Summary: This sermon takes a secondary view of the responsibility of Mary and Joseph in their parenting of Jesus - and how that would affect Mary’s soul.
January 1, 2006
Luke 2:27 The parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required.
Luke 2:33-35 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.”
Luke 2:39-40 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.
All of Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16) This verse reminds us that ALL of God’s Word is worth mining and re-mining again and again to learn more and more. There are many verses that we read over once, twice, even ten times - only to see a word of a phrase that we never really thought about - to open a new point of view and strengthen our faith from a different angle. The Christmas story is one of those stories that most of us have repeatedly looked at for years and years. It is only right for us to concentrate on the main part of the story - God becomes man to save man. Yet within the confines of this story - there are other words, other characters, other people that are also talked about. The Holy Spirit reveals to us the actions of Mary, Joseph, Herod and many other people - which we can also learn about. The theme of this week according to the historic pericope was supposed to be on how we seek to do God’s will as members of his family. It seemed strange to me to talk about this during Christmas time - which is a focus on what God does for us. Yet, as I looked at this Christmas text again, there are a few things we could learn as we look at the role of the parents of Jesus. So, today we are going to approach the Christmas text from what I would consider secondary - yet still important angle, as we look at -
The Parents’ Part in the Christmas Story
I. They did what the Law required
Luke 2:27 The parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required. The Law was written in -
Leviticus 12:2-4 “Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over.
Leviticus 12:6-8 ”‘When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting . . . two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’”
The women needed to make an offering to make themselves ceremonially clean, and at this time they were also supposed to give an offering to redeem their first born male sons back from the LORD. (Exodus 13:2, 12) Luke 2 doesn’t mention that they made an offering for Jesus, but since Jesus’ whole life was dedicated to God - perhaps they didn’t need to.
Luke calls this “coming to the temple” a CUSTOM of the Law. I don’t know if he was insinuating with those words that the law of making an offering for your son had been reduced to just a custom or not - but he does praise Joseph and Mary in vs. 39-40 for having done EVERYTHING the law required. They had Jesus circumcised at eight days. They came back to the temple at 40 days to consecrate him there to the LORD. At this age Jesus would have been around 10 to 13 pounds. Still a little guy fresh out of the oven.
With these laws God was intimately connecting the life of the newborn child to Himself. He was in fact saying that every baby boy belonged to Him - and that He needed to be respected in light of that gift. This idea of consecrating a child to the Lord seems rather foreign and strange to most Americans. When a young mother and a proud father witness the boy’s head coming out of the womb and feel his fingers for the first time - it brings out a sense of awe and wonder in most any parents eyes - maybe even thankfulness to some god out there for giving them such a gift. Yet more times than not - after the birth is done - when parents are granted a healthy baby - they keep on living as if God had no part in the equation. They forget that God caused that baby to grow in the womb and brought him out of the womb safely. All they worry about is how they are going to take care of the baby - how to juggle their schedules and still be productive - how much day care is going to cost or what kind of clothes to get the child. Their minds are so focused on taking care of the baby and how to raise the baby that they don’t think about the God who gave them the baby.