What did I learn about Jesus?
- He was willing to lower himself for us.
- He came to save us from sin, not just hardship and illness.
What did I learn about disciple-making?
- Christ’s way, and thus my way, is to be self-sacrificial and willing to be humbled.
Extended thoughts and observations from Pastor Mark:
Good morning disciple-makers!
This is a very familiar passage but I’d like to focus on some of the remarkable things we learn about Jesus.
The angels gave Him a three-fold name: Savior, Christ, Lord. Many Jews believed that God would send a savior, but specifically a savior from illness or hardship. It was never understood that God would send a Sin-Savior. “Christ” is the Greek word for the Hebrew word “Messiah-anointed one,” the long-awaited deliverer sent by God and empowered by his Spirit-anointing. These two would not be unusual for Jewish understanding. But then… the final word: “Lord.” Until then, that name was usually reserved for God Himself. The announcement of the angels was that this Spirit-anointed Savior… would be God in the flesh.
That’s breathtaking enough, but look at the next verse: “You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” We take the incarnation for granted, but C.S. Lewis likens it to a human who wants to communicate with ants and so becomes an ant like them. The distance between God and human is far greater than that between human and ant. What kind of a God does this?
Again, remarkable is this: not only was he God-become-man, he also subjected himself to the limitations of humanity. Twice we read (in verse 40 and verse 52) that Jesus grew physically and in wisdom and in God’s favor and in the favor of his fellow human beings. In other words, Jesus wasn’t a fully-aware God, trapped in a baby’s body. He was completely a baby with diapers, crying, nursing, and then as a teen, acne and all the rest. Yet the story of the temple reminds us how remarkable he was… (and what a handful he must have been for his human parents in some ways).
Lastly, Jesus was presented at the temple as was the tradition (vs 23). The firstborn of every living thing always belonged to God… a reminder of the giving nature of true devotion. The firstborn animal was always sacrificed at the temple; the firstborn son was simply dedicated to the Lord at the temple since human sacrifice was forbidden by God. But you catch the irony, right? In fact, THIS firstborn son WOULD be sacrificed… only a few hundred yards from the temple mount.
Thank you for sharing in this journey. Your thoughts?