Grace Emerges

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chapter 2: Revolutionary Adventures in the Gospel of Luke

Revolutionary Adventures in the Gospel of Luke

Luke Chapter 2 (Luke 2:1-52)
by Brad Duncan

Join me on this adventure through the Gospel of Luke as I explore the revolution of God's grace poured out to us, and how it can lead to our fulfilling God's greatest plan to build his kingdom on Earth.

Key points from Luke 2:1-52:
  • Joseph and Mary lived the anticipation of being first-time parents, while taking a difficult trip to enroll in the Roman Caesar's tax census
    • These events led to Jesus being born in Bethlehem, the city of King David's family line
  • Message from the angel and host of angels to the shepherds:
    • Good news!  Something amazing, wonderful and joyous is happening!  All people (all nations, all generations) will be affected by this good news!
    • The good news is a savior, The Savior, the one described by the prophets as Christ the Lord, the Messiah!  He has been born!
    • You must go see him, meet this savior.  Here's where you can find him....
    • [Whole host:] Glory to God in heaven!  An on earth peace among those that God favors.
    • After hearing this message, the shepherds were excited and quickly followed the angels instructions to go find the child, telling EVERYONE what they had heard, and glorifying God and praising him for sending the savior.
    • Then EVERYONE was amazed.
  • Naming and dedication of Jesus
    • Jesus was named according to the message from the angel in Luke 1:31
    • Later Jesus was brought to Jerusalem to be dedicated to the Lord according to tradition, because he was the firstborn male
    • While being dedicated, a man named Simeon met them in the temple and prophesied about Jesus, and a prophet named Anna who lived in the temple met them in the temple and also spoke about Jesus
  • Prophecy of Simeon
    • Simeon had the Holy Spirit (it "rested on him", revealing messages from God).  The Holy Spirit revealed that Simeon would see the one described by the prophets as Christ the Lord, befored he died.  The Spirit led him to the temple that day.
    • Simeon held Jesus and praised God!
    • He said that he saw with his own eyes the salvation of God, and could now die in peace
    • This salvation was to be seen by ALL PEOPLES, as a light of revelation for the non-Jewish people, and a glory for the people of Israel
    • He also warned Mary that Jesus would disrupt Israel and generate much opposition, mostly by "revealing peoples innermost thoughts".  Mary's innermost being would feel a sword piercing it.
  • Anna's response
    • Anna approached Jesus in the temple and began to speak to all the people around them, probably loudly!  
    • She praised God and told everyone that Jesus was the redemption of Jerusalem!
  • Jesus childhood
    • He grew up in Nazareth, following Jewish traditions, and "God's favor was on him".
    • When he was twelve he visited Jerusalem for the Passover Festival
    • He was found discussing the Law in the temple for three days (!) with the teachers of the law.  
    • People that heard he were AMAZED at his insights.  Jesus said that he was in his "Father's house", as he should be.  

How do you feel when your first child is on its way? Anticipation!  Compound that with taking a difficult journey when your baby is due.  Compound that with the knowledge that this baby's birth was declared by angels and prophets!?  Anticipation!

As you read the experiences of the other onlookers in Luke chapter 2 you also see huge anticipation at the birth of Christ the Lord.  The people of Bethlehem, the city of David, including the shepherds we meet in this chapter knew of the prophecy that the Messiah would come from their city and be of David's lineage.  They lived with anticipation of the moment when this would take place.  Those in the temple at Jerusalem had their hope in a Messiah that would rescue Israel from Roman rule and bring peace, order and righteousness back to their land.

When they hear of Jesus being born, what would they be anticipating about this child?  What can a child do?  What kind of man will this child grow up to be?  Could the prophecies and expectations truly be met in this human baby boy to become a man?

The message from the angel and host of angels, as well as from Simeon and Anna, both add to the anticipation and provide more clarity about what is to be expected.  This child will indeed be the very savior they were told about, and it is very good news, not just for Israel but for all peoples at all times!  If a host of angels says "Glory to God in heaven" it must only be the herald of the messiah.  Who else would get such an announcement!?!?  The same exact message is echoed by Simeon and Anna.  Simeon adds that Jesus' life will be one of transformation of the innermost being and not just external or political changes.  This transformation will bring turmoil to Isreal and to Mary personally.

As Jesus grew up, this anticipation must have followed him.  He and his family must have contemplated the future -- what would Jesus like to be when he grows up?  What will his mission be?  Will he indeed rule the kingdom of David forever?  The twelve year old Jesus seemed to be at peace with his future -- surely you realize that I will be in "my Father's house", and that my true Father is God (literally!).  Surely as Jesus studied the law and prophets he could see his own future written before his eyes, and realize that his true mission would be amazing, good news for all people!

What Mary, Jesus, the angels, shepherds, Simeon and Anna noticed in these events were their uniqueness - the singular moment of the Incarnation, when God's plan and man's history would intersect in a unique way, forever changing heaven and earth!  As Jesus became aware of his true lineage and mission, he realized that the Incarnation, was himself!

Can we have a similar respect, admiration and even anticipation about the Incarnation?  What will the presence of God in our lives lead to?  How we will be changed?  How will our future with Christ the Lord in this life bring God's glory to future generations?  How will his good news continue to be spread to all peoples at all times through us?

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