Summary: This is third sermon in a four part series placing emphasis on Simeon.
A GIFT WORTH RECEIVING
Luke, chapter 2 the last two Sundays, not this Sunday but the last two Sundays before. In celebrating the Advent and the lighting the candle, we had Simeon come out, and from his perspective, tell us about the birth of Jesus. Well, this passage in Luke, chapter 2 is the story of Simeon as I continue this Christmas series, this message, entitled, "A Gift Worth Receiving." Let’s begin with verse 21 and I’m not going to read all the verses. I’m just going to read about four of them right now. I’ll give you the introduction and then kind of walk you through the passage.
"And when 8 days were completed before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. And when the days for their purification, according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord as it is written in the law of the Lord. Every first born male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord, and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
I think we need to stop right there. And let me just give you enough biblical background to kind of help us to really understand the setting of this story; in fact, when I listened to Simeon the last 2 Sundays, I kept thinking, I can hardly wait to preach the third message so people really understand the significance of Simeon and what was happening as he was giving it from his perspective.
Every Jewish male went through three basic, ancient-type of ceremonies of which Jesus did also. And this is the story of Jesus going through a couple of these ceremonies. Let me give you the three:
Obviously, every Jewish male was to be circumcised. This rite was so sacred and so important in the Jewish tradition that they would, even, if that 8th day fell on the Sabbath, they would circumcise that male on the Sabbath. And, of course, the Jewish people did no work unnecessarily on the Sabbath. But if that 8th day of the birth of that male, that Jewish boy, was on a Sabbath day, they would even circumcise on that day. This was a very important rite in the Jewish tradition.
And so when it speaks concerning, if you notice in verse 21 when it talked about His circumcision, our Lord’s circumcision, it said that His name was then called Jesus. It was on the 8th day of circumcision that the male would be officially named. We think of officially naming the male child in the hospital, you know, before it comes home. But here they did not name the child until the 8th day. And so on the 8th day when Jesus was circumcised as a Jewish male, they named Him, officially, Jesus.
Now, we know that that name was given to Mary way before the birth of our Lord, because He was to save the world from their sins. But on that 8th day of the circumcision of Christ, that’s when they officially named Him Jesus. That’s the first rite that every Jewish male went through.
2. Redemption of the first born.
And let me explain to you the redemption of the first born. This is speaking again of the male child. The first-born male of the family was very, very special; in fact, in Exodus, it tells us that the first born male belonged to God. We think of dedicating our children to God. We think of bringing our children before the altar. We do that here. And we dedicate them to the Lord. Well, that first born male, it was already accepted in Jewish tradition that that male was God’s and what happened was the parents would come to the temple. This was always to be done not before the 31st day after their birth; and so, there was, literally, a month to pass before this was to occur. But they would come to the temple and they would, literally, give an offering to the priest and in that offering they would symbolically be purchasing that child back into their family.
That’s exactly what they did with Jesus. In fact, they were coming to the temple to do one of these two things. They were coming to the temple and they were to purchase back Jesus, the first born male in this family, they were to purchase him back. It was the fact that that earliest male belonged to God and the parents would come back and through a small offering, not a large offering, a small offering, they would symbolize the purchase back of that son into their family.