2:22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
2:23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”),
2:24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
2:25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him.
2:26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
2:27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law,
2:28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
2:29 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word;
2:30 for my eyes have seen your salvation,
2:31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
2:32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
2:33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him.
2:34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed
2:35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed–and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
2:36 There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phan-u-el, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,
2:37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day.
2:38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
2:39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
2:40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
In the name the Father, the Son, and the Holly Spirit, I welcome you who are physical present with us, those joining us live through Facebook, and those who may be viewing this as pre-recorded.
Regardless of our place or time we are gathered to celebrate those events that began over 2,000 years ago and continue still today.
Please join with me in prayer.
Lord, as you guided Simeon by your spirit to seek out Jesus, the Messiah, guide us also.
As we look backward on events to which he looked forward in trust and faith, Grant us the awareness of the depth of importance to us personally and to all generations.
Grant us also the same spirit that drove Anna to praise God and to speak about Jesus to all who are needing redemption.
And as always, Lord, no matter the words I speak, let them hear your message.
In the most Holy of names we pray. Amen.
Sermon: ONE DAY IN THE TEMPLE
Wow! There is a lot of things going on in our gospel teaching.
Perhaps it will help to understand why Joseph and Mary brought the infant Jesus to the temple on that day.
Now one of the reasons NOT mentioned in the scriptures was the same reason WE bring OUR newborns to church. To show off this precious child, more beautiful than any other baby. Right mom? Right Grandma?
Fortunately for me, my two boys and two girls looked EXACTLY the same as newborns, because — well because you can’t improve I perfection.
So I’m sure that this was also in the minds of the Holy Family as they came to present the child.
But they were also obeying the law of Moses. It was after the time for their purification
This it’s the teaching portion of the sermon. There might by a test at the end, so pay attention.
Jesus was circumcised on the 8th day.
I just saw a “cringe” on the faces of several men in the sanctuary.
The purpose of the ceremony of circumcision, which is an offering of blood, is to seal the covenant with the Almighty in the flesh so that it may never be violated.
So sacred is this act that the child is not counted an Israelite until after the ceremony. It is during the ceremony that he is officially given his name.
Much like, through the sacrament of baptism,
God’s Spirit initiates us into Christ’s holy church,
And the pastor invites the congregation to welcome the newly baptised by name.
Now concerning Mary.
From LEVITICUS 12:2-4
If a woman gives birth to a son, she will be unclean for seven days. For thirty-three days the mother will be in a state of blood purification. She must not touch anything holy or enter the sacred area until her time of purification is completed.
Question one is a math problem. If she is unclean for 7 days and then in a state of purification for 33, how long did the holy family have to wait before coming to the Temple?
It is customary for the mother to come to the synagogue on the Sabbath after her 40 days when she has regained her strength.
So now we understand why it was said, when the fullness of time had come.
There was still one more ceremony to be observed. Jesus, the redeemer, had to be redeemed. This was the reason they were in the temple that day.
As a sign and remembrance of the Passover in Egypt when the lives of all Egyptian first born males died and the first born males of the Israelites were spared by the sprinkling of blood on the door posts.
Since that time, all first born males belong to God.
You will remember, in the old testament, Hannah brought Samuel, once he was weened to the LORD’S house to be dedicated to the LORD for his whole life.
The parents could redeem, that is “by back” their sons by an offering of silver coins to the temple. If a family, like Joseph and Mary, could not afford the silver, (the Magi had not yet arrived with gold, frankincense, and myrrh) anyway, for the poor, an offering of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons was made.
Do you now understand how important this trip to the temple was to Joseph and Mary?
Q. Why were they in the temple that day?
To redeem Jesus. I would also have given a ½ point for, to show off the baby.
They, as faithful Jews, expected and had made plans for the redemption of their first born Son.
In the last 40 days they had assumedly found a home (perhaps with relatives) in Bethlehem. Performed the circumcision on the 8th day. And Mary had gone through the purification required.
They had brought the sacrificial doves to redeem their son. Every thing was going as expected.
And then — and then along came Simeon, who grabbed the baby from their hands and started a prophetic message.
You parents out there, do you remember how fragile your first born child seemed? Imagine some stranger taking that baby and saying, “Now, Lord, you are allowing your servant to leave in peace as you promised.”
I can imagine Joseph saying, “Now hold on, bub, you’re not leaving with my baby.”
Then Simeon say, “Joe, you have to understand that the Lord told me that in my lifetime the Messiah would be born, and your son is the salvation for everyone, for every nation, even a light of revelation to the Gentiles! I have waited a long time to see him with my own eyes.”
Then Anna, a prophetess of advanced age, at that moment, came and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
Wow, things sure took a dramatic turn into the unexpected. I can almost hear Rod Sterling’s voice, “You are traveling through another dimension, your next stop, the Twilight Zone!” Do do dodo dodo dodo!
I know done of you are way to young to remember the old tv show, “The Twilight Zone.”
But each episode began with, “This is a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination.”
So imagine with me for a moment, that you are in that time and that place. You are Mary or Joseph. What is going through your mind as you are confronted by these strangers? And strange they must have seemed.
Your mind races back to the angel visiting you, Mary. Or the Lord visiting you, Joseph, in a dream. The two of you sitting down and discussing among your selves these strange and wonderful visitations. What does it all mean? As usual, the Lord does not fill in all the details for you. You must go forward in faith.
Over the next months, your mind revisits those moments, but they seem to grow a little dimmer as you busy yourself with the things of everyday life, earning a living, preparing the house for the coming child, and then the command of the Roman occupiers of your land that you are required to make a 90 mile trek to Bethlehem, because some emporer in a far off land demands it.
Grumble, grumble, explicative, explicative!!!
You arrive in Bethlehem, which is already overcrowded with other unhappy and weary travelers who also are venting their frustration and anger over this census and the already heavy taxes.
You are not terribly surprised to find that the Motel 6, Travel Lodge, and Marriott are filled with people, some even sleeping on couches in the lobby. But in the stable behind the Budget Inn you find a corner with some relatively clean straw.
And the baby comes: no hospital, no doctor, and no midwife. Just two first time parents who are feeling completely lost, confused, and inexperienced. But you make it through the birth and cleanup as best you can. At last they can rest.
Nope! Not just yet. Enter a crowd of shepherds.
If the atmosphere in the stable was not – um – fragrant enough, with animals, 2 hot sweaty humans and the odors associated with birth, here arrive dirty unshaven men reeking of sheep.
They are so excited and talking over each other trying to tell of being visited by an army of angels.
But those months have past and here you are in the temple with Simeon and Anna making amazing declarations and predictions about your child.
What are you parents feeling? Confused, excited, overwhelmed?
Remember, Mary and Joe don’t yet know about the coming visit of the wisemen or running for their lives to Egypt.
Take a deep breath and think, were their lives really that much different than your own? Sure, you are not tasked with raising the Christ child, but haven’t you, aren’t you, or won’t you be raising each child without knowing what terrifying, wonderful, and amazing thing is going to happen next?
Aren’t all of our lives filled with work, worry, stress, and anxiety?
Not so surprisingly, parent or not parent you have those same unknowns. Jesus is saying follow me. He’s even willing and desiring to be hitched together with you, to do the heavy lifting. His yoke is easy and makes the burden light.
We aren’t given the road map of our lives. We move forward one fearful, hesitant, brave, joyful, and faithful step at a time.
🎶Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand🎶 – Songwriters: Ira F. Stanphill
If you have believed in your heart and declared with your lips that Jesus is Lord of your life, then you know the destination even if you can’t see through the mists of time to where that next step will take you.
God has many mansions, one of them has your name on it.
So rest assured that Jesus knows the way home,
and he holds your hands.
There is a sign post up ahead. Your next stop the kingdom of God.
Before we close this service, we’re going to pray for your concerns, join in praise for your joys, and sing a song of invitation.
During that song, if you feel the spirit whispering that NOW is the time for YOU to accept Jesus as your guide through life, maybe for the first time or perhaps to rededicate your life, to get back on that path toward home, please come forward during the singing. If you are already a child of God and would like to make Cross Tracks your Church home come forward then also. Or if you just need someone to pray with you, I’ll be glad to do that also.
As we go forth, young men and women alike, older men and women, older and young together!
Let us praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up the Messiah for his people.
Praise for all his faithful, for God’s people, who are close to him. Praise the LORD!
For while we were yet sinners, God sent his son, the redeemer, so that all people, who believe, might be saved. He is a light of revelation to the Gentiles and a glory to the children of Israel.
Go in the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. Speak about the savior to all who are looking for release from the shackles of sin. Amen. Go!