Lesson 4 -- first quarter 2005
December 26, 2004
© Copyright 2004, Christian Light Publications
Probing Your Own Heart
Is knowing Jesus your source of joy?
Do you declare Him to be the redemption many need?
Building on Some Foundational Concepts
Live by the Spirit to be at the right place at the right time.
Anna and Simeon had such an honor, such a blessing, such a privilege! Talk about being at the right place at the right time! We must not be so swept away by that so as to miss the truth that their glorious experience capped a life of faithful attention to God's Spirit. The less we walk in the Spirit, the more we will fail to be at the right places at the right times. Among the many verses that fit here are these and their context: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:1,5,8).
Jesus is consolation and redemption, light and glory.
The world in which we live knows increasing depths of sin, despair, corruption, hopelessness, and darkness. We know (hopefully to increasing depths and heights) He Who was the "consolation in Israel" and the "redemption in Jerusalem." Because of that, we can survive and flourish in this corrupt world. Shall we not then declare Him to those who do not yet know Him? May His light and glory flood out from us to encompass others who need Him.
Age is no hindrance to Christian service.
"She was of a great age...but served God with fastings and prayers night and day" (Luke 2:36,37). It is to our own peril and the hindrance of our own service when we who are younger and "more active" overlook or disregard this service of the elderly.
Questions and Responses
How could the Lord be presented to the Lord?
Nothing is too difficult or impossible for our triune God. Our lesson presents the record of two mere mortals carrying God made flesh in the form of an infant to present Him before the God of Israel. Amazing? Yes! Mind boggling? Of course? An impossible contradiction? Not at all!
Why was it necessary for Jesus to be presented in the temple as a normal, "run of the mill" firstborn son?
Years later, when John the Baptist balked at baptizing Jesus, insisting their roles in that should be reversed, Jesus answered him patiently, "Allow it to be this way this time, John, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15).
In the same way, even though Jesus was already perfect and holy, presenting Him before the Lord was the right thing to do. That is how it was "written in the law of the Lord" (Luke 2:23) and how it was "after the custom of the law" (Luke 2:27).
Doing this was necessary so His parents would be in compliance with God's Law. And having this done was necessary as part of His mission to fulfil the law and the prophecies.
Is there a place for the really aged in the work of the Church?
As Anna, they can serve God with fastings and prayers. Like Simeon, they can bless and encourage others. As Anna, they can give a witness for the Redeemer. And like Simeon, they can pass along vision to the younger generation.
As I write this, I realize again that I know all that intellectually but do little to avail myself of it practically. My home congregation has quite a few elderly members, but do I ask them to pray for me? Do I seek out their counsel and their vision? Do I try to tap into any blessing and encouragement God may have for me through them?
Is that foolish or what?!
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