Luke 2:12-37 God makes Himself visible to all who seek Him
And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
On the 8th day of Jesus’ birth, He was brought to the temple to be dedicated to God according to the custom of the Law. When Christ was in the temple, He was met by two devout persons who have been waiting for His coming. In this episode, we are assured that God desires to reveal His Son to those who earnestly seek Him with all their heart.
Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord
The Old Testament law stipulates that every first-born male in the family whether human or animal, is to be wholly dedicated for the Lord’s purpose. God require this “payment” from the Israelites because He forced the Egyptians to release the Israelites by killing every first-born male among the Egyptians. Hence, the “payment” for Israel’s freedom is the lives of every Egyptian first-born male. By requiring the “payment” of every first-born son, God devised a way for the people to remember the price that was paid for their freedom so that they might learn gratitude and to love. Nevertheless, the males can be redeemed back into the family by a redemption price of five shekels. By paying this redemption price, the first-born male may be redeemed from the Lord’s service. According to the text, Jesus was more than just redeemed; He was dedicated solely for the Lord’s purpose, after the model of the child Samuel (1 Samuel 1-2).
… whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel
Simeon was seeking to witness for himself the arrival of the Messiah and the consolation of Israel. The Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament that He would save the people of Israel and establish God’s kingdom. The word consolation, “paraklesin” means a constant helper in the original Greek. This man had such a hunger to see the Messiah that God acceded to his request of letting him see the Christ before he died. At that very hour when the Child Jesus came to be dedicated, Simeon was let by the Spirit into the temple to see Christ for himself: And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus.
She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day
Here is another person who seeks to see Christ, this time a widow. She too was led by the Spirit at the very hour to see Christ for herself: And coming up at that very hour. The text spoke of her as a prophetess who frequently visited the temple and worshiped God with fasting and prayer. Having seen the Christ, she began to spread the good news to all who were waiting for the salvation of the people.
We express our gratitude for the sacrifice of His first-born Son by renewing our minds according God’s truth. In the Old Testament, believers express their gratitude by dedicating their first-born son for the Lord’s service. Today, having received forgiveness through Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we dedicate our lives wholly to God by transforming our mindset and values system according to His truths. Romans 12:1-2 says,
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Therefore, it is no longer just the first-born but it is required of all believers to dedicate our bodies as a sacrifice to God. This dedication unlike conforming to mere Old Testament rituals pertains to the renewal of the soul; the renewal that results in divine understanding and knowledge of God’s will. Many believers today having been baptized supposed their salvation is forever sealed and their names written in heaven, but their minds remained worldly and self-serving.
God will make Himself accessible when you seek Him with all your heart. The desire to know God is the greatest gift anyone could have. This inner desire is not something that can be taught, but it is birth out of the ability to feel gratitude. God gave His only Son to be a sin sacrifice so that we may live. The righteous respond to God’s gift by giving themselves unreservedly to serve Him. God promises to reveal Himself only to those who love and seek Him with all their heart. Jeremiah the prophet says,
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord. Jeremiah 29:13-14
For those who only wanted His blessings in order to fulfill their own selfish agenda, He keeps them at a distance. Proverbs 15:29, “The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.” Many wanted God’s presence so that they could require of Him to fulfill their personal desires. For such, God is not the end of their desire, but only a means to fulfill their desires. John 1:5 say, “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” For those who acknowledge God as Master and Lord, He reveals Himself in His full glory and commune with them in person.
Therefore, if you want to experience God as a person in a tangible, intimate and glorious manner, then you need to seek to know His mind by meditating on the word. You need to understand His plans for your life and walk in it on a daily basis. You need to feel His heart and passion towards the world around you so that you can move as one with Him. You need to develop sensitivity towards Him through your human senses. Put in a nutshell, when God thinks you are ready to receive Him, He makes Himself accessible to you through your thoughts, your intuition and your senses.
- We dedicate ourselves to God not just by doing His ministry but most importantly by first renewing our mindset to become like Christ in everyway. By reading the word and by meditating on the truth daily, we become like Christ in His virtues: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
- We become more sensitive to God’s presence and commune with Him in a profound manner each time we hear His voice and obey. As you grow to become more sensitive, you will sense the Spirit “around” you as well as “in” you. This will be the sign of the Immanuel, which is God with us.
Dear Lord, I dedicate myself to you as an instrument to fulfill your salvation plans in the world around me. Teach me daily as to what I should do and what kind of person I should be. As I seek you with all my heart, reveal yourself to me in your glory and commune with me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.