LUKE 2: 22-40
Jesus, our Saviour”
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, Oh Lord, Our King, Our Strength and Our Redeemer! AMEN
Today- let us not just listen to what the Scriptures say but “hear” and “act”!,to use Jesus' words “all who have ears to HEAR let them HEAR!
Yesterday I was invited to visit Chelmsford-It was a Training day-- concentrated on “Growth” -spiritual growth in members of our respective congregations,but increasing numbers attending Church,as a result of Evangelism or outreach programs.
Bishop Stephen in his opening address, posed this question :
Does your Church have a Maternity ward?At first mention everyone laughed,but we all attending soon grasped the serious side to his message when he compared a new believer as being “born again”.The Hospital ward is opened 24/7, where,all the staff is expectant,always ready,waiting and attentive for welcoming new ones- birth- rejoicing- nurturing- strong in faith and transforming presence. He outlined God's Commission to the Church-to make disciples of all.
To make use of Church Resources,
Think of the big picture,
The transforming presence
and Local services.
He sends his love to all at ALL SAINTS and asks that the following short letter be read,on Sunday by Preacher!
To which I replied :”that's me!” he said I certainly stepped into that one!” He reminded me of a previous occasion when I asked him if he would visit us at All Saints. His reply was -(according to protocol)for Him to visit our Congregation ,the PCC Secretary would have to write a letter requesting this.(by permission of the Priest-Rev Ken,of course).to which I replied “you are looking at her.This was the point of no return !
In future,if He avoids me,I will blame All Saints! (laugh)
Here is the letter for your consideration:
BISHOPS LETTER (attached)
the Gospel message for today reconfirms
– God's plan of Salvation through JESUS !
The Gospel today is a synopsis of an early event in the life of Jesus! And we can learn a great deal from what is written on close examination.
JESUS OUR BEST CHOICE -OUR SAVIOUR
, Our Creator, God, is meticulous in ensuring that everything required by the law was fulfilled in Jesus' life, so that he would perfectly qualify as our saviour. No item was left undone so that Satan could not claim that Jesus did not fulfil all the law /did not pay the full purchase price.
The scriptures/gospel tells us that-
Jesus was taken to the temple when the time for purification of the first-born came.
This was solely to fulfil the law of Moses.
Again,Jesus had no need 'in fact' of a sin offering .( later on with His baptism,we see him presenting himself to John for baptism- this was done to fulfil all righteousness.)
So according to the Law, and custom,Mary and Joseph, brought Jesus to the temple after circumcision, for purification, and
offered two turtle doves. Doves were brought by those who could not afford a lamb.( It could even be that God manoeuvred this situation at this time in their lives so that Jesus the Lamb of God would not have a lamb offered for Him for later in his life he would show that he is our Passover Lamb!)
We can see also how at all stages God encouraged His parents with increased knowledge of His role on earth.
Jesus was special and God gave them new treasures at intervals to store in their hearts.
THE PROPHETIC FULFILLMENT.
In the next section we read the comments and prophesy of devout older man, Simeon.
Simeon SERVANT OF GOD represented the LAW.
Here Simeon tells them that Jesus is the 'Salvation of the Lord' and that He will create a stir in all Israel as the 'Revelation to the gentiles' and 'the Glory of Israel'.
The end of the LAW of animal sacrifices, and the gift of GRACE for SALVATION.
Mary or Joseph would you have been encouraged by this new revelation of how God had entrusted to their care and nurture the Saviour of the world?
Mary was also warned that she would face heartache because of her love for Jesus and because of His love for us all, as his life and death revealed the thought of people's hearts, which of course came out in attitude and actions. God did not sugar-coat the message,because in the end he knew, her JOY would be full!
Another interesting thing is that Simeon blessed them. That is, he blessed Mary and Joseph! Simeon did not do this because he had some special position in the Temple hierarchy. He did it as a pure, devoted, follower of God! May we also become so close to God that we can speak God's blessings on others with a pure spirit.
Simeon,my friends, represented the end of the old Law, he exclaimed....My eyes have seen my salvation,and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour.
On the other hand ,The prophetess Anna, who was continually in a prayerful attitude to God, also came and gave thanks to God for what He had done in sending Jesus. Hear this, my friends,Anna represented the New- Jesus came to fulfil the law and represented God's GRACE_BY GOD'S SON
(2 Cor.9:30 reconciliation to God- )
When we think of the grace we have received; the righteousness we have had imputed to us; the peace and Joy that we have in the Holy Spirit; the blessings given to us; how can we help but give thanks also?
We should give thanks continually to the great God that we serve, for all His goodness and all His love.
Anna also spoke of Jesus being the object of desire for all those who were looking for 'the Redemption of Israel'. This also would have been great encouragement to Mary and Joseph, both God-fearing people.
So for us today we have witnesses giving testimony right from the beginning that Jesus is our Saviour and our Redeemer.
Finally in verses 39 ans 40 we find a very important vignette. It tells us that Jesus continued to grow and become strong, and increased in wisdom , and the grace of God was upon Him.
What does this mean for us today?
As I mentioned before, we can learn a lot from what has been written about Jesus' early life. In fact it can even be used as a template for how new and immature Christians should develop. -as Bishop Stephen illustrated and pointedly asked us “Do you have a maternity Ward in your Church?
We are to grow strong in the knowledge of the Lord. We are to grow in wisdom. We are to renew our minds to think like Jesus. We are to grow in grace and favour with both God and men. We are to resolve to be committed,and perfect our faith by Grace, welcome new believers,nurture and encourage 24/7 !
We do all this by beholding Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith!
What a great and good God we serve. He is good to us all the time. He reveals Himself to us in His word THE BIBLE,and shows us through our RELATIONSHIP with Him,that He is the WAY,THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE, no man can come to God except through Him!
May we discern in this our 21st Century the TRUE TRINITARIAN GOD we serve and worship!
THE MYSTERY OF OUR FAITH
That is what mystery means in the bible. It's something was once hidden is now revealed to us. And when we experience God's love, we grow to love Him more &more.
God calls! He's the GREAT EVANGELIST
When we follow, God can bless us and bless others through us!
So, my brothers,and sisters let us- HEAR
and BELIEVE in the The SON OF GOD JESUS CHRIST......it means our
EVERLASTING SALVATION !