Summary: How does life work? Most people think that if you do the right stuff, good things will come to you. But that is no comfort to those of us who are well-acquainted with our ongoing faults and failures. Even as a baby, Jesus shows us how things really are. Through Jesus, God has prepared salvation for all people. God’s good things are free to us even though they cost Jesus dearly.
Big Idea: Jesus paid the full cost of salvation for all people.
Ice-breaker question: What are some things on your “bucket list,” the things that you want to see or do before you die?
Read: Luke 2:21-40
Observation (What does the passage say?)
- Why did Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple when he was 40 days old?
- What had the Holy Spirit previously revealed to Simeon?
- What did Simeon say when he saw Jesus?
- In your own words, describe Anna.
Interpretation (What does the passage mean?)
This passage refers to 3 religious rituals which took place during the first few weeks after Jesus was born. The first was Jesus’ circumcision, which was a sign of the special covenantal relationship between God and the descendants of Abraham (see Gen. 17:3-14 for more info). The second was the purification rites for Mary, which every Jewish mother had to do after giving birth (See Lev. 12:2-8 for more info). The third was Jesus, Joseph’s firstborn son, being dedicated to the Lord, which recognized that every firstborn male of the Jews, both human and animal, belonged to the Lord because he saved Israel’s firstborn males from the Plague of Death during the night of the first Passover (see Exodus 13:1-2, 11-13).
5. While still a baby, Jesus was also the Son of the Most High God (Luke 1:32) and the Messiah, the special One sent by God to save His people. Therefore, while God’s people needed the aforementioned rituals, Jesus didn’t. Yet Joseph and Mary did “everything required by the Law of the Lord” (v. 39) for Jesus. How does this make a difference in terms of Jesus being our perfect human representative?
6. The events of this passage take place a mere 40 days after the miraculous appearance of angels led shepherds to visit the newborn Jesus and worship Him in a humble stable. Now, in the Temple, the special location where God lived among His people (see Exodus 25:8-9 which refers to the Tabernacle, the forerunner of the Temple), Simeon recognizes that Jesus is the Messiah. What significance might there be to Jesus being recognized as the special One from God in the place where God dwells?
7. When Simeon said “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace” (v. 29), he was saying that he was now ready to die. What item was he now able to cross off his “bucket list”?
8. The coming of the Messiah also means conflict. Simeon said to Mary, “This child I destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed” (v. 34-35). Why would there be conflict over Jesus, when he came to win salvation for all people?
9. Simeon said to Mary, “…And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” When, in the future, would that happen?
Application (What does the passage mean to me personally?)
10. Anna was widowed and alone for many years, yet she made God’s temple and God’s Word the centre of her life. (A prophet or prophetess was someone who spoke God’s Word to others.) Being able to see the infant Jesus brought joy to her heart and she shared the news about Jesus with others. In what ways does Jesus bring you joy?
This Bible Study focuses on the same passage as the sermon on Dec 31/17 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC.