Advent 2017: Joy to the World

Day 25: Jesus Presented in the Temple

Luke 2:21-40, Leviticus 12:1-8

 

Jesus entered the world born to a virgin named Mary in a town called Bethlehem. His own name literally means “God saves,” acting as a mission statement for His time here on earth. Jesus was the promised Messiah God’s people had been waiting for, though it’s likely they weren’t looking for Him to come in the form of a child—despite what the prophecies found in Scripture had told them.

But then angels appeared to wise men and shepherds and prophetesses, signaling that something truly amazing was coming to them. Four long centuries had passed between a seemingly silent and far off God and His people, but the cries of that baby piercing the quiet Bethlehem sky brought that silence to an end.

When Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple, they were doing so in keeping with the Torah’s command for a couple to present their firstborn son to the Lord. Being a poor family, Mary and Joseph opted to offer the sacrifice of either two turtledoves or two young pigeons, as the regular sacrifice of a lamb was too expensive for them (Luke 2:21-24). They couldn’t afford the more costly sacrifice on behalf of their son, but their baby boy, the Lamb of God, would one day offer Himself as a sacrifice for us all (John 1:29).

Upon entering Jerusalem that day, the young family of humble means encountered Simeon, a man who “was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation” (Luke 2:25). Led by the Holy Spirit, Simeon entered the temple, took the Christ child in his arms, and praised God for allowing him to see God’s plan for salvation with his own eyes (vv. 28-32).

According to Simeon’s prophecy over Jesus, salvation and judgment would come through Him—a confirmation of the message the angel had given them at His birth. Through this poor and humble family, God was bringing the good news of redemption to the world.

Though we are grateful for the signs and messages God sent to herald the way for the Messiah and proclaim His arrival, we don’t have to look for such signs today. Through faith in Jesus, we are given the Holy Spirit, who enables us to understand God’s Word (John 14:26). This season, may we look to Scripture and see His salvation in its pages (2 Timothy 3:15-17). It is His ultimate gospel message given to us. May we receive His promise of redemption and trust in the One sent to save us.

Written by Brandon D. Smith