Inspiration & question – Lk. 2:21-40

Inspiration

(21) On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was given the name Jesus, the same name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

(22) When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord and to offer a sacrifice. This was in keeping with what is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male that opens the womb is to be consecrated to the Lord” and “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

(25) Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was a righteous, devout man upon whom was God’s Holy Spirit. He was waiting for the Messiah to come Israel’s aid. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Led by the Spirit, Simeon went into the temple courts and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and blessed God, saying:

(29) “Now Lord, as you have promised, you can let me, your servant, die in peace. I have seen your salvation with my own eyes, a Savior you have prepared in the sight of all nations. He is a light for revelation for all the Gentiles, and a glory to your people Israel.”

(33) The child’s father and mother were amazed at what Simeon said. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall and many to stand. He will be like a warning sign, but many will ignore him. Consequently, what many people are truly thinking in their hearts will become obvious. And in it all, your own soul will suffer as though stabbed by a knife, too.”

(36) At that very moment the very old prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, came up to them. Anna had been married seven years and had then lived as a widow for eighty-four years. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Now she began thanking God and speaking about the child to everyone who was looking forward to the Messiah’s arrival and freeing of Jerusalem.

(39) When Joseph and Mary had done everything required of them by the Lord’s Law, they returned to their own town of Nazareth in Galilee. God’s grace was on the child; he grew and became strong and increased in wisdom. (Luke 2:21-40 DSVThe child is circumcised and named)

Questions

1. Exactly what does the name “Jesus” mean? Was it a common name at the time or unusual?

2. What exactly are “the purification rites required by the Law of Moses” referred to here?

3. What was the common understanding of the time as to what the Messiah would do when he came to Israel’s aid? What variety of understandings of the Messiah’s work were current at the time?

4. Anna was a “prophetess.” Who else in Scripture is referred to as a “prophetess” and what did they do?

5. Fasting and praying are two acts of worship specified as a part of Anna’s habits in the Temple. Where else in Luke-Acts are these two habits, fasting and praying, linked together and what is happening in conjunction with them?

6. “The grace of God” was on Jesus. Where else in Scripture, particularly Luke-Acts, is God’s grace specified as being on someone? What was taking place when his grace was on someone?

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