Friday 02 February 2018

Bible Book:

“It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.” (v. 26)

Luke 2:22-32 Friday 2 February 2018

Psalm: Psalm 24


Today is the feast of Candlemas. This celebration marks 40 days after Christmas when Jesus is presented in the temple. (You can find details about the ceremonial laws on purification here). With the references to light in Simeon’s hymn of praise (verse 32), Christians light candles in their homes to celebrate. Some Church traditions will also use this day to bless all the candles that are to be used in that church throughout the year.

The word “consolation” (verse 25) could also be translated as comfort or restoration. It, therefore, has overtones to Isaiah 40:1. With such a breadth of translations possible, we should not read it as either a purely spiritual or political phrase, but rather a blend of both.

Equally, we should not assume that there was only one type of Messiah hoped for at the time of Jesus. The word ‘Messiah’ means anointed one (in Hebrew literally ‘the one who has had liquid spread over them). Kings were anointed so it is fair to imagine the Messiah taking a military form. However, priests and prophets could also be anointed (see Isaiah 61:1). The people’s hopes for the coming of God’s anointed one were varied and complex.

Simeon’s seeking of release is the phrase used of a master freeing a slave. Simeon could die happy with his hopes being realised. It is worth noting that Simeon’s hopes were not just limited to Israel, but he recognised something of the global significance of this baby’s life. Isaiah 49:6, which speaks of God’s messenger, declares that they will be “a light to the nations”. The Gospel of Luke’s account of Jesus’ life, and the life of the Early Church in the sequel – the Acts of the Apostles – shows how this begins to become a reality.

If we had read on one more verse (Luke 2:33), we would notice the reaction of Mary and Joseph. Given all that has happened around Jesus’ birth, we might expect them to take this in their stride. Yet their response is still one of awe and wonder.

To Ponder

  • In what ways does God still leave you in awe and wonder?
  • In what ways do you relate to Jesus as “prophet, priest and king” (Singing the Faith 322)?
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