Jesus in the Temple

Today's Bible reading: Luke 2:21-52

As noted earlier, Luke is interested in the temple.  His infancy stories include two trips by Jesus to the temple.  The first is necessary according to the law of Leviticus 12: 33 days after Jesus circumcision, Mary must be purified.  This reminds us of Paul's words that Jesus was “born of a woman, born under the law.”

The words of Simeon, the old man at the temple - words that we know and share together as the Nunc Dimittis - express the praise of God's faithful saints, who have long waited for the final saving revelation of God.  Yet the old man also points to the truth that the baby will bring pain not only to his mother, but also to many in Israel.  The future king will be opposed!

The second visit to the temple at Jerusalem gives us a twofold glimpse of Jesus’ mission.  Though obedient to His parents, He must first and foremost do the will of His heavenly Father.  He belongs in His Father’s house.  In the second place, we find the young Jesus doing what the risen Lord later did with His disciples as He met them on the road to Emmaus: because He knows the Father perfectly, He alone can understand the true meaning of Scripture.  He alone can truly enlighten and teach and reveal.

So … is the telling of the Christmas story itself absolutely necessary?  I suppose - technically - the answer is no.  But the Church through the centuries - and all of us worshiping here this morning - has been extraordinarily blessed in its telling … as each of us is lead to the manger in faith … invited to peer in and behold the miracle and wonder of the incarnation … and welcome the Christ-child, King and Savior of our lives!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, open my eyes to your life-giving presence.  Through Your Word, Sacraments and Spirit, bless my life, so that things that seem mundane become a foretaste of blessedness in Your eternal presence.  Amen.