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Dedication of Jesus

Advent 2019  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  36:17
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Jesus is proclaimed as teh anointed one for all peoples.

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Introduction:

Was Jesus a Refugee?
Some of you have heard of the church that placed a display of Joseph, Mary and Jesus within chainlink fences to co-opt the nativity as a political statement.
After leaving my phone on the nightstand on Christmas, when I glanced at Twitter on Thursday, I saw dozens of tweets about if Jesus was/was not a refugee.
Basically, the argument came down to Luke vs. Matthew—Bethlehem was not a refuge situation, it was just another city within the same country. Egypt was a refugee circumstance because, although Egypt and Israel were both under Roman rule, Egypt was a distant land in order to take refuge from a political dictator.
I’m not going to answer that debate for you this morning. Because in my opinion, both sides were ignoring the abundance of Old Testament passages (e.g. Ruth) that command compassion and care for the sojourner among the people of God. And neither side convinced me that any 1 Scripture provides an open and shut case for open or secure borders in 2020. One must ask “What else has God said about this subject?” (What Bible teachers call correlation) before forming an opinion.
Transition: Now that I’ve just interrupted your peaceful Sunday dinner with a debate subject regarding Egypt, I would like to focus our thoughts today around the baby Jesus in Jerusalem. The main thrust of today’s message is not the question, “to what Kingdom does Christ belong?” but the declaration that “Jesus is the Anointed one for all peoples!

Two Events separated by 5 weeks (Lk 1:21-24)

Circumcision & Naming (v.21)

Luke 2:21 ESV:2016
21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
1. This was a local family event that did not require a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
2. Circumcision identified the boy’s identity within the covenant community.
3. Naming revealed the boy’s identity from the perspective of the parents as to their dreams for the child.

Purification & Community (v.22-24)

Luke 2:22–24 ESV:2016
22 And 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 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”
1. This was a Temple event that required a sacrifice and a priest.
2. Today’s text concludes where this series began 5-weeks ago, in the Temple. While the series began in the Holy place as Zechariah was offering incense and prayers, it concludes in the outer court where women were permitted to gather.
3. Their - the 1st ceremony in today’s text relates to Jesus and the 2nd ceremony regards Mary. Exodus 13 starts the practice following the “Death angel” passing through Egypt and only speaks of the first-born male. Numbers 18 would further specify that if parents wished to keep a child that belonged to the Lord, they could redeem the child with 5 shekels of silver. Since there is no mention of the redemption price in Luke’s account, it is reasonable to conclude that Jesus was dedicated to the Lord’s service, similar to Samuel in 1 Samuel 1-2.
4. Leviticus 12 gives more specifics about timing and offerings and relates to all pregnancies. After birthing a male child a mother would wait 7 days then circumcise the son, then wait 5 more weeks before being deemed ceremonially able to participate in the temple activities. For a daughter, the waiting period was a little over 9 weeks.
5. Normal offering was a lamb for the burnt offering and a bird for the sin offering. Those who could not afford a lamb could offer 2 birds.
Even in the most sacred sacrificial system of the Lord, concession was made for those who are poor so that they can participate in the faith community. Apparently, Joseph and Mary fell into this lower economic group.

What about Magi & Egypt? (v.39-40)

I have become convinced that the visit of the Magi and the flight to Egypt (Mt 2) happen between vv.39 and 40 of Luke’s account.
a. Time it would take to travel from “the East”
b. Herod consulted with his advisors who indicate the baby was to be born in Bethlehem and that is where he sent the Magi. (MT 2:4-8)
c. Instead of following Herod’s order, they continued to follow the star (Mt 2:9-10)
d. Magi arrive at “the house” (Mt 2:11)
e. Herod’s edict for all boys under 2 years old.
Transition: Now that we’ve compared and correlated the infant accounts, let’s rejoin Simeon in the Temple.

Simeon and His Song (Luke 2:25-35)

Luke 2:25–35 ESV:2016
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

Righteous, Devout, Student of Scripture & Spirit-filled (v.25)

1. Simeon was socially upstanding.
2. “consolation of Israel” draws upon Isaiah’s prophecies that the Messiah would bring comfort. Last Sunday we spoke about the darkness and people longing for a change. When we are in darkness we also long for a sense of comfort.

Holding to a spiritual promise (v.26-28)

1. No detail is given as to how the Holy Spirit gave this particular promise to Simeon.
2. Luke uses the Greek Christ to describe the anointed (Hebrews Messiah) role of Jesus. Christ is not Jesus’s middle name. It is an adjective that describes Him as the anticipated and anointed one from God.
3. This promise prompted a strange interaction with Mary & Joseph. We don’t know if Simeon asked permission to hold the baby, or if he got grabby and Joseph is about to lay him out (in Jewish love). There was something about Jesus that caused Simeon to know the promise was fulfilled. Just as Mary’s voice caused something to happen in John while still in Elizabeth’s womb that she new was the Lord’s work.

A Song with 3 verses (vv.29-32)

1. V.1 – a promise fulfilled & a peaceful death (v.29)
· Jesus will cry out “It is finished”
· Paul will state “I’ve finished my course”
I’ve heard that some people fight death. But the experience where I have been present when a final breath was taken, have been marked by peaceful, resignation to God’s plan when one knows his or her task is complete.
2. V.2 – Salvation for all peoples (vv.30-31)
· Simeon so connects the person of Jesus with the work of God that he has absolute confidence and speaks as if God’s plan was already complete.
3. V.3 – Revelation for Gentiles, Glory for Jews (v.32)
· I see the light in v.32 a reference back to Zechariah’s song in 1:79
· As a general rule, Gentiles are unaware of God’s laws and promises so this light becomes new information.
· On the other hand, the prophets had been given to the Israelites so that Jesus becomes the glory for which they had waited.

Mary & Joseph Marvel (vv.33-35)

1. V.33 – Jesus is for “them” too.
· Who is your “them”? For Mary & Joseph, them was non-Jews. Is it those voters from the other party? Is it those people who are a generation before or after you? Is it people of “that” race or “that” religion? Is it the wealthy, or the poor?
2. Vv.34-35 – Even though Jesus is salvation for all peoples, He will be controversial.
· Some will align with Jesus and be lifted. Others will reject Him, and He will become a stumbling block to their way of life.
· Mary’s heart will break over the responses to Jesus.
If you ever doubt “mama-bear syndrome” just look at a mother whose child is ridiculed or bullied. A protective instinct kicks in whenever a mother sees her child endure injustice. On one hand she wants to make everything good, but on the other hand she knows she has to let her child work through this in a way that may cause great turmoil.
Transition: After Simeon’s words to Mary, he disappears, never to be heard from again. But a 2nd character appears in the Temple court.

Anna, An example of Anticipation (Luke 2:36-38)

Luke 2:36–38 ESV:2016
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

A devout Female Prophet (vv.36-37)

1. Just as Jesus was Christ for Gentile and Jew alike, God also used opposites to proclaim. Just as shepherds and Dignitaries worshipped alike, God uses men and women to serve as His ambassadors.
2. In Jewish tradition, seven women were mentioned as prophetesses: Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Huldah, and Esther.[i] –Darrell Bock
3. Luke will later write of females who prophecy in Acts 2:18 and describe 4 of Philip’s daughters as prophetesses (Acts 21:9)
4. In an era where few women were afforded an education and no women were permitted to learn from the rabbis, Luke highlights this woman’s example of godliness after being widowed and her testimony in the Temple. Anna’s consistency (did not depart) and endurance (night and day, until she was 84) reveal the depth of her devotion. The fact that she identified all who were waiting for the redemption of Israel indicates her hope/anticipation. In these first 2 chapters of Luke prominence has been given to Elizabeth, Mary, and now, Anna. This ought to embolden the ladies present this morning that you too can be used mightily by God.
5. Keep in mind that while women spoke for God, they were never included in the priesthood, nor included among the Apostles nor the role of Elders or Pastors. This leads me to believe that women can make huge contributions to the cause of Christ, and it does not make one a misogynist if he or she believes the genders complement each other.

Praise and Testimony (v.38)

1. While Simeon spoke directly to Jesus’ parents and sang what I presume was a public song, I notice that Anna’s praise is directed to God, then she begins telling all who were waiting for the Messiah.
2. I don’t have any hard evidence, and I may be totally wrong, but I get the sense that Simeon gave a public speech, but Anna began a series of personal conversations.
Transition: As Simeon and Anna anticipated the Messiah’s first coming and spread the word, I wonder, “Do we anticipate and spread the word of Jesus’ Return?”

Conclusion:

Here Luke presents the testimony of a prophet and a pious old woman...The double testimony comes as obedient parents dedicate their firstborn to the Lord. When the testimony of the man and the woman is placed alongside the testimony of the shepherds, one can see a triad of witnesses. They come from the country and from the city; they represent both male and female; they picture the common person of the field along with the pious saints of great devotion.[ii]
Jesus is proclaimed by diverse witnesses as the anointed one for all people!
Song of Response #452.... “Make Me a Blessing
Benediction: 2 Corinthians 2:15 (ESV) — For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
[i] Darrell L. Bock, Luke: 1:1–9:50, vol. 1, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1994), 251.
[ii] Ibid., 254.
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