God’s Word Goes Forth: Spread Tidings of Joy to Everyone
Luke 2:21-40: Today’s reading picks up the storyline from verse 20. Jesus is named and circumcised on the eighth day according to the Law of Moses (see Leviticus 12:3) to indicate belonging to the Lord and as a sign of the covenant God made with Abraham (see Genesis 17:11-12). Mary and Joseph perform the ceremony of purification and bring Jesus to Jerusalem to be dedicated to the Lord. At the Temple, they encounter Simeon and Anna, two elderly and devout people who testify to God’s faithfulness in speaking about Jesus. After completing everything required by the Law, Mary and Joseph return to Nazareth with Jesus.
Today's Scripture: Luke 2:30, 31
“With my own eyes I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples.”
21 A week later, 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. 39 When Joseph and Mary had finished doing all that was required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to their hometown of Nazareth in Galilee. 40 The child grew and became strong; he was full of wisdom, and God's blessings were upon him.
Leviticus 12 outlines the purification ritual for women after childbirth which Mary and Joseph follow according to the Law of Moses. Mary and Joseph’s sacrifice of two doves or pigeons (verse 24) indicates their status as poor. In what ways do we offer sacrifices today? How are Simeon and Anna described? For what were they waiting (verses 25-26, 38)? What does Simeon say to Mary (verses 34-35)? Upon hearing his words, what might Mary have thought?
Lord God, you keep your promises and your promised Messiah has come and brought us your salvation. He is the light who reveals your will for us. Glory to you, O Lord! Amen.
Luke 2:41-52: At age 12, Jesus meets with the Jewish teachers in Jerusalem.