A Baby in the Temple

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On the eighth day, May and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the Temple to fulfill the requirements of the Law. When they had completed this, they came to meet two very interesting people, the first of which was a man named Simeon. By the time that he met parents and child, Simeon was a very old man, but he had been promised by God that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah with his own eyes, and having been moved by the Spirit to come to the Temple that day, he came upon the blessed baby; taking the child up in his arms, Simeon 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.”

Luke 2:29-32

Mary and Joseph marveled at this, but Simeon wasn’t quite finished yet:

“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.”

Luke 2:34-35

The first part must have been so thrilling, so exciting, so gratifying; I know that if I were Joseph, it would also be something of a relief under the circumstances. Yet that second part; what was that all about? It’s great if the kid was destined to be a light and a glory, but “spoken against,” and a “sword” in his mother’s soul?

This isn’t fun any more!

Then Anna comes into the picture. She was a very old prophet (interesting in itself) who told everyone about this child “to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” Try to imagine what must have been going through the minds of Mary and Joseph…

They had come a long way on faith. Of course Mary knew that God was the father of the child; this is something she would have been certain of, but nobody can tell me that Joseph didn’t have his difficult moments of doubt; now this. What had they gotten into?

It would be hard to imagine that they didn’t have thoughts along these lines, but I think we still have such thoughts today. I say this because these aren’t exactly the most quoted verses in the Christmas Story… are they? Oh we love to quote the “peace on earth” part, we like the little lambs in the manger and the little drummer boy who I still can’t find in Scripture. Singing choirs of angels are also great as they Hearken the good news to those poor shepherds, but  the part about rising and falling, being spoken against and a sword to the soul are different; Jesus came for peace on earth; we didn’t sign up for swords and troubles!

Jesus came to bring unity of all peoples, yet with unity came disunity also, and with peace came conflict, and this paradox continues to this very day. Even though this isn’t the part of the story we like to get into during this season of the year, it is important to understand because it affects our lives, and we must not shrink away from the truth.

Let’s take a look at this in more depth  tomorrow…

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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6 Responses to A Baby in the Temple

  1. Pingback: A Baby in the Temple | A disciple's study

  2. Pingback: War! | The Life Project

  3. Nice post. Yes- we tend to leave out these sort of passages at Christmas.

    Hey, maybe the little drummer boy is the son of the widow who gave one mite. She would’ve taught the principle of giving all she had (giving her best for the King) to her children. 😉😊😊


  4. Yeah. Who conceived this thought of the ‘Drummer Boy’? This ‘Peace on Earth’ announcement is the most misunderstood, yet one of the most quoted scriptures in the N.T. Why can’t people understand that?
    I have often dwelt on the thoughts of what Joseph must have wondered, and thought, and doubted, yet regained his faith time after time. He was as trusting as Abraham, yet that is never spoken of in the New Testament. From marrying what would be considered a disgraceful woman, to fleeing to Egypt, returning from Egypt, moving to the province of Naphtali, which was a pagan country, is not the way of a vagabond, but the way of a ‘God-follower.
    As was Anna who had to be at the very least 103 yrs old, yet lived in the Temple fasting and praying day and night. What was she praying for? The advent of the Holy One, The Anointed. The savior.

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