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Summary: *What will you do with the Christ of Christmas? Dedicate your life to Him. God’s Word will show us how.

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Let Christmas Change Your World!

Part 5 - Christmas Dedication

Luke 2:21-35

Sermon by Rick Crandall - McClendon Baptist Church 123106am

*Jo Carr tells about a children’s Christmas program she once saw. Jo said: "All the songs had been sung, and the candles lit. The shepherds had come to peek at the baby, and the wise men had brought their gifts. The angels had given their message. Then all the cast in the story of the first Christmas began to leave... Only Mary and Joseph and the [baby doll Jesus] remained. Then Joseph turned to go, and Mary began to follow, but suddenly she turned back, snatched up the baby doll by the foot, clutched it in her arm, and left." (1)

*It was that last little unplanned part of the play that struck Jo Carr. Mary had almost forgotten Jesus. Christmas is over, but we must not forget Jesus.

*What will you do with the Christ of Christmas? Dedicate your life to Him. God’s Word will show us how.

1. First, give your best to God.

*This is what Joseph & Mary were doing in vs. 21-24...

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.

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.’’

*In this passage we see Jesus’ family going through three ancient ceremonies that took place when a first-born son came into a Jewish family. The first ceremony in vs. 21 was circumcision. William Barclay tells us that every Jewish boy was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. The ceremony was so sacred was that it could be carried out even on a Sabbath, and on that day a boy received his name. (2)

*Circumcision: We still do it today mostly as a matter of custom and personal hygiene, but it seems like such an odd thing to do. Where did it come from?

*It started in Genesis 17, when Abram was 99 years old and the Lord appeared to him and said: “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.”

*And when Abram fell on his face, God said: “My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.”

*Right then, God gave the commandment of circumcision as a sign of His everlasting covenant with Abraham. And here’s what I get out of it. Circumcision is saying to God: “Lord that part of me that most defines me physically as a man, I give that to you. Lord I give you my hopes for a family, for children, for grandchildren. Lord I give you my hope for the future. And Lord I am willing to be different from natural men. I want to be a spiritual man set apart for you.”

*Circumcision is a way to give your best to God. And then in vs. 22&23, Joseph and Mary presented Jesus to God. Listen to it again:

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’’),

*What is more precious to us than our children? Mary & Joseph were giving their best to God! The ceremony in vs. 22&23 was called the Redemption of the First-born. It was started by God in Exodus 13 to remind the Children of Israel of the time when God delivered them from Egypt.

Most of us will remember that the first-born sons of Israel were spared from death during the Passover, when the blood from a sacrificial lamb was spread on the doorposts of their home. From that time, all of their first-born sons belonged to God, and a price had to be paid to redeem them.

*Michael Brumpton gave this insight: “Whenever a woman gave birth to her first male child, this child belonged to God. And one of two things could happen. Either the child would be dedicated to God, to serve Him for life, or if the family wanted to keep that child in their own employ, they could redeem him –they could buy him back. And that was the most common thing. In Numbers 18:16, the price was set for that redemption: 5 shekels of silver. That represented about 20 days’ wages and so the cost of redemption was pretty high. It was something that a poor family couldn’t afford, and so Jesus, at just 6 weeks old, had his life dedicated to God.” (3)

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