Summary: The title of this talk is 101 things to see before you die – well numbers 2 to 101 are up to you and you may or may not get the opportunity to see them in your lifetime. But the number one thing to see, is Jesus.
Over the past few years the BBC have run a number of series called the 101 things before you die. 101 places to visit before you die, 101 things to do before you die and 101 things to eat before you die.
What they do is get people to write in and suggest their favourite and then they put them into a top 100 list and do a countdown to the nations favourite.
Over the series we have seen great places in the world; people suggested Florida in the USA, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the favourite number 1 spectacular place to visit was the Grand Canyon. My favourite place is Singapore which came in at number 39. (my age! cough)
On the favourite things to do there was meeting mountain gorillas in the wild, bungee jumping, seeing an active volcano and swim with dolphins. The number one was to see a tiger in the wild.
Things to see included the Pyramids in Giza, Egypt, and the number one was to see the Taj Mahal. Not the Indian restaurant in Batley – the palace in India.
Now I was on the Internet one evening and came across an appeal for people to write in with their favourite food for a programme 101 things to eat before you die. The producers would pick one person to film about their favourite food – you would have to tell the camera why this was your favourite and if you were the number one favourite then they would pick one person to take to the favourite place and be filmed eating the favourite food all expenses paid by the BBC. I thought WOW – that would be nice now what’s my favourite food? Well it’s fish and chips on a wall outside a chippy in Leeds.
But then I thought – if you are going to win you don’t want to go to a chippy wall in Leeds you want to go somewhere special – so I wrote a little article and sent it in about my visit to the North of Norway and about eating reindeer meat whilst watching the sun never set in the land of the midnight sun.
Well it came in at number 39 and the BBC came to film me talking about eating reindeer in the land of the midnight sun and it was featured in the programme. Sadly I never got my free trip to the North of Norway. The winner was a fish and chips and the lucky winner got to go to Leeds and be filmed eating it on the wall outside the chippy. Was it my greed for a free holiday or the BBC’s budget constraints? You decide!
Many of us never get to see the 101 things to see before you die but in our in our Bible passage we hear about a number of people, one of whom the priest Simeon who actually go to see the thing he had been waiting for all his life and having seen it he said that he could now die in peace.
He got to see the Messiah – the number one thing he wanted to see. He saw Jesus. Let’s have a look at the account in Luke’s Gospel.
The Gospel write Luke was a very well educated man – a Doctor of medicine. He was a companion of the Apostle Paul and (Paul was the write of much of the New Testament letters) but Luke also wrote the book of Acts.
Luke wrote his Gospel account of the life and works of Jesus to someone called Theophilus. This translates as “God Lover” and I like to think that he’s written his Gospel for God lovers everywhere not only to this specific person Theophilus.
And he wrote his Gospel account is his very scientific factual manner, in very rich educated Greek language in Rome around 26 - 47 years after Jesus’s crucifixion. He wrote his Gospel based on eye witness testimony so that can be sure that these things are factual. (Luke 1)
Our passage says that the boy Jesus was taken by his Parents, Mary and Joseph to the temple in Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. It was the tradition Jewish tradition the first born son would be sacrificed to God along with a lamb and a dove. Although the animals were killed the human’s thankfully were not but were presented as living sacrifices – with the promise that they would serve God in their lives. If the family were too poor to have a lamb (as in Mary and Joseph’s case) then a pair of doves or pigeons was sufficient.
And the priest in the Temple was Simeon. It says that he was a righteous and devout man. He had been waiting all his life for one thing – God had told him that he would see the Messiah before he died. He had been filled with the Holy Spirit and that day the same spirit told him to be in the temple.