Monday, December 26, 2011

The Untold Christmas Story

Simeon and Anna, seeing the infant Jesus in the Temple
Joseph, Mary and Jesus with Simeon and Anna

My wife and I sat down the other night to listen to a christmas sermon from David Pawson, preached I think in 1971 lol.
I title this the Untold Story because, as he pointed out, not many people know, tell or even sing the whole Christmas story. In fact some of the most important bits have been left out.
These bits are the parts where Jesus was circumcised, was taken to Jerusalem where he was met by Simeon and Anna, two amazing old people.

So what are the significance of these occurrences?

Well, they belong in the Christmas story because they occur between the shepherds and the wise men.

More importantly it is often missed out that Jesus was a JEW - he was circumcised. It is an important part of the Christmas story because it was at this occasion that Jesus became under the Mosaic law. It was the first time that Jesus shed blood for us in a sense. It was also the time that He was named Jesus, or "Saviour" in the Bible.

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.

They then took Jesus to Jerusalem where Mary offered her offering for being unclean and to dedicate Jesus as their first fruits or firstborn male to God.

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”[b]),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.”[c]

The pair of doves or two young pigeons indicated they were very poor since they could not afford the lamb that was normally sacrificed. The really interesting part to this passage is it says they went up to give Jesus to God but there is no record of them paying the price to redeem Him! as commanded by God in the law of Moses.
This possibly explains one reason why Jesus at the age of 12 said that He needed to be about his Father's business when scolded by His parents for not following them. Jesus was God's, He was the first born sacrifice to God the Father for us. He wasn't redeemed as we all are.

And then there is the beautiful story of Simeon and Anna when they met the Saviour, it really speaks for itself.

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:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss
[d] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marveled 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, 35so 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.[e] She never left the temple but worshiped 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.