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Summary: The marvelous gifts God gave to us that first Christmas


TEXT: LUKE 2:21-38


INTRODUCTION: A. Johnny Hart is the writer and illustrator for the B.C. comic strip. He’s also a

committed Christian who perceptively works spiritual truths into his cartoons.

Several years ago he had a comic strip at Christmas time that began with two ants,

a father and a son,

talking to one another. The son asked, “Dad, who is Jesus?” The father ant replied,

“He’s the reason for the season.” The son then says, “But, Dad, I thought Santa Claus

was the reason.” The father ant replied, “He is, if you prefer Nintendo to everlasting


1. Several weeks ago, we began a series called, “Gifts Under the Tree”

2. I want to conclude the series this morning with “Salvation – The Eternal Gift”

B. Lk. 2:21-35 – “On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named

Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived. When the time

of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and

Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of

the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord,’ and to offer a

sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: ‘a pair of doves or two

young pigeons.’ Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was

righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit

was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die

before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple

courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of

the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: ‘Sovereign

Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes

have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light

for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’ The child’s father

and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said

to Mary, his mother: ‘This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in

Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts

will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.’”

1. There’s a jump in time between v. 21 and v. 22.

a. vs. 21 takes place eight days after Jesus’ birth

b. vs. 22 takes place at least forty days after Jesus’ birth

2. These two verses report three different ceremonies that were required under the

Old Testament law:

a. vs. 21 records the infant boy’s circumcision and the official declaration of His

name as Jesus

--a name not given by Mary and Joseph but by direct decree from God – “God

is salvation”

b. vs. 22 records the other two ceremonies

1). Redemption of the first-born male

a). According to the law, the first-born male belonged to God and had to be

redeemed by the sacrifice of a lamb

b). A provision was made for poor parents who couldn’t afford a lamb.

--They could bring two doves or two young pigeons to offer as the

sacrifice of redemption

c). As we read this account 2,000 years in the future, the irony should

strike us that Mary and Joseph brought their sacrifice of two birds yet

they carried in their arms the Lamb of God who would take away the

sins of the world

d). The ceremony for the redemption of the first male child could not be

performed until at least 31 days after the birth

3). The third ceremony was the purification of the mother 40 days after the

birth of a male child

a). According to the Old Testament law, the mother of a newborn male

child could not even come to the temple until the 40th day after

childbirth. If it was a newborn female, she had to wait 80 days

--She was considered unclean

b). There was a bathing of purification that was required

--Couples with newborns usually combined the timing of these two

ceremonies in vs. 22 for the sake of convenience

C. While Joseph and Mary were at the temple for these particular ceremonies, they met a

very interesting man named Simeon

1. He was a priest who served at the temple and was a faithful follower of God

2. We’re not told how old Simeon was at this time, but the text seems to indicate that

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