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Luke 2:22-32

 

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 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

 

"Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation
 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel." 
(ESV)

 

Our Eyes See

The Presentation of our Lord

2 February 2016

Jesus was presented at the Temple after his birth according to Old Testament law (Lev 12 and Ex 13). On that occasion the wide-eyed parents of the newborn were met by aged saints who proclaimed the Word of God about this Child consecrated to the Lord that day. The Christmas chord is struck again. Again there is unseeing seeing and unknowable knowing as the Word of God comes to God's people to tell us who the Child is. What no eye has seen or year heard is set by God upon the lips of St. Simeon. The little child receives the lullaby by the old man. He is called Savior, the light of the Gentiles, and the glory of Israel. Nothing more exalted may be said about this Child, no higher or greater titles may be attributed to Him. The Lord's Christ had suddenly come to his temple as the Lord had promised and as all the prophets of the Old Testament hoped.
 
No wonder that this scene strikes the child's parents with sheer amazement. We too ought to share the same amazement. Who Christ is is not a matter of easy sense perception. "Oh well, yes, obviously He is the Christ" is not a reaction that trips off the tongue when we are confronted by the incarnate Lord. There are no cheesy golden halos to identify the important and divine personages in the story. He's but a six-week old infant. Only the Word of God tells us who He is and leads us to sing along with Simeon when he comes among us to the revelation of His Word. He is still wrapped in the rags of humility among us as He was when Simeon took Him into His arms. When God speaks our eyes see our salvation.

 

Martin Luther

"'His father and his mother were amazed at the things which were said about him' (Lk 2:33). What were the amazing things about Jesus and by whom were they said? These are clearly the things which Simeon mentioned immediately before, as he took the infant Jesus in his armsin the temple and said: 'Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.' (Lk 2:29-32). Luke says that they were amazed that this aged holy man stood in front of them in the temple, took the infant into his arms and joyously talked about him in such glorious terms, namely, that he should be a light for all the world, a Savior of all people, a glory to all Israel, and that he himself had such a high opinion of him that he would gladly die, having seen the child. It is certainly something to be amazed at, to have such things said there publicly by this eminent man in that public, sacred place. It was, after all, a poor, insignificant baby. The child's mother was poor and humble, and the father Joseph was not rich. How could this infant be regarded as if he were the Savior of all people, the light of all Gentiles, and the honor and glory of all Israel? After the child's true nature became known, all this no longer seems to be so amazing. But when nothing of the sort was known, it did look very strange indeed, and the poor little infant was so greatly unlike the mighty, grand being, as Simeon described him. But Joseph and Mary believed it, which is at once the reason for their amazement. Had they not believed it, Simeon's statements would have been a matter of contempt rather than amazement for them, and they would have appeared false and of no use. Therefore such amazement glorifies the noble and great faith of both Joseph and Mary....
 
"It serves as an example of our faith. We, too, should learn how marvelous God's works are concerning us and that the beginning and end are quite dissimilar. The beginning is nothing; the end is everything. Just as here the infant Christ does not appear very significant and yet, in the end, he became the Savior and light of all the people. If Joseph and Mary had judged in accordance with what they saw, they would have regarded Christ as only a poor little child. But they disregard the external evidence and cling to Simeon's words with a firm faith; therefore, they marvel at his speech. In like manner we, too, must disregard the external evidence when contemplating God's works and cling only to his words, lest our eyes or senses offend us." 

Martin Luther, Sermon for the Sunday after Christmas
 
Collect for the Presentation of our Lord
Almighty and ever-living God, your only-begotten Son was presented this day in the temple. May we be presented to you with clean and pure hearts by the same Jesus Christ, our great high priest, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
 
For Breanna Brim, that the Lord God would be with her as she undergoes surgery
 
For seminarians and candidates who are awaiting calls into the holy ministry, that they would receive from God flocks to shepherd
 
For all Christian pastors that God our Lord would make them faithful shepherds of their flocks and that their flocks would show rightful honor and respect to their shepherds
Art: REMBRANDT Harmenszoon van Rijn  Presentation of Jesus in the Temple 1631 

 

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