December 29, 2016
Joseph and Mary knew who Jesus was, but that knowledge didn’t make them think they were above the Mosaic Law. Under that Law there were certain requirements a woman was to do after giving birth, and Mary was not exempt from following those requirements. When a woman gave birth to a male child, she was considered unclean for seven days (Leviticus 12:2). “And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.” Leviticus 12:4. In addition to the mother’s requirements, on the eighth day the male child was to be circumcised. “And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.” Leviticus 12:3. This requirement actually pre-dated the Law by many years; God had given this directive to Abraham as the sign of a covenant between Him and the children of Abraham. Mary did all that was required by the Law. Even though she bore the Son of God she was merely human and subject to the Law of Moses.
According to the Law, after the time that she was considered unclean a woman was to bring a Lamb and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering (Leviticus 12:6). If for some reason she was unable to bring a lamb then two turtledoves or two pigeons were acceptable. “And if she be not able to bring a lamb then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.” Leviticus 12:8. Mary followed the requirement of the Law by bringing her sin offering and a burnt offering. “And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord…and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Luke 2:22 & 24. Joseph and Mary must have felt bad because they could only bring birds but no lamb for the sacrifice. Did they understand that Jesus was the Lamb? Just like people today, Joseph and Mary only knew day by day God’s plan and followed as best they could. We can be sure that the Magi hadn’t visited yet because Joseph and Mary would have been able to buy a lamb to offer as her sin offering. With no gold, frankincense, or myrrh she could only offer the birds. Also, Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to Jerusalem but on the night the Magi visited, Joseph was warned in a dream to leave for Egypt immediately. Being obedient they left that very night.
It was on the day that Joseph and Mary took the offerings to the priest that a man named Simeon had his prayers answered. “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” Luke 2:25-26. In just a few words we learn so much about Simeon. He loved God. There are many prophecies in the Old Testament that foretold the Messiah’s birth and Simeon took the words of the prophets seriously. He was looking for the Messiah and his faith was strong. Because the prophets had foretold of the coming Messiah, many people were looking for Him, but not everyone had the depth of yearning that Simeon had. It’s hard to understand how the Scribes and Pharisees missed the Messiah’s birth because they studied Scripture, but they didn’t look for Him. They didn’t have the desire that Simeon had to see the Messiah. The religious leaders had head knowledge of Scripture, but Simeon had heart knowledge. The Holy Spirit still speaks to people today, but most people ignore Him. Many people have head knowledge of Scripture and only a few truly desire to seek the Messiah. Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit so it should be easier for us to hear His voice, but too many of us are distracted by the world and ignore God’s leading.
The Holy Spirit came upon Simeon but didn’t indwell him, yet Simeon was devout and heard His voice. When a person is led by the Spirit, wonderful things will happen. Unlike the Priests and Pharisees, Simeon desired to see the Messiah…the consolation of Israel. “And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou has prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” Luke 2:27-33. We can all learn from Simeon. His great desire was to see “the Lord’s Christ” and was watching for Him. Then, when he saw Him, Simeon embraced Him. Do we do that? When we see our need for Jesus and finally accept Him for our salvation, do we truly embrace Him or do we just go on as if our life hasn’t been changed? Simeon also blessed Him rather than waiting to be blessed by Him. Think about it and see if you truly embrace Jesus and if you just sit around waiting for Him to bless you. Embrace Him and bless Him and your life will be changed for the better.
Simeon had insight that few people had in those days. He understood that the Messiah would come to Israel, but he also understood that He was coming as a light to the Gentiles. That fact is something that many religious leaders couldn’t come to grips with. Many years later a Pharisee named Nicodemus would come to Jesus to seek understanding. Jesus talked a long while with Nicodemus and gave him much to ponder. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. Jesus said that God loved the “world”, not just the Jews. There was separation between the Jews and the Gentiles and much resentment. Jesus came first to the Jews and when they rejected their Messiah, the Gentiles were also welcome to accept His sacrifice for salvation. When Jesus spoke these words to Nicodemus He didn’t exclude Gentiles from this gift. God’s love is offered to everyone, but His gift needs to be accepted. It would be wonderful if everyone had the desire to see “the Lord’s Christ” like Simeon did, because it is God’s desire that all people come to salvation. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17. Simeon found the desire of his heart when he saw Jesus. What is the desire of your heart? Do you want to see Jesus, or are you willing to settle for fleeting desires of this world? Jesus didn’t come to condemn us but to save us. Salvation through Him should change us.
The King of kings was born as a baby in a humble manger. Most people were aware that one day the Messiah would come to them but few were actually seeking to find Him. The Shepherds were the first ones to receive the Good News, and they left their flocks to go find Him. The Magi were looking for Him. They saw His star and followed it to Bethlehem and found Him. Among the few who were looking for Him was Simeon and his prayers were answered. Today we are living in a time that prophecy is being fulfilled. Are you ignoring the signs of the times? Jesus came once to offer salvation to everyone. He will come again to bring judgment upon the unbelieving world that follows Satan. Before God’s wrath begins, all those who have placed their faith in Jesus for salvation will be called Home. Right now, today, is when you need to embrace Jesus. If Simeon hadn’t been seeking Him he would have missed the greatest gift of all. “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.” Luke 2:29-30. Because Simeon saw Jesus he found peace. Can you say that you have found peace? Sin brings death and we are all sinners. Only faith in Jesus Christ will bring forgiveness of sin and eternal life.
“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near” Isaiah 55:6. If you were to die today do you have the same peace that Simeon found by embracing Jesus? It’s a fact that we all face death. It’s also a fact that God’s wrath is very near. Whether death takes you or you are called Home in the Rapture prior to God’s wrath, the only way to live eternally with God is to give your life to Jesus right now. You have a choice so choose wisely.
God bless you all,
Ron Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.