Thursday, 29 October 2015

Daily Reading: Luke 2v21-40 'Everyday devotion'

"21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord’), 24 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’.29 30 31 32 
25 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 on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 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, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
    which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel.’
33 The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him. 34 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, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.’
36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him."

This passage is full of servants of God, not the glitz and glamour celebrity type servants, the ones we instantly think of, but the ones who God knew and God declares to be faithful.  The best known are Mary and Joseph, here we see them careful to observe circumcision and Jesus naming.  (22)When the time comes they take Jesus down for his purification, and offer the sacrifices the law demands(24).  And this little section ends with (39-40) a summary that "Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord."   They are obedient parents who love God.  Their obedience here is every bit as important as their obedience earlier in the chapter when they angelic visitors, but this is a more low key everyday obedience, it is devotion to God made visible in the everyday.

The lesser know servants here are Simeon and Anna.  Simeon is described as "righteous and devout", he has lived waiting, trusting God's word, expectant that he would see the Messiah.  He waits, he listens, he obeys, he rejoices in the coming of the Saviour.  A quiet everyday one foot after the other obedience.  And Anna is devoted to God, she never left the temple but worshipped God day and night.  Another day by day servant.

And what is it that unites all these everyday servants of God, what inspires such devotion?  This child, Jesus.  God's salvation made man.  The one who comes to reveal hearts, yet who will cause his mother great heartache as he goes to the cross.  The one worthy of such devotion.

We often think obedience, devotion is seen in the big moments, the big decisions.  Perhaps this is a reminder that our everyday decision matter just as much to God.  How is my everyday faithfulness?  Am I keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus, the one for whom such devotion is his due?  Is my every day centred around faithfulness to him who was and is faithful to me?

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