Today is the sixth Sunday after Christmas and the theme for our morning meditation is “The child Jesus is revealed as the promised Saviour.” Luke records for us that the time came for the purification rites required by the law of Moses. According to Leviticus 12:6, they were to come after the days of purification are over and present a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering.
This usually happens after forty days after the birth of a son. It was also the time that Joseph and Mary took Jesus to present him in the temple. The offering that was made was to redeem the first born. But more than anything else the important thing is the offering of a child to God for his service, in the same way that Samuel was offered by his parents to God. So, we see Jesus being consecrated to the service of God. This is in line with Exodus 13:2,12 where every first-born of the Israelites was to be consecrated to the Lord because all the first-born of Israel was delivered in Egypt and the first-born of the Egyptians were killed. Since Mary and Joseph were poor, they offered a pair of doves.
There was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the coming of the Messiah who would fulfil all their hopes. He was equipped to recognise the coming of Messiah because the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had informed him that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Holy Spirit, he went into the temple and saw the child Jesus along with Mary and Joseph. Simeon took the baby and said:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
Simeon shows that the era of salvation has come and now Simeon is ready to die having seen the fulfilment of God’s promise. He had seen the Messiah whom God had sent. The Messiah would be light to the Gentiles and the glory of the people of Israel.
Simon therefore clearly shows to us that the Jesus is revealed as the promised Saviour. Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Simeon not only indicated that he would be a Saviour of the world but his coming would also judge the people of Israel. The Messiah would be a person who would not be carried away by outward appearances but would reveal the hearts of people. Simeon also cautioned Mary that she would also go through the path of suffering because of being the mother of the Messiah. The parents marvelled at what was said about him.
There was also a prophet Anna who was 84 years old. She was always in the temple worshipping night and day, fasting and praying. She came up to them at the very moment and gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Here again we see that Anna was clearly indicating that Jesus was the promised Saviour who was going to redeem his people.
Luke records for us that when Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
The promised Saviour has come and done his work on the cross for us. Therefore, what is it that you and I are called to do? Paul writing to the Romans says, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
So, as we recognise Jesus as our Saviour, we are to live that out in our daily lives, being holy, offering our bodies as a living sacrifice for the service of God. We are not to be carried away by the pressures of this world, but we are to allow the Holy Spirit of God to transform our lives by the renewal of our minds. May God truly help us to discern his will and walk according to his ways.
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