Verse by verse, we dig into Luke 2:22-40… The Presentation in the Temple.
Today we have a lengthy passage closing out the “infancy” section of the Gospel of Luke (2:22-40). The Sermon later will focus on part four, the prophetic blessing spoken about Jesus.
PART ONE: THE LORD COMES TO HIS TEMPLE Luke 2:22-24
22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”
A.) While reading, we want to remain aware of words and phrases that are repeated in a section of Scripture. What words or phrases to we find repeated above? ___________________________________________________
B.) What might this repeated focus teach us about Joseph, Mary & Jesus?
PART TWO: THE SPIRIT’S SERVANT SIMEON Luke 2:25-27
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 [Simeon] took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
C.) Again, notice the repetition in these three verses. What do all three of these verses have in common, repeating for our notice and attention?
D.) What do we learn about the person & work of the Holy Spirit here?
PART THREE: THE ‘NUNC DIMITTUS’ Luke 2:28-32
28 [Simeon] took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”
E.) Simeon’s Song is named after its first two words in Latin translation, “NUNC DIMITTUS,” which means________________________________.
F.) His song has long remained beloved and vital in worship through the centuries. When do we sing it–and why is this especially appropriate?!
PART FOUR: THE PROPHETIC BLESSING Luke 2:33-35
33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
G.) The Christ child is Appointed “for ______________________________”
H.) What result shall follow?_______________________________________
PART FIVE: THE WIDOW EVANGELIST Luke 2:36-38
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
I.) How is Anna’s response to what she’s heard & seen today in the temple similar to the shepherds’ response to the Word fulfilled at Bethlehem?
PART SIX: THE HOLY FAMILY GOES HOME Luke 2:39-40
39 And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.
Excerpts from a sermon by Martin Luther on this Bible passage:
47. I mention all this because I want to do my duty and point out to every Christian his danger, so that all may beware of the pope, the scholastics and the priests and shun them as they shun the kingdom of Satan, for the Word of God does not prevail among them. Cling to the Gospel and find out where there is opposition and where there is praise. Where you find no opposition, there Christ is not present; and here we do not mean opposition from the Turks, but from our nearest neighbours. Christ is not a sign set for the falling of many in Babylon or Assyria, but in Israel, that is to say among the people in the midst of whom he dwells and who boast to be his own.
…This is the temptation through the bright and shining sins of good works and the service of God, which bring misfortune upon the whole world and against which nobody can guard sufficiently. These are the sins against the first table of the law, against faith, the honour of God and his works.
53. For a life of good works, blameless conduct and outward respectability is the greatest, most dangerous and destructive stumbling-block. The people leading such lives are so upright, reasonable, honourable and pious that scarcely a single soul could have been preserved or saved, if God had not set up a sign against which they might stumble and by which the thought of their hearts might be revealed. Thus we see their hearts behind their beautiful words and good works, and find that these great saints and wise men are pagans and fools; for they persecute the faith for the sake of their works and will not suffer their ways to be rebuked. Thus their thoughts are laid bare and they become manifested as trusting in their own works and themselves, sinning not only continually against the first commandments, but endeavouring also in their enmity against God to exterminate and destroy all that belongs to God, claiming to do this for the sake of God and to preserve the truth. Behold, such are the pope, the bishops and almost all the priests, who have filled the world with innumerable snares and stumbling-blocks by making an external glitter of the spiritual life. Among them there is no faith, but only works, the Gospel does not prevail, but only human laws.
…Thus it happens that the hearts of these saints, which otherwise could not be known, become revealed when Christ is held up before them. St. Paul says in 1 Cor. 2, 15: “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, and he himself is judged of no man,” for he knows their disposition and the attitude of their hearts when he perceives that they do not accept the Word of God and faith.
——Martin Luther, sermon on this text
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