In this lesson, we will examine Luke 2:21-40
Luke. 2:21 . In obedience to God’s covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:10-12) and God’s Law through Moses (Leviticus 12:3), Mary and Joseph circumcised Jesus on the eighth day. Moreover, in obedience to the agel’s instructions (Luke 1:31), they named the baby Jesus.
Luke 2:22-24. Mary followed the requirments for purification for giving birth to a boy (Leviticus 12:1-8) and for giving birth to a firstborn son (Exodus 13:2, 13, 22:29, 34:20)
In summary, the parents of Jesus, and Jesus himself, were Torah-observing Jews from the first century.
Luke 2:25-27. Simeon was righteous and devout. These words speak of his character, his reputation in society, and his reputation before God. He was a person who had a right relationship with God.
Simeon was waiting for the consolation of Israel. He was waiting for it because the Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die without first seeing the Christ of God and probably because the consolation had been prophesied in the Bible (for example, Isaiah 40:1-5).
That Simeon came “in the spirit” to the temple most likely means that Simeon went to the temple because the Holy Spirit was leading him there to meet the Messiah in order to fulfill what He had first revealed to him.
Somehow, Simeon was able to identify Jesus as the Messiah (perhaps the Spirit showed him which baby was the Messiah, and perhaps the parents also told Simeon how Jesus was miraculously conceived).
Luke 2:28-32. Simeon blessed God, an act of thanksgiving, praise, and worship to God. Simeon also recognized in his prayer that God had fulfilled his word to him (Simeon acknowledged that he had seen God’s salvation, the Christ).
According to Simeon, the Christ (Messiah) will be made known to all peoples (for he was preapred before all peoples), he will give revelation to the gentiles, and he will bring glory to the people of Israel.
Luke 2:33-35. Joseph and Mary marveled at what Simeon said about Jesus (a reasonable response). Simeon blessed them (he pronounced a blessing on them), and he warned Mary about what Jesus would mean for Israel and for her:
- May in Israel would rise and many would fall on account of Jesus
- Jesus would be a sign (compare with Isaiah 8:18) that would be opposed by many in Israel
- Through Jesus, the thoughts of Mary would be revealed.
In other words, a significant number of Jews would not believe in Jesus. The reason why a significant number of Jews would not believe in Jesus is simply that their thoughts were evil: they were not righteous before God.
In the New Testament, all Jews are not saved (made righteous) by God, but oly those who bleieve in Jesus. Similarly, in the Hebrew Bible (Tanach, Old Testament), all Jews are not righteous (saved), but only those whom God delcares righteous (by His grace in response to their faith). What Simeon meant is that those who were righteous before God would receive the Messiah because they were righteous, but those who were not righteous before God would reject the Messiah because they were NOT righteous (Ezekiel 18:20, Deuteronomy 18:19).
Simeon also warned Mary of personal pain like a sword (possibly, because of the death of her son, Jesus).
Luke 2:36-38. Anna did not come to the temply by chance, instead she was led by the Holy Spirit there (for she was a prophetess). Her life of constant fasting and prayer made it possible (and likely) for her to be led by the Spirit to meet Jesus.
Questions for Reflection
- According to the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament, Tanach), does God save (forgive, declare righteous) all Jews?
- Which group of Jews would welcome the Messiah (believe in the Messiah), the righteous Jews or the unrighteous Jews?
- Can we trust the Holy Spirit when He speaks? Did Simoen trust Him?
- What are some things we can do to be led by the Spirit?
- Thank God for sending His Messiah, Jesus, to save both Jews and gentiles.
- Praise God because He does wonders, He is righteous, and He is holy.
- Ask God to lead you by His Spirit to tell others about Jesus.
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