Read: Luke 2:22-40
The narrative of Jesus’ early life is brief, sometimes too brief. We wonder what He was like as a child, did He play? did He say incredibly funny things as He learned to talk? Are these thoughts irreverent? I have Rich Mullins moments at times–this is one of those times: Boy Like Me/Man Like You. Hope you take a few minutes, skip the ad, and enjoy that song (especially the fretless bass).
Mary and Joseph
Today’s passage invites us to consider Simeon and Anna, the old and faithful along with the young and humble parents, Mary and Joseph.
The young parents continue to do their duty with great faith. I’m so amazed by their testimony. Very few words in scripture about Mary and Joseph, especially Joseph, but each time we read them we’re left with more and more respect for them. Here, they are once again simply doing their duty. No fanfare, no huge announcements, just going to the temple as required.
and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” Luke 2:24
The simple sacrifice gives us the impression that Joseph was not among the wealthiest, just a simple man taking care of his family. Let that thought sink in for a moment. These two are God’s choice of parents. No flash, no pizzazz. Simple. Faithful. They won’t pastor a megachurch or host a YouTube channel. All they would do is raise the savior of the world. That’s all.
Simeon waited his whole life for this moment and here it is, the chance to see the savior in the flesh as promised. Faithful through the decades, Simeon finally gets to recite the blessing I suspect he practiced for years.
Then 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, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Luke 2:34-35
Notice he said this to Mary. He didn’t shout it from the mountaintops, though I suspect he wanted to! Mary and Joseph let the words sink deep in their hearts. There’s no way they can understand the depth of the words. They’re just doing their duty.
To round out the scene, Luke presents a prophet who is able to see beyond the years and know that this very child is the child.
Coming 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. Luke 2:38
She will not keep silent, but she doesn’t appear to be some radical zealot. She begins by thanking God, there’s something in that simple statement for us to consider. It’s interesting that she speaks to those looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem, not everyone.
There you have it — young, old, male, female, Luke covers the bases by showing us that God is speaking to everyone.
Jesus, the child
And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him. Luke 2:40
Given the lack of insight into His early years, I suppose I shouldn’t dwell on the thought much, but I would love to see how he interacted with the kids in the neighborhood. Seems like I could learn a lot as a parent. Then again, my children are not born of the Holy Spirit! They come from broken parents attempting to keep it together day by day. We’ll keep doing the best we can, looking to each other for help and support as we celebrate success and mourn shortcomings.
Lord, let us learn from these examples of humble service to Your church, the body of Christ.