GodReflection: It’s a Boy—We Worship the Gift Baby
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 (Luke 2:22). Levitical law set that time for forty days after the birth. The trip from Bethlehem to Jerusalem was just over six miles.
As poor folks they fell among those who could present to the priest “a pair of doves or two young pigeons” rather than a lamb. [The thought occurs to me they did no less than present to the priest the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Most likely at this point they had not seen Jesus as lamb.]
When they arrive at the temple Luke doesn’t mention the priest or the purification ceremony. The focus is on the significance of God’s baby as testified by two elderly people in the temple courts.
Old Simon not only received a message from God that he would see the Messiah but if he would immediately get to the temple courts the Messiah would be there.
When this righteous man of God saw the baby, he could not resist. He took him into his arms. Simon held the infant Jesus and prophetic words began to flow:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).
The court visit continues. Even after they had heard from the angel Gabriel they still marveled as old Simon addressed Mary:
“This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
And, if that wasn’t enough, Luke describes another senior citizen. He describes her as very old. Anna was a prophet who never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.
It sounds like she was a temple staple for over fifty years. Every Jew in Jerusalem or for that matter every Jew in the nation must have seen her there.
She overheard old Simon. As he spoke, she breaks into the little group. Her listening skills sharpened over a lifetime night and day, fasting and praying worship of Almighty God allowed her to recognized a message from the Holy.
Luke tells us:
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 (Luke 2:38).
Ok, when I look into the events that surround the birth of the gift baby, I need to ask, how am I to respond?
As years start to turn into multiple decades Simon’s words grow in significance. Once we’ve encountered Light our eyes too have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations. There comes a time when we understand more intensely, you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
My prayer for you is identical to my prayer for me.
Deep down in my soul I want to have the priority of Simon. I want my faith in Your salvation through Jesus to grow. The more I reach clarity and trust the easier it will become to trust you to dismiss me from this world in peace.
And give me the boldness of Anna. From the power of genuine thankfulness for salvation through the gift baby, help me do better to speak about the child to all who like me need redemption.
In the name of the Messiah Child,
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: Elderly Folks Admire and Worship