Monday 31 December 2012

Bible Book:

"She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day." (v. 37)

Luke 2:36-40 Monday 31 December 2012


Joseph and Mary, as observant Jews, brought the baby Jesus tothe temple in Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (Luke2:22) and to offer the sacrifice prescribed by the law toenable Mary and Joseph to participate again in the temple ritualsfollowing the birth of their child (Luke2:24).

It is in this context that we have the stories of therecognition of Jesus as the Messiah on the part of Simeon and Anna(Luke 2:25-38). The story of Anna issignificant. In Jewish society women were treated as second-classcitizens and were not permitted to testify in any legal case. YetLuke here treats her as a woman of extraordinary piety and hertestimony as being just as valid as that of Simeon (verses 37-38).This fits in with a general trend in Luke's writings (Luke's Gospeland the Acts of the Apostles) regarding the status of women.

Luke seems to have been unaware of the stories in Matthew 2 of the visit of the wise men, theflight of the holy family into Egypt, and Herod's slaughter of theinnocent children of Bethlehem, and tells us simply that theyreturned to Nazareth when they had fulfilled their duties at thetemple.

The next 12 years of Jesus' life are covered by a single verse(verse 40). Jesus grew up as a normal child at home with Mary andJoseph. His true humanity is presupposed, but there is also a hintof his divine powers in the references to his extraordinary wisdomand experience of the favour of God. This combination is importantfor Luke and other New Testament writers, because it tells us thatJesus can not only sympathise with us in our humanity, but alsohelp us at our point of need.

To Ponder

  • Anna "worshipped … with fasting and prayer night and day". Howseriously do you take the call to worship God in your ownlife?
  • Anna spoke about Jesus "to all who were looking for theredemption of Jerusalem" (v. 38). How eager are you to speak aboutJesus to those around you who are looking for freedoms of adifferent kind?
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