Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Birth of Jesus Christ {Luke 2:7-37}

Born in a Manger
Christ was born in a stable, a place where animals were kept. The stable was probably a cave and the manger a feeding trough for animals. The birth of the Savior, the greatest event in all history, occurred in the most humble of circumstances. Jesus was the King of kings, but he was neither born nor did he live like a king in this life. God’s people are kings and priests, but in this life we must be as he was humble and simple.

A Savior… Christ the Lord
At his birth Jesus is called “a Savior” and it has several implications, (1). As Savior, he has come to deliver us from sin, Satan’s domain, the ungodly world, fear, death and the condemnation of our transgressions (cf. Mt.1:21). (2). The Savior is also “Christ the Lord” who has been anointed as the Messiah of God and the Lord who rules over his people (cf. Mt.1:1). No person can have Jesus as Savior while not submitting to his Lordship.

They Present Jesus To the Lord
As Joseph and Mary presented Jesus to the Lord, so all parents should sincerely consecrate their children to the Lord. They should pray constantly that from the beginning to the end of each child’s life, he or she will be found doing the Lord’s will, serving and glorifying God with complete devotion.

The offering of a pair of doves indicates that Joseph and Mary were from common people, probably poor (Lev.12:8). From Jesus’ birth onward he identified with the poor and underprivileged (9:58, Mt.8:20, Rev.2:9).

Simeon Was Righteous and Devout
The word (s) “righteous” or “upright” (cf.1:6) translates the Greek word dikaios (Heb. yasher), meaning “straight”. In the OT this word did not mean mere conformity to the commandments, but indicated a person was right with God both in heart and in action (cf. Ps.32:2). (1). The righteousness that God sought in the OT was one that came from the heart, based on true faith in, love for and fear of God (Deut.4:10, 29, 5:29). This condition of the heart was seen in the parents of John the Baptist, who observed “all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly” (1:6, cf. Gen.7:1, 17:1, 1King.9:4 here the term includes ‘integrity of heart’). Simeon manifested the same characteristic in his life. (2). OT righteous persons were not perfect. When sin entered their lives they obtained forgiveness by presenting an animal sacrifice to God in an attitude of sincere repentance and faith (Lev.4:27-35).

Simeon Was Waiting For the Consolation
In a time of lukewarm spiritual conditions, righteous Simeon was devoted to God and filled with the Holy Spirit, waiting in faith, patience and great longing for the coming of the Messiah. Likewise, at the end times when there is widespread lukewarm-ness and many depart from the NT apostolic faith and the blessed hope for the coming of Christ (Tit.2:13), there will always be the faithful Simeons.
Others may place their hope in this life and this world, but the faithful will be like the loyal slave who keeps watch through the long, dark night, waiting for the return of his master (Mt.24:45-47). Our greatest blessing is to see face to face “Christ the Lord” (v.26, cf. Rev.22:4), to be ready when he comes and to live forever in his presence (Rev.21-22).

In 2:25, the Bible says, “Holy Spirit was upon him (Simeon)” and this is one of the most challenging and inspiring verses for us in this chapter. Because, at the dawning of the Messianic era, there was a new activity of angels (1:11,19,26), an increased presence and prophetic activity of the Holy Spirit (vv.26-27,36, cf.1:15-16,35,41,67,76, 3:21-22, 4:1,14,18), and the atmosphere of Judea, Galilee and surrounding territory was charged with spiritual awakening (3:1-20, 4:14-15, 36-37).

A Prophetess Anna Worshipped Night and Day
Anna was a prophetess who earnestly hoped for the coming of Christ. She remained a widow for many years, never remarrying, but devoting herself to the Lord with “fasting and praying” night and day, she never left the Temple! (cf. v.37).

The Bible teaches us that the unmarried states can be a greater blessing than the married. Paul states that the unmarried have great opportunity to be concerned about the things of the Lord, how to please him and give him undistracted devotion (cf. 1 Cor.7:32-35). 



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