A Brief Note
I want to express my thanks and gratitude to all of you who read my comments over God’s word. And I am pleased to announce that yesterday marked the highest site views since I started this endeavour. And to you, precious reader, I express my thanks. My prayer is that my meager efforts help you see God clearer in your life and that your understanding of his word is enhanced. Also, feel free to leave a comment and let me know who is reading this thing.
As commanded by the angel, Jesus’ parents name him Jesus. On the eighth day, as was custom, he is circumcised, distinctly marking him as a covenant child of God. Jews were born into covenant; we are taught to enter covenant and we do that through baptism (see Col 2.11-12). Having done this, they take him to the temple that they might sacrifice the necessarily sacifice for their purification and present Jesus to the Lord. By their offering, we know they were not very rich people: the poor person’s offering was a pair of doves or two young pigeons (see Lev 12.8). Since they could not afford a lamb for Mary’s sacrifice, they brought some birds.
Someone may ask, “Well, where is all the money from those rich gifts brought to them by the wise men?” First, it should be noted that what Luke is recording here happened within 33 days of Jesus’ birth (Again, see Lev 12.3). Second, keep in mind that it took some time for the Magi to find Jesus after following the star in the sky and receiving instructions from Herod. Third, also remember that it was only after the birth of Jesus that Magi started headed Jesus’ direction (see Matt 2.1). Fourth, the time of the appearing of the Magi was not until Jesus was a “child” (Matt 2.11), implying Jesus has grown from being a baby (when he is presented at the temple).
Someone else may say, “Well, where did all the wealth go that he did get?” Remember that Joseph and Mary had to flee to Egypt (Matt 2.13ff). No doubt the funds received by the Magi were used to finance this trip.
Most people say the Simeon was an old man, but as far as I know his age is not revealed in Scripture. However, the Holy Spirit has revealed to him that he was not to die until he had seen “the consolation of Israel.” Also, based on the language of his prayer it can be implied that he was an old man. What we do know was he was righteous and devout, and he was apparently a person who was full of the Spirit: the Holy Spirit reveals things to him and it moves him to enter the temple court. But when his eyes fall upon the baby Jesus, he knows who he looks at and prays a prayer to God Almighty concerning the child.
In the prayer, he expresses he is ready to go having met the Lord. Truly, that is the spirit every Christian should have. We have seen the Lord and have received the promise (the Holy Spirit, Acts 2.38). At any time, we are ready to be dismissed. More than that, just as Simeon has seen salvation, we have experienced it. As Christians, we are saved from sin, death, and hell. Indeed, the light has shone on Gentiles and salvation is for all men.
Mary and Joseph are stunned; like so many people in the book of Luke, they are blown away at the words and actions they have seen. Simeon, before stepping out of history, blesses both of them and then says something to Mary. He prophesies to her that Jesus will cause the rising (used elsewhere in the NT for resurrection) and falling of many. Perhaps this is prophetic of Jesus’ power to act as judge. But notice that Jesus will reveal the thoughts of many hearts. That is the idea of the “light of the world.” His light shines in the darkness and shows men’s deeds for what they are, either good or evil. What do you think of Jesus? I can tell you that he knows what is in you heart of hearts concerning him.
Finally, Simeon says that a sword will pierce Mary’s soul. Most commentators say this is the death of Jesus. His death will impact her greatly, as it would any mother. As Leon Morris writes, “His suffering will not leave her untouched. Simeon’s final words point to the revelatory function of Jesus’ work. People declare themselves by their attitude to him. We cannot ultimately be neutral. When people see Christ suffer, their reaction shows on which side they stand.”