Luke 2:21-52 (NIV)
Jesus Presented in the Temple
21On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
Matthew 1:20-21 (CEV)
While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her. Then after her baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
25Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant in peace.
30For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”
It’s as if Simeon was commanded by God to keep a lonely watch through the night until he saw the sun come up; here is God’s sunrise, and because Jesus has come, Simeon can be relieved of his watch. And Simeon’s prophecy shows that this light is for the Gentiles also. The salvation of Jesus began with Israel, but was always meant to be extended beyond Israel.
Psalm 17:15 (NRSV)
As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.
So beautiful! HERE is “Nunc Dimittis” by Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil (commonly referred to as Vespers) op. 37.
The photographs in the video are of the Saint Peter & Saint Paul Cathedral, St Petersburg.
33The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
from Peculiar Treasures: A Biblical Who’s Who,
by Frederick Buechner
Jesus was still in diapers when his parents brought him to the Temple in Jerusalem “to present him to the Lord” (Luke 2:22), as the custom was, and offer a sacrifice, and that’s when old Simeon spotted him. Years before he’d been told he wouldn’t die till he’d seen the Messiah with his own two eyes, and time was running out. When the moment finally came, one look through his cataract lenses was all it took. He asked if it would be all right to hold the baby in his arms, and they told him to go ahead but be careful not to drop it.
“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation,” he said (Luke 2:29), the baby playing with the fringes of his beard. The parents were pleased as punch and so he blessed them too for good measure. Then something about the mother stopped him, and his expression changed.
What he saw in her face was a long way off, but it was there so plainly he couldn’t pretend. “A sword will pierce through your soul,” he said (Luke 2:35).
He would rather have bitten off his tongue than said it, but in that holy place he felt he had no choice. Then he handed her back the baby and departed in something less than the perfect peace he’d dreamed of all the long years of his waiting.
* * * * *
36There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
Anna knew almost nothing about Jesus, compared to what we know about Him–yet see how she loved Him!
39When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.
The Boy Jesus at the Temple
Click on the picture above for a larger rendition — and see what Jesus and the rabbis were discussing, as written on the black board!
41Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 42When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom.
Attendance at the major feasts was commanded in Exodus 23:17 and Deuteronomy 16:16. It was customary for the faithful of Galilee to make these pilgrimages at feast time in large groups. It would not be difficult to lose track of a young boy with such a large group of travelers–we shouldn’t accuse Joseph and Mary of child neglect. But Mary must have felt badly enough, losing the Messiah.
43After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
In that day, there was nothing more natural than a son taking up his father’s business. Jesus did follow in Joseph’s footsteps as a carpenter, but His words here show that He is at least beginning to understand His unique relationship to His Father.
51Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
my daily prayer for my children and grandchildren:
“May (child’s name here) grow and be strong in body and spirit, and in favor with God and people.”