Devotional #5 (10/22/12). Simeon, Anna and Jesus teaches at twelve.
Intro: Last week Jesus was born and the news was told to shepherds by angels. Jesus was also brought to the temple for ceremonial dedication to the Lord.
This Week’s Reading: Luke 2:25-51.
vv. 25-26. Here we are introduced to Simeon who was a man that the Holy Spirit “was upon.” This meant that God used Simeon and had showed him that he wouldn’t die until he got to see the Messiah that everyone had waited to see for so long.
vv. 27-32. Simeon is led by the Holy Spirit to meet up with Mary and Joseph and blesses Jesus. Verses 29-32 is Simeon praising God for keeping His word that Simeon would see Jesus born. Verse 32 is especially interesting (as we’ll see in the next section) because both Israel (God’s chosen people) and Gentiles (everybody else) are mentioned as being saved by Jesus.
vv. 33-35. As mentioned above, verse 32 is important here because it says that Joseph and Mary “marveled” at what Simeon said. Why were they amazed and surprised? Because the Gentiles were included in this prophecy of who Jesus would reach. There are other Old Testament places where Gentiles living in darkness would be given light by Jesus (Isaiah 42:6 & Amos 9:11-12, to name a few) but it wasn’t commonly taught in Mary and Joseph’s time. The cool thing to see is that regardless of who knows or remembers what God promised He always keeps His promises…which most of the time surprise us!
Then Simeon blesses Mary and Joseph and prophesizes about Mary. As J. Vernon McGee puts it “Mary paid a tremendous price to bring the Saviour into the world. She paid an awful price to stand beneath the cross of the Lord Jesus and watch Him die” (Source 1).
vv. 36-39. Now we meet eighty-four year old Anna who had been married for seven years but after her husband’s death went and lived at the temple. Since she never left she was probably allowed to live in one of the rooms for the priests because she was a “prophetess” (Source 2).
NOTE: Here Luke doesn’t include the story of the wise men who visited Jesus but you can read about it in Matthew chapter 2. It is thought Jesus was probably around two years old when the wise men visited.
vv. 40-41. Here we’re told that Jesus grew up but not just a normal childhood. Think about what it would have been like to be sinless, we see that as He grew older the human side began to know the things that the spiritual side of Him had known for all time. It also mentions that like most practicing Hebrews Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover every year. The story of Passover can be read in Exodus 12:1-32.
vv. 42-45. Jesus being twelve is important because he was considered a man at this time, even now when an Israeli boy turns thirteen they have a bar-mitzvah (for more see Source 3). So the family traveled to Jerusalem as had been their custom and after the celebration ended Jesus stayed back. Mary and Joseph were traveling with a lot of family and friends and they didn’t realize He was left behind until later that night. So they turn around and go back for Him and find Him in the temple.
vv. 46-50. Jesus was asking questions of the priests and listening to them. He was not disrespectful but it was very obvious that He was special (because everyone was “astonished at His understanding”). Mary asks why Jesus hung back because they were worried. Jesus’s response is that He was about “[His] Father’s business”. This means as God the Son He was doing God the Father’s will. This also shows that Jesus stayed behind on purpose, it wasn’t like he was a lost kid in a mall but he took care of himself for three days (v. 46). But no one understood what He meant when He said He was doing God’s business.
vv. 51-52. It says Jesus “was subject to” his parents, which means he listened to His mom and dad and went back home with them. Then we see He kept growing and “increased…in favor with God and men.” Earlier I was thinking that Jesus was probably disliked by some kids since He was perfect but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The character of Jesus that we see later in His life and the love that God displays was very obvious to everyone around Him. He loved them and more and more people enjoyed being around Him. And all of this pleased God the Father.
Summary: We got to hear about some cool elderly prophets who got to see baby Jesus. As Jesus grew up we learned that Jesus went to Jerusalem and ended up teaching and learning in the temple. We can take away a lot from this but it is important to understand Jesus never messed up, never had a bad thought or lied. But he was not super-religious and making a big deal about it but instead loved everyone equally. God came in flesh and lived with us being perfect, since that was the only way He could save us, and if that didn’t show His love enough He spent His days on earth loving people all the time!
Source 1: J. Vernon McGee, Luke, p. 39.
Source 2: MacArthur, MacArthur Study Bible, p. 1516.
Source 3: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar_mitzvah