Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday, May 6 - by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Sam 13-14, Psalm 90, Acts 1
Today's scripture focus is Luke 2:21-24

Luke 2:21-24

English Standard Version (ESV)
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.

Jesus Presented at the Temple

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.”

God became man. It is infinitely difficult to wrap our heads around this concept. He grew in a womb, he was born, he did all things babies do. The bible says "at the end of eight days...he was circumcised and he was called Jesus." He was named and circumcised--just like other human babies and yet he was no ordinary baby. This baby would be our Saviour.

Now who was this baby?

MacArthur says:

But what we see here from verse 21 to verse 40 is drama at its highest level. It is impactful. It is critical, essential testimony to the identity of Jesus Christ.
There is a principle that is woven into the fabric of our lives. And it starts out in the Bible back in Deuteronomy and it's this principle, any testimony should be confirmed in the mouth of two or three witnesses. Even today in the jurisprudence of western civilization, a story corroborated by two or three witnesses is considered to be credible and believable and true. That goes back to that biblical affirmation, that testimony had to be confirmed in the mouth of two or three witnesses. And the testimony of Luke has been that Jesus has been born "Son of God, Son of Man, Son of Abraham, Son of David." The testimony has been born that Jesus came into the world as a child of a virgin, having no human father, being fathered by God Himself through the power of the Holy Spirit, being planted in Mary's womb without a human father, thus the child born of a virgin. And Luke has given testimony to the fact that this child is God in human flesh, that this child is the eternal King who will reign on the throne forever and ever, that this child is the Savior of the world. This is the child who will save people from their sins. This is the singular and the greatest child ever to be born in the history of the universe.
Mary and Joseph were chosen to be the early parents to the "greatest child ever to be born in the history of the universe"--talk about pressure. Sometimes I can struggle to be a mom to my kids but can you imagine being the mother of a child that would ultimately save mankind from death? Wow.

So what do we know about Mary and Joseph?

MacArthur says:

First of all, we find that Joseph and Mary were righteous and the evidence of that comes because it is said of Joseph that he was righteous, Matthew 1:19. And secondly, we know that Mary was righteous because of what came out of her mouth in chapter 1 verse 46, she said, "My soul exalts the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God, my Savior." God was her Savior. She too was a righteous girl.
Their commitment to God, the devotion of their lives is indicated...let me show you how it's indicated. It tells us in verse 21 here that they circumcised Jesus. Now that according to the law...that according to the law of God. They followed the law. It tells us in verse 22 that according to the law of Moses they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord...I should say, according to the law of Moses she had her purification, it says in the beginning of the verse, "When the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem." Verse 23 says, "It is written in the law of the Lord, every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord." Verse 24 says, "To offer sacrifice according to what was said in the law of the Lord." Down in verse 27 it says, "When the parents brought in the child Jesus to carry out for Him the custom of the law," again the law of the Lord, verse 39 says, "When they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own city of Nazareth." Five times it mentions that they were committed to the law of the Lord.
You know, James, I guess, has a good insight into this. James says, "Faith without works is...what? dead." And true saving faith shows up in obedience. And these people were obedient. They were compliant with the law of the Lord. They delighted in the law of the Lord and they did the will of the Lord, as revealed in His law.
So here is a righteous young couple. They're just...they're just kids by our definition, but they were righteous before God. They were saved. Their sins had been forgiven and they were devout and they were committed to the obedience of the law of God as an expression of their love and their worship toward God. 

How did Mary and Joseph demonstrate their devotion to God?

Five times, as I mentioned earlier, the law of the Lord is mentioned in reference to the behavior of Joseph and Mary. Their devotion to obey the will of God is clear. They wanted to do what God had revealed for them to do and they did it with joy and faithfulness. The whole passage really features their dedication, it features their obedience. And as I said, in Luke's continuing effort to mold the readers' understanding of who Christ is, he shapes his narrative around the testimony of these uniquely righteous people. And, first of all, Jesus' earthly family lead out in giving testimony.
Now they give testimony to the identity of the child as the Messiah and Savior of the world in two ways. One, at the circumcision and naming. Two, at the purification and presenting. We're going to see the circumcision and naming in verse 21, the purification and presenting in verses 22 to 24. These two ways become testimony from Joseph and Mary and validates the claim that this is the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of the world.

Mary and Joseph obeyed God fully and without question.

Now the question could be asked...but why circumcise Jesus because He didn't need His heart cleansed? That's right, He was holy, harmless and undefiled and separate from sinners, it says in Hebrews. He didn't need His heart cleansed from sin. He was sinless. He was numbered with the transgressors, it says in Isaiah 53:9, even though there was no deceit found in His mouth.
In fact, when He died on the cross He was bruised for OUR iniquities, punished for OUR transgressions. He is called in 2 Corinthians 5:21, "Him who knew no sin." He is absolutely sinless. So why was He being circumcised?
There's one answer, very good answer. Because that's what the Law of God required. And Galatians 4:4 says, Paul writing, "Jesus was born of a woman, born under the Law." Whatever the Law of God prescribed in the covenant at that time, He would do.
....His parents came the eighth day and they had Him circumcised. And I'm sure God prompted their hearts to do that and the reason was because Jesus was born under the Law and Jesus was going to obey every aspect of God's Law whether He obeyed it as a baby passively or whether He obeyed as an adult actively when He went to the river Jordan and He said to John, "You need to baptize Me." And John said, "I don't need to baptize You, You've got to be kidding me. You need to baptize me." And John was saying...You don't need cleansing so why the symbol? And Jesus responded in Matthew 3:15 and said, "I must fulfill all righteousness." Whatever the law requires, I do that...I do that. 

Sometimes we might feel that we are given a difficult role in our life. Maybe a hard situation we find ourselves in. Maybe a nagging to go above and beyond for someone. Whatever our situation, God already knows. We just need to lean on Him and on His word to know what to do and to practice obedience to Him. We know that Mary and Joseph had the difficult job to be the parents of a perfect child who would grow up to do something extraordinary and yet they are shown to be ordinary people just following the will of God fully. What might God do in our lives if we did the same?

Tomorrow's scripture focusLuke 2:25-30
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Sam 15-15, Psalm 91, Acts 2


LaughingLady said...

Ah, obedience and humble submission... such foreign concepts!! And so very contrary to our sinful, human natures!

TammyIsBlessed said...

I cannot even imagine the pressure of parenting the baby/child/young man that you know is God!

What a beautiful picture of faithful obedience.