Day 26

Jesus Presented in the Temple

from the Advent 2019: A Thrill of Hope reading plan

Luke 2:21-40, Leviticus 12:6-8, John 19:25-27

Most parents think their children are special, at least to some degree or another. We see glimpses of unique talent or gifting in them, even though we may lack the perspective of seeing how they truly compare with their peers. There is no shortage of parents who believe their child to be the smartest, the most talented, or strongest child the world has ever seen. We may think our kid stands above the rest, but we only know that to be true when someone else affirms what we already see.

Both Mary and Joseph knew Jesus was unique. The angelic visions, the miraculous conception, and even the late-night visit by a ragtag group of shepherds, all reaffirmed to them that something was truly special about this little baby. But the realization of the uniqueness of Jesus may not have fully set in for them until a week later.

It was at the temple, as they were presenting Jesus as their firstborn to the Lord, that two aged saints came and called out the uniqueness of Jesus to His parents and anyone else who would listen. Both Simeon and Anna had waited with hope to see the promised Savior. They were both rewarded for their faith by seeing their God’s plan for salvation in the flesh, and they both praised God for His faithfulness (Luke 2:25–38). The absolute uniqueness of Jesus and the clarity of His mission were coming into focus.

Our capacity to understand who Jesus is must be informed by these voices. Simeon and Anna are not just random old people babbling on about what they don’t really comprehend. Mary and Joseph aren’t doting parents who carry a gilded perspective of their firstborn son. These voices raise the expectation that we will follow them in worshipping and adoring the Redeemer. They tell us to wait in hope for our faith to be made sight as they also waited.

The thrill of hope that Advent brings must not conclude with the last gift opened on Christmas day, but must be a movement of life in which waiting and worship flourish through the remaining days of our lives. Christmas invites us to meet Jesus the Savior. The temple presentation we read about today calls us to worship Jesus as our salvation.

The question Simeon and Anna ask stands: Have you seen in Jesus your only salvation? Have you recognized your need for Him? Have you contemplated His coming “for us and our salvation,” laying down His life on the cross, and taking up His life again in the resurrection to secure the hope of eternal life for you? The search for satisfaction and security conclude only in Jesus. Do you see Him as utterly unique among all others? If you do, then worshipping and waiting on Jesus will be the daily routine of your life.

Written by Jeremy Writebol

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