anna's godliness is underlined by references to her old age, her faithful widowhood and her regular ministry at the Temple. She is full of thanksgiving at the arrival of the Child who will complete God's promise, and she speaks about the Child to all who were looking forward to the Redemption of Jerusalem. Just like the men on the hills with their sheep, they went everywhere and when they went, they spoke of the things they both saw and were told. All who frequented the Temple would have heard her teachings. Her hope, like Simeon's, looks to the completion of what God is starting.
Jesus' Growth (2:39-40).
Then verse 40 would be ours to enjoy.
Next week: Please read Ezra…