The Times They are a Changin (Luke 2)
The Times, They are a Changin’
Luke 2:22–40 - And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 2:23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord . . . 2:25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. ... 2:36 And there was a prophetess, Anna . . . And she never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. 2:38 And at that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
1) Change Comes to those who Live Faithfully, Humbly and in Community (2:22-24, 39-40). Jesus is brought to the temple according to the Law (Lev. 12). This shows the fidelity of Mary and Joseph to the “then revealed” Word of God vv22-23. They did not bypass this historic era into the new covenant. The lived faithfully in it. They also lived humbly as their offering of birds rather than lambs indicates v24. At the end of this passage, we see that they valued and/or needed their home town community enough that “they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth” v39. Jesus grew up in an ordinary (if not despised) hometown and community.
2) Change Comes to those who Walk Righteously, Wait Patiently, and Live Spiritually (2:25-35). Simeon was righteous, longing for “the consolation of Israel” and He was led of the Spirit v25. The change he awaited would bring light to the Gentiles and glory to Israel v32, after the night of exile. It will also bring the change of gospel antithesis, the rising of some and the fall of others v34. That is, Jesus will cause division, or “a sword” in Israel as well as to his own mother’s heart.
3) Change Comes to those who Endure Steadfastly, Serve Continuously and Praise Thankfully (2:36-38). Anna is another waiting witness. Like Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, and Isaiah’s wife, she is a prophetess, a widow indeed (a protestant nun). Just as Elizabeth and Mary previously, Luke balances the male and female representatives of the faithful. This foreshadows the new covenant expansion. Light comes to the nations without preference and both genders receive the grace of this light and become light bearers. She becomes one of the first evangelists, just as woman witnesses at the empty tomb do so later (24:10).
Exhortation: We all need the change in our lives that comes from Christ, the “Light of the Nations.” The people to whom this change first came are our examples in this text. As the trusted in God’s promises and obeyed His Word, they realized change that would impact all the world.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more