Luke 2:21-39 This Child \\#34\\ Child is in italics, meaning it was added by the translators. Simeon simply said, "Behold, THIS is set for the fall and rising againÖ." Simeon was one of the first faced with that most difficult decision, "Exactly how does one refer to the Babe born in a manager?" Our translators inserted the word CHILD to help with our understanding. Another group of translators inserted the words HOLY ONE in their translation. The problem is that this One has many more names and even more descriptions. Notice some either used directly by this old prophet or implied in this text. I. He is the One born under the Law. A. We see several references to the Law in this text. 1. \\#22\\ "when the days of her (Maryís) purification ACCORDING TO THE LAW OF MOSESÖ" 2. \\#23\\ "(As it is written IN THE LAW OF THE LORDÖ.)" B. Paul describes Jesus and His relationship to the Law. Ga 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, MADE UNDER THE LAW, C. Why is Jesus referred to as One UNDER the Law? 1. Because Jesus was born under the rules of the orthodox Jewish Law. 2. These were the most stringent laws of conduct ever given to man. a. How do I know? b. Because God gave them and God requires perfection! c. You can not get any tougher than perfect! 3. How was Jesus under the Law? a. \\#21\\ Like all males in Israel and as this text is describing, Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day. Ge 17:12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. Le 12:3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. b. \\#24\\ At the same time, the appropriate sacrifices had to be offered. (1) While Luke only mentions one sacrifice being offered, the Law actually required TWO. Le 12:6 And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest: (2) This sacrifice Luke is noting is a SIN offering. Was a SIN SACRIFICE being offered for Jesus? (a) First, consider that God demanding a sin offering when a child was born does not mean that either the husband-wife relationship which produced a child or the birth of that child were sinful acts. (b) In fact, since both the physical relationship of marriage and the ability to reproduce were part of the pre-fall creation of man by God, neither of them would have anything to do with sin. (c) The requirement for a sin sacrifice goes back to the curse upon the woman at the fall. (d) Since the fall, part of the curse was that the child- bearing be painful. \\#Ge 3:16\\ That was Godís judgment upon sin. (e) So this event which was intended to be a most-blessed event now has an element of sin and judgment mingled with it. (f) God demanded a sin offering not because the conception and birth of a child were sinful but because the birth process itself was a JUDGMENT UPON SIN. (g) For that reason, the Jews were required that after the birth was over and the woman was able to do so, the family was to offer a sin offering in association with birth. (3) Interestingly. (a) We know that Jesus had no sin. (b) I also suppose that this Childís delivery produced no pain. (I have no reason for that except to reason and say there was no element of sin or the curse associated with Jesus.) (c) So that if there ever was a birth that should not have required a sin offering, this would have been it. (d) Yet, one was offered. (e) Why? Because Jesus was to keep every jot and title of the Lawóeven those elements which were not directly related to HIM. (f) That is why Jesus was baptized of Johnís baptism. (1) Not because He had anything to repent of. (2) But that every commandment of the Law and the Prophets would be obeyed by Him. (3) Jesus kept them ALLóeveryone! 4. However, this is one commandment that Jesus never KEPT. a. Jesus did many things to be associated with His people. (1) He out on human flesh. (2) He was baptized. (3) He suffered. b. But one thing Jesus never didÖ He never offered a sin sacrifice for Himself. (1) Never! Not once! Not ever! (2) Mary and Joseph offered one for the birthing process, but this One born under the Law, never once brought a sin sacrifice to the priest. c. Why? One was NEVER NEEDED. II. \\#32\\ He is the Light of the Gentiles. A. Jesus came to be Light to the darkness. 1. I donít think it was an accident that Jesus was born at night. Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. a. Jesusí birth in the darkness was an illustration of what He came to do. b. He came to bring the light of salvation to those who lived in the darkness of sin. Mt 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. Lu 1:79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. 2. Both the Jews and the Gentiles were in darkness. a. The Jews had been given a knowledge of just how sinful they were by the revelation of the Law, but they still abode in darkness. b. You can see the Jewsí darkness in two ways. (1) You can see that although the Jews had knowledge of their condition, most of them did not deal with it as is obvious by how few obeyed the Law. (2) But even those who did obey the Law needed a Sacrifice sufficient to take away sin and no Old Testament sacrifice could do that. c. Yet this passage specifically says that THIS ONE came to be a LIGHT TO THE GENTILES. (1) Did you know that while the Messiah is Jewish, Christmas is a Gentile holiday, not a Jewish one? (2) Jews donít celebrate Christmas. They do not accept Jesus as the Christ. (3) That did not surprise God. God knew that they would reject His Son. (4) That is why the text tells us that Jesusí coming was a LIGHT TO THE GENTILES. (5) The text does not even say that Jesusí coming was to be a Light to BOTH the Gentiles and the Jews. (6) While a few Jews have accepted Jesus as the Messiah and been saved, the number is very few. (7) No, God said what He meant and knew would happen. The coming of THIS ONE would be a LIGHT TO THE GENTILES. 3. God always had the Gentiles on His mind. a. From the cradle to the cross and both before and after each, God had His sight not just to reclaim His people, but to reclaim and redeem all mankind. b. The Gentiles were never forgotten nor over looked, 4. God had the Jews in mind to be the instrument through which He would reach the whole world, but because God knew of the rebellion of the Jews, that plan was only to be partially fulfilled by the Jews. B. So what is Godís divided plan? 1. First Part - Bring a Savior into the world through a physical people, the Jews. 2. Second Part - Share the news of that Savior with the world through a physical people. a. That privilege was also offered to the Jews, but they refused. b. So God turned to the church. You and I are to do what the Jews refused to do. C. Several thoughts: 1. The Jews rebellion was never a surprise to God. a. God planned on the Jews doing it, but He knew they would not. b. Hence, God always had the church in mind. 2. It is somewhat appropriate that the church, make up largely of Gentiles should share the gospel with a world of Gentiles. a. If anyone should have a heart for telling lost Gentiles who Jesus is, it should be Gentiles who were once lost. b. Now, you and I, we are little lights. Mt 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. D. The story of Christmas is a story of Jesus coming to be a LIGHT TO THE GENTILES! III. He is the Glory of Israel. A. But God has not forgotten the Jews either. 1. As some might think God forget the Gentiles while He was dealing with the Jews, so some have thought God has forgotten the Jews while He is dealing with the Gentiles. 2. God has never forgotten either group. B. The Old Prophet also called Jesus "the GLORY of Israel." 1. Light, while similar to glory. is different. a. I believe light and glory both originate with God. b. In fact, I believe that light is a by-product of Godís glory. 2. But heavenly light came be imitated on this world. (Indeed, we have many sources of light, both natural and artificial.) 3. There is, however, no imitation of heavenly glory. 4. Glory is uniquely Godís. C. To say that Jesus came to be the GLORY OF ISRAEL is to say that Jesus came to make the Jews uniquely Godís. 1. No friend, Godís plan for what this Child in the manager came to do is far from finished. 2. God intends to make Israel uniquely Godís by this One. D. Someone could justifiably ask, "Why? Why would God want this people to be His people in a way unlike any other?" 1. The only answer I can give is that it is the nature of God to never throw away anything that can be redeemed! (Thank God for that nature, else you and I would have already been cast away!) 2. Then it is Godís nature to go farther and take that which is the most unlikely and unworthy to be redeemed, and to do a work of grace on it which makes it the most precious to Him! a. The same grace that made God want to adopt the Gentiles into His family has made Him want to make Israel a glory. b. What a work this Child came to do! IV. \\#34\\ He is the Rise and Fall of Many. A. Israel fellónot so much because of the Child but because of their rejection of Him. 1. Jesus indeed became a Stumbling Block to Israel. 1Peter 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. a. The priesthood is now gone. b. The temple as well. (I have seen the stones scattered about the grounds which the presence of God once inhabited. c. The nation has been chastised and bruised for over 1900 years. 1. All fallen and, if it were not for the promises of God to raise them again, would have long since been forgotten. B. But many have also been raised. As it is the Jews who have fallen, so it is the Gentiles who have been raised. 1. Who would have ever heard of Antioch of Syria if not for this Child? 2. And would Germany be known for anything good if it were not for the fires of the reformation which burned there? 3. What of those other reformer countries? a. Would we know anything of those Scandinavia countries of Denmark, Norway, Sweden? b. How about Switzerland, the Netherlands, Scotland? c. Would Great Britain have even been great had it not clung to this Child? d. Would there be a United States of America today, if it had not been raised for the glory of this Child? V. A Sign Spoken Against A. Today in America, the cradle, the cross, and the Christ are all spoken against. B. It is no Merry Christmas. 1. It is Happy Holidays. 2. Someone implied there was no malicious intended toward Christ but rather it is a mark that most are just to lazy to say both Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 3. Perhaps for some; but for others, there is malicious. C. They pull up the nativity scenes, refuse His name (except in profanity, and acknowledge His spirit of love and peace while refusing to acknowledge Him. D. Donít let it bother you too much. E. The old prophet, Simeon told Mary and Joseph that that was who this Child was to be. VI. \\#35\\ A Sword Through the Soul of Mary A. A sword is an instrument used to inflict pain, suffering, and death. B. \\#34\\ Interestingly, Simeon spoke these words to Mary. 1. He blessed THEM, but spoke to MARY. 2. I wonder why? C. Have you ever noticed that Joseph soon disappears from the pages of Scripture? 1. We donít know when, why, or how; but Joseph disappears. 2. Most believe he died. I do. 3. Why do you suppose God might take Joseph so early, leaving Mary to rear their four sons and those daughters? 4. I donít know for certain, but I would venture a guess. a. What father would every allow his son to be lied against, betrayed, arrested and tried unjustly, then crucified? b. If there is such a father, it would be a man who was cowardly, unloving, and uncaring. c. That was not Joseph. d. I believe it was Godís plan to remove Joseph so that he would not get in the way. D. So as the Holy Spirit speaks through Simeon, He blesses both Mary and Joseph that day, but the Holy Spirit speaks of the sword piercing only Mary. 1. She only would have to watch what they would do to their Son. 2. Had Joseph been there, he would have caused problems. E. But notice this. 1. In all the world, there is only one human soul that the coming of Jesus ever afflicted. 2. His earthly mother, Mary. 3. For every other human being, the coming of this Child was no affliction but a blessing. 4. We may ache today looking back on His suffering; but His suffering is not our sword, it is our salvation! 5. Mary is the only human soul that had to be pierced by the coming of this Child. 6. I say again, the Catholics are wrong to worship her, but this is a woman whom the saved ought to agree with the angel, "Mary, thou art highly favored and blessed!" I quit, but there are many more names and titles by which this ONE could be called. This question today is, "What do you call Him?" It will either be Lord or Judge. I pray you call Him Lord.
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