The Gospel of Luke

This devotional is written by Eric Rindal. Eric is from a small American town, likes his film camera and travelling, is a student, and calls London home.

Luke 2:22-40

Jesus Presented in the Temple

22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel."

33 The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."

36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.

Reflection

Imagine your truest identity being revealed right from the beginning of your life.

Revealed by the Spirit moving within someone and spoken over you. Declaring your uniqueness in a way that travels well beyond the way you look, where you're from, or what you believe about yourself An identity existing in a sacred, transcendent realm that is true to your foundation as a peacemaker, a mountain mover, a compassionate healer, or a creator and revealer of beauty.

Identities declared, defined, and constructed by people, declared by society, declared by us, can be deconstructed by people, criticized by society, shattered by us.

With this in mind, here comes Joseph and Mary to the temple in Jerusalem for the rituals set out by Moses for newborns.

There's this man Simeon in conversation with God, in tune with the Spirit, and promised he would see the one sent by God. Moved by the Spirit, Simeon takes Jesus in his arms and declares he is a light and joy for all. This little boy's "destiny" is to be a figure who will reveal our deepest convictions that pierce our soul. Yet he will be both misunderstood and controversial. He knows Jesus is a radical peacemaker, one to reveal light, implore love, and call for humility.
Then there is the prophet, Anna, who spent decades worshiping day and night. In that moment when Simeon is talking, Anna approaches and starts speaking "about the child" – inspired by the Spirit, joining in and declaring his true identity, one who offers restoration of self and revelation to the attributes of God.

It may be worth asking the Spirit, "who do you say I am?" and "what do you want me to do?" So, what do you hear? Also, pay attention for Simeons and Annas, they're moved when they see you.

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