What Can Be Said about Our Savior’s Birth – 7-04-22

34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:34-35 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Luke chapter 2 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Christ Born of Mary

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed [a]wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a [b]manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Glory in the Highest

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And [c]behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a [d]manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill[e] toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made [f]widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Circumcision of Jesus

21 And when eight days were completed [g]for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

Jesus Presented in the Temple

22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who 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.”

Simeon Sees God’s Salvation

25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just 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 So he came by 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 he 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 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

33 [h]And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Anna Bears Witness to the Redeemer

36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow [i]of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to [j]the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

The Family Returns to Nazareth

39 So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. 40 And the Child grew and became strong [k]in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

The Boy Jesus Amazes the Scholars

41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. 43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And [l]Joseph and His mother did not know it; 44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. 46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. 48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”

49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” 50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.

Jesus Advances in Wisdom and Favor

51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was [m]subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Footnotes

  1. Luke 2:5 NU omits wife
  2. Luke 2:7 feed trough
  3. Luke 2:9 NU omits behold
  4. Luke 2:12 feed trough
  5. Luke 2:14 NU toward men of goodwill
  6. Luke 2:17 NU omits widely
  7. Luke 2:21 NU for His circumcision
  8. Luke 2:33 NU And His father and mother
  9. Luke 2:37 NU until she was eighty-four
  10. Luke 2:38 NU God
  11. Luke 2:40 NU omits in spirit
  12. Luke 2:43 NU His parents
  13. Luke 2:51 obedient

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Romans 6:1-2-

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

I have been pondering over the last two days – what does one say about the birth of Christ that hasn’t been said a million times before. Both Christians and unbelievers have heard the story (or a child’s performance rendering a version of it).

1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.”

It is verses like this that make me agree that Theophilus was indeed Paul’s Lawyer and not a random believer.  Luke is obviously writing using Greek and Roman references, when he is intelligent enough to use Hebrew references even though he is a gentile. When Luke quotes scriptures he quotes form the Greek version, which was different and more like an easy reading version. But it could be that Theophilus was another gentile and Luke therefore wrote this way. 
It also ALWAYS strikes me that Luke is a gentile and by word count he wrote more of the New Testament than any other writer! Paul wrote the most books, but Luke wrote the most words.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

If you remember back to Friday – Luke was well aware of the other Gospels. It is believed that Matthew and Mark were both written at the time of Luke’s writing. So why wouldn’t Luke just send over Matthews version to Theophilus? Or Mark’s? Mark’s was written to gentiles – but hurried through things that Luke took the time to research and write out. And Matthew’s version was written to Jews showing the fulfillment of prophecy and proving Jesus was the Messiah. Paul’s defense was that he and the priests were in an argument about eternal life that stem from Jesus’s teaching. It is important then to show the side of Jesus, and the truth, that Jews, and women, and gentiles and the minorities were part of Jesus’s compassion and focus was one love and that Jesus was not a military messiah come to destroy Rome. Which was why Rome kept Paul prisoner – because they thought he might be trying to raise up a band against Rome. And therefore Paul was also trying to be like Jesus and follow His ways.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Many times during this time the veil between the spirit and physical was breached. God was considerate and gentle with His reveal – first there was just one angel saying fear not. And one angel in glory in a fearful thing, so we understand that. But maybe he was saying not to fear what they were about to see. Because the FIRST spiritual Iron Dome over Israel was manifested that night and the shepherds saw it. A ‘host’ is a military term – it includes a bunch of smaller groups and are usually in formation marching into battle.

I never thought about the Spiritual battle that must have taken place that night. Every demon was on assignment to find out what was happening that God was hiding. God seems to have been successful in hiding His son… all the way until Jesus was baptized by John and the Lord SPOKE and declare Jesus is His son!

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”

I also enjoy the eternal connection between shepherds and Jesus, in prophecy of Him coming and in His ministry and In the future prophecy and EVEN inviting them to partake in His birth.

21 And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.”

Now Luke carefully documents the honored traditions and shows the devotion to God that Mary and Joseph had. This is important for building the case that Jesus was not a militant radical. People who honor tradition and law, and keep them, raise their child to keep them.

22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who 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.”

Traveling to Jerusalem with a new born, after the expense of traveling for the census, must have been difficult on the newlyweds. They also could not travel all that way with a pair of turtledoves. So when they arrived in Jerusalem they would have to buy them at the tables of the money changers and sellers of the offering animals – the same ones Jesus later flips their tables for cheating the people of their money and for over charging so people could fulfil their sacrifices.
Therefore, everyone knew this was a great financial hardship – these must be very devout and obedient followers of God.

25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just 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 So he came by 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 he 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 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, 32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”

I can’t even imagine the overwhelming joy, of recognizing and hold our savior as a baby. Simeon knew the signs of the time and knew it was soon. He talked with God about it and God told Him, don’t worry – you will see the Christ before you die. Some say Simeon was old when he saw Jesus. It doesn’t say – all it says is that God is faithful to His promises.

33And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

After standing dumbstruck by Simeon’s revelation of Jesus – confirms that there are many prophecies and supernatural things that have happened and confirms it all to Mary. (Not to Joseph, because Luke was not able to interview him and find out his thoughts on it.)  BUT Mary and Simeon are still looking for a political and militant savior – while we can look at that very nationalist verse and see the hearts of men, women and children, both Jew and Gentile being saved from hell and obtain everlasting life.

It is a confusion many are still making today! Many in the USA quote:
 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV
…and when they do, they are humbling themselves before God, while praying for a political savior. AND it is not just in the USA. Canada is in dire need to a political savior, as well as the Ukraine, Israel, Australia, China, on and on. What if healing and salvation come instead through the hearts of the people? What if things cannot change until the hearts of the people change? What if we are on an irreversible course with prophecy being hurled into Jacob’s sorrow? What if the great awakening we are praying for was the Azusa Street Revival or the wave that hit the globe in the 1970’s through 80’s?

We must never be confident in any plan that includes man. We must remember the Lord is concerned with ONE thing: the state of our hearts. He really doesn’t care who the leaders are, only how your heart is in relation to Him.
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18 NKJV
Our God is able to save us from our bad leadership – and if he doesn’t, we must be willing to still stand and still serve Him.

36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”

In the busy city of Jerusalem and in the busy temple with people coming and going, many saw Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Not one recognized the Christ, except Anna and Simeon. Imagine later thinking – will that was the year and month and week I was at the temple making my families sacrifices and I might have walked by the Christ and not recognized him because he was a baby. Are we busy with our own lives and looking for the end of the work of God – and not sensitive to what God is doing now? Are we like Anna and Simeon? And do we recognize God in the small beginnings of His work in our lives and in the lives of others?

39 So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. 40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.”

We know very little about Jesus’s childhood. Luke, I feel, gives us the most – but Jesus’s childhood must have been uneventful. No miracle healings, no water to wine each meal, nothing noteworthy. I am sure God’s favor was upon them and they had miracles in their lives – but nothing out of the normal, because when Jesus returns to Nazareth, they do not accept healings or miracles from him, the carpenter’s son.

However, there was this one time, while he was a kid, that…

41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. 43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; 44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. 46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. 48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”
49 And He said to them, 
“Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” 50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.”

Yesterday, I ran into another homeroom mom who I haven’t seen in a few years. Our kids graduated high school in 2015 and we haven’t seen each other much since then. While chatting we took a quick stroll down memory lane to that age – around 12. Children become aliens while hormones and growth flood their bodies and they are overwhelmed by the stuff happening inside them. Little girls suddenly feel like they are women and boys get aggressive about boundaries, rebel against authority and confuse easily. My own son woke up one day and got dressed and forgot to first take off his pajamas. It was so upsetting to him, he cried about it until he hyperventilated.
And here we see Jesus oblivious to time and respect for His earthly parents. I bet being near the presence of His Father in the temple was such an uncontrollable draw and in that fragile state that children are in around that age – Jesus just forgot His earthly self. So of course the one childhood memory talked about is this. Unfortunately for my son, it is crying over pajamas.

His parents did not understand what Jesus meant, because they were looking for a political victor and a warrior savior. So teaching the scriptures did not seem to be the work of God for Jesus – but it was.

51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”

Jesus learned to be subject to His parents.
You and I have to learn to be subject to the will of God – to our Father. Jesus knows firsthand how difficult it is to die to flesh and learn this. AND he was learning it when hormones fluxed and growth spurts exhausted Him.  So, when we surrender all and are tempted and fail, Jesus looks over at God and says, pour our mercy – that is a hard thing.
God says – but you did it.
And Jesus says – But I am also God and the Holy Spirit. They are only human.

These tender years, make Jesus all the more aware of the human condition – and being able to relate to us only works out in our favor all the more.

With today also being Independence Day in the USA, where I am writing from. I’d be remiss not to speak on freedom. Although God is only concerned with people’s hearts in relationship to Him – he is very much concerned about our freedom. It is just that we cannot be free any other way than through Jesus.
Here we celebrate freedom, while we have just lost many freedoms over the last year.
Row v. Wade being overturned gives more freedom! But people are so deceived that they see it as a loss of freedom for women. They think captivity to sin is freedom, they call evil good. We live in terribly wicked times.

But the USA was dedicated to God by our first president and if he was a true believer or not, God took that dedication seriously and blessed us for years. Now we are vexed by our child sacrifices, sex trafficking, and evil ways. It is no surprise that God has to shake the wheat from the tares, separate the sheep from the sheep from the goats. The celebration of freedom is still poignant for me – because:
“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 NKJV
You cannot celebrate freedom without celebrating Jesus! But it is overshadowed by the sadness of so many hearts NOT submitted to God in love.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 NIV

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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