WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
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DEDICATION OF THE FIRST BORN
(JESUS presented in the temple)
The Jews had a saying that, in the birth of every child there are three parents, the father, the mother, and the HOLY SPIRIT of GOD. They believed that no child could be born without the SPIRIT. I believe that too. And it may well be that Old and New Testament stories of child birth are little more than just lovely and poetic ways of saying, that, whether our child is born of a high calling or not, the HOLY SPIRIT of GOD is operative in that child’s birth in a very special way. And for men, while it may not make life easier, child birth has always been what makes men great. And as for women, the paradox of child birth represents, perhaps, the greatest pain, that is followed immediately by the greatest joy, she will ever have to experience in life.
In Luke chapter 2, taking up at verse 21, we see that eight days after JESUS was born, HE was circumcised according to the Jewish Rite, and covenant with GOD. Baby JESUS’ name had already been given to HIM by the archangel Gabriel before HE was even conceived by the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:31).
When it was time for the “Purification Offering”, which, according to Law is one month after the birth of a first son (Exodus 13:2 & 12), Joseph and Mary took Baby JESUS to Jerusalem to dedicate HIM to the LORD. The Law of Moses requires that if a woman’s first child is a male, he must be presented to the LORD GOD of Israel at a purification and baby dedication ceremony at the temple. The parents must also bring, either a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons as a sacrifice offering to the LORD.
There was a righteous and devout man of GOD named Simeon, who was filled with the HOLY SPIRIT, and who had waited patiently on the LORD for many years, just so he could see the MESSIAH WHO would come to rescue Israel, and indeed, the whole world, from the grip of their own sin. The HOLY SPIRIT had already revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the MESSIAH with his own eyes.
On the day that Mary and Joseph came to the temple, the HOLY SPIRIT led Simeon there so that GOD’s promise would be fulfilled. Simeon took Baby JESUS into his arms and praised GOD, and proclaimed the words of Scripture contained in Luke 2:29-32, that have came to be known as “The Nunc Dimittis” from the Latin Vulgate, which is interpreted, “Now let me depart”. There Simeon declares;
“LORD, now I can die in peace! As YOU promised me, I have seen the SAVIOR YOU have given to all people. HE is a light to reveal GOD to the nations, and HE is the glory of YOUR people Israel!” (NLT)
Joseph and Mary, of course, were amazed at what Simeon had proclaimed about their SON, JESUS. Simeon then blessed the couple and further said to Mary,
“This CHILD will be rejected by many in Israel, and it will be their undoing. But HE will be the greatest joy to many others. Thus, the deepest thoughts of many will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul”
Here the Prophet Simeon is informing Mary that she would be emotionally torn by the coming opposition to her SON JESUS, by both the professed Church, and by the World. JESUS would later manifest HIMSELF as the very source of our salvation, and that salvation would be extended, not only to the Jews, but to the Gentiles of the world also. JESUS would come to be known as “the SAVIOR of the whole world”, and not just the world of HIS earthly generation. HIS salvation offer would also extend to every generation, past present, and future, who would ever live, in the history of this world.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website