Glory Had Come
Presentation of our Lord
2 February 2017
Jesus was presented in the temple by His mother, Mary, forty days after His birth as required by the law (Lev 12:6-8). The glory of the Lord had appeared in His temple. Every other male child that opened the womb was presented to the Lord as holy, prefiguring the One who would be the High Priest of His church. Now that One child had come. Jewish lore says nothing of Him. Secular history makes no mention of His spectacular appearing. Even Satan was sure that that spectacular arrival could still be coaxed from the Messiah at the beginning of His ministry (Mt 4:5-6). Surely, this modest occurrence of the forty-day-old boy being brought to the temple by His little mother could hardly be the glory of the Lord in the midst of His temple.
The Lord is willing that His glory should be hidden under the signs of weakness and humility. Jesus is carried in as a helpless child where Pompey the Great strode in 63 B.C. and was baffled by the fact that the holy of holies was empty except for the scrolls of the Torah which promised the people of God a prophet like Moses to whom they were to listen (Deut 18:15). He who was the living Word of God now suddenly appeared in His temple. The One who was promised filled what Pompey found to be empty.
Who would listen to this child born of little Mary? Who would listen to the One whose family could offer only the minimum offering, two turtledoves, for ritual cleansing at the altar? The aged believers whose confidence in God's salvation led them to stay in the temple to await the return of the divine glory were there to greet God's Son. Simeon was able to rest in peace. Anna rejoiced to see the day of the Lord for which she hoped. They saw what none could see. They held the Child over which no one marveled. God's glory had come to the temple, all was put right. The One whom the nations desired now quite filled the temple with His glory. He manifested Himself to Simeon and Anna. The hope of Israel had come. Nothing more glorious could be expected than that the Light of the world had come to His people.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Luther
"In the first temple there was an abundance of gold and silver, and in addition the ark of the covenant, the mercy-seat, the cherubim, Moses' tablets, Aaron's rod, the bread of heaven in the golden vessel, Aaron's robes, also the Urim and Thummin and the sacred oil with which the kings and priests were anointed. When Solomon dedicated this temple, fire fell from heaven and consumed the sacrifice, and the temple was filled with what he called a cloud of divine majesty (2Chron 5:13, 7:1). God himself was present in this cloud, as Solomon himself says: 'The Lord has said that he would dwell in thick darkness' (2Chron 6:1). He had done the same thing in the wilderness as he hovered over Moses' tabernacle.
"There was none of this splendor, surpassing gold and silver, in the temple of Haggai. Yet God says that it will show forth greater splendor than the first one. Let the Jews pipe up and say what constituted this greater splendor. They cannot pass over this in silence, for the text and the confession of the ancient Jews, their forefathers, both state that the desire of the Gentiles (Hag 2:7), the Messiah, came at the time when the same temple stood and glorified it highly with his presence. We Christians know that our Lord Jesus Christ, the true desire, was presented in the temple by His mother, and that He Himself often taught and did miracles there. This is the true cloud--His tender humanity, in which God manifested His presence and let Himself be seen and heard." 

Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies
Haggai 2:1-9

In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, "Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, and say, 'Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the LORD. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the LORD. Work, for I am with you, declares the LORD of hosts, according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. For thus says the LORD of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the LORD of hosts. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the LORD of hosts.'" (ESV)
Almighty and ever-living God, grant that as your only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in the substance of our human flesh, so by Him we may be presented to You with pure and clean hearts; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
For all missionaries, that they would proclaim the Christ to those who are in need
For parents, that they might be for their children a bulwark against the onslaughts of our decaying culture
For Hilary Murray, who was baptized twenty five years ago today, that the Lord would continue to manifest Himself to her through word and sacraments
Art: REMBRANDT, Harmenszoon van Rijn  Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (1631)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2017
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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