Devotional #4 (10/15/12). Jesus is born and dedicated.
Intro: Last week we saw Zacharias praise God as Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist.
This Week’s Reading: Luke 2:1-24.
vv. 1-3. We’re told who the ruler (“Caesar Augustus”) and the governor (“Quirinius”) were of Syria. This gives us a specific place in history to look at and the reason that Mary would travel when she was due to give birth.
vv. 4-6. Joseph and Mary were engaged and they had to report to Bethlehem for the census. This gives us the first of three places that the Old Testament prophesied Jesus would be from and live. The first is from Micah 5:2 where it says that He would be born in Bethlehem*.
v. 7. Jesus is born! Because there wasn’t enough room in a motel Joseph and Mary had to go out into the barn. Imagine how Joseph felt that he wasn’t providing for his wife in a time when she should be as comfortable as possible. Mary probably wanted a mid-wife or doctor to make sure everything was OK, but she didn’t get one. Jesus was born to poor parents in a poor place in a poor town.
vv. 8-14. The first people who were told that the Messiah was born were shepherds. Shepherds were poor, smelled bad and everyone looked down on them. But God chose for an angel to tell them because they would believe and because Jesus came for “all people” (v. 10) not just the rich. He tells them how to find Jesus (“wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger”) then there are thousands of angels all singing and praising God that Jesus has been born. It seems like the angels had been waiting for this time and were excited because they knew Jesus would give everyone the opportunity to be saved.
vv. 15-20. The shepherds did exactly what the angel had told them and went quickly (“with haste”) to find the Savior they had been waiting so long for. Notice in verse 17 that they told everyone about it. When we meet Jesus we are so excited that we run to Him quickly and tell everyone about it! It says that everyone “marveled” (in other words, they were amazed) possibly meaning that they were loud and excited but in verse 19 we see that Mary quietly thinks about these things. She was probably amazed that other people would show up having been told about Jesus by angels as she and Joseph had been.
v. 21. Read Leviticus 12:1-4. Here in Luke we see the beginning of how Jesus kept the Law perfectly. Notice until he was circumcised on the eighth day Mary would be considered unclean. It is confirmed that they did name Him Jesus just as was given by God through the angel.
NOTE: Interestingly there are 32 days in-between these two verses (Lev. 12:4) so Jesus would have been about a month old by the time of verse 22.
vv. 22-24. By the note directly above this would have been the first time that Mary would have been able to enter the temple. Imagine not being able to go to church for a month and looking forward to bringing your baby, the Savior of the universe there. So they give a sacrifice to dedicate Jesus to be considered holy before God. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus did not need to do this ritual since He is God and therefore holy but because it was commanded by God for men to do, He did it. He has done everything like us, being tempted in every way that we have but never sinning (Hebrews 4:15).
Summary: We have seen that Jesus was born to a poor family in a poor area showing that although He is God He really humbled himself coming to earth. God uses angels (supernatural beings) and shepherds (just men) to proclaim His good news to men, that they can be saved from the bad things they have done if they believe in Jesus. Jesus kept all of the rules and died for our sins so we wouldn’t have to!
*The other two are: in Hosea 11:1 that He would live in Egypt (“And out of Egypt I called My son”) and in Isaiah 9:1-2, that He would live in Galilee.