As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we just looked at the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. Now, Luke talks about his childhood years in Luke 2:21-40.
It’s obvious that both Mary and Joseph were devout Jews. They did everything according to the Law of Moses. This law is found in Leviticus 12.
According to this law, Jesus had to be circumcised on the eighth day. Then, Mary had to wait 33 days for her purification. At that point, she needed to go to the temple to offer the sacrifice for her purification.
This tells us a lot about the family of Jesus. All this moving around the country had taken a toll on their finances. They went to Jerusalem for their purification…
…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.”
Actually, according to the law, this is the sacrifice if you were too poor to afford a lamb. Mary and Joseph were struggling to get by. Yet, they maintained the spiritual connections the best that they could, in order to raise Jesus correctly.
After all, they could have made the excuse, “We can’t afford to go to Jerusalem yet.” But they went anyway, and God had a great blessing waiting for them there.
There happened to be an elderly man in Jerusalem named Simeon. God had impressed him that he wouldn’t die until he saw the Messiah. As soon as he saw the baby, he knew that the time had come.
Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
This prophet of God had some amazing words to say over this child. First, Simeon reveals that Jesus is the salvation of God.
Then, he speaks of the Lord’s ministry. Christ will be a light to the world. This light will be revelation to the Gentiles and glory to Israel.
As parents, I can only imagine what Mary and Joseph were thinking while Simeon was speaking out these words. But, he didn’t end there. He had a special prophecy that he spoke over Mary.
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, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
He makes it known that the ministry of Jesus will not be a “bed of roses.” The Lord will definitely make a lot of powerful enemies. He will reveal things that those in authority will want to remain hidden. Mary needed to be ready for the outcome of God’s plan – Messiah going to the cross.
After Simeon finished his assignment, another person came to these parents. She was an elderly prayer warrior named Anna. She also recognized the child by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. She spoke more words of encouragement to all who were listening.
Joseph and Mary did everything that was needed to be done in order for God’s plan to be fulfilled in their child. And, God rewarded their efforts. They saw the confirmation of all that God spoke to them.
When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.
After they had gone through with their spiritual duties, they left for home. But, they didn’t go to Bethlehem, where the Child was born. Instead, they went back to Nazareth, where they had grown up and were connected with friends and family.
In this environment, Christ grew, and it was obvious that God had a great calling upon Him.
Question: What are the things you need to do to fulfill God’s plan in your life?
© 2021 Nick Zaccardi