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The promise fulfilled

Luke 2:22-40

Pastor David Ernst

First Sunday after Christmas
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Dec 29, 2019 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In our text for today we find the last of four songs in the Gospel according to St. Luke that we use in the liturgy. We have talked with young people about the structure of our worship. Why don't we just beat our hands and sing in any language like the Pentecostal churches? Each part of the liturgy is a repetition of the written Word of God. One purpose is to memorize the best-known biblical quotes for your comfort in difficult times. But there is more.

The liturgy has two parts, the service of the Word and the service of the sacrament. In the first part, the congregation hears the preaching of the Word that is written in the Holy Scriptures. We have the promise that the Holy Spirit is active in this preaching. In the book of Isaiah, the Lord promises us that his Word comes out of his mouth and never returns without impact. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is also the work of the Holy Spirit when the congregation responds to preaching with the same Word of God. It is like an echo or reverberation of the voice of God. Because no one can confess the Lord as Savior except by the Holy Spirit. We do not want to repeat our own words, but to fix the Word of God in our hearts and minds.

Now, in his Christmas account, Lucas has given us four songs that we use today. The first one we sang on Christmas Eve. This is the Magnificat, the song of the Virgin Mary. After the announcement of the angel that she will conceive a child by the Holy Spirit, Mary visited her relative, Elizabeth, wife of the priest, Zechariah. Elisabet greeted her with the words, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb," because the child in her womb, John the Baptist, jumped in joy when Mary approached with the Lord Jesus in her womb. Then, Mary sang this song, “My soul magnifies the Lord; And my spirit rejoiced in God my Savior, because he has looked at the lowliness of his servant; and behold, from now on all generations will tell me blessed ”and more (Luke 1: 48-55).

Then, in the same chapter, after the birth of John the Baptism, we find the song of Zacharias, which we use in the service of Maitines: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people, and raised us horn of salvation in the house of David his servant, just as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets who were from the beginning of the world ”, etc. (Luke 1: 68-79).

In Luke 2:14, a choir of angels sang this song to the shepherds, which we use every Sunday as Glory in excelsos. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men"

In our text for today, we find the song of Simeon. “And when the days of her purification were fulfilled, according to the law of Moses, they brought her to Jerusalem to present to the Lord (As written in the law of the Lord: Every man who opens the womb will be called holy to the Lord ), and to offer sacrifice, according to what is said in the law of the Lord; a pair of turtledoves, or two palominos. ”The mission of Jesus Christ was to fulfill the law of Moses in all aspects. Therefore, He was circumcised and 40 days later he was presented in the temple with a sacrifice.

“And, behold, there was in Jerusalem a man named Simeon, and this man, righteous and pious, awaited the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit, that he would not see death before he saw the Christ of the Lord. And he came by the Spirit to the temple. And when the parents put the baby Jesus in the temple, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he then took him in his arms, and blessed God, saying: Lord, now you fire your servant in peace, according at your word; Because my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples; light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel. ”

Look at the faith of Simeon. He had not seen the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and most likely did not see them. He was very old and the fulfillment of Jesus' mission was 30 years in the future. Simeon prophesied to Mary when he said it, "And a sword will also pierce your very soul." However, for him it was enough to see the Infant Jesus and took in his arms.

Also Ana. “There was also Ana, a prophetess, daughter of Fanuel, from the tribe of Asher; which was of great age, and had lived with her husband seven years since her virginity; and she was a widow about eighty-four, who did not depart from the temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. And this, coming at the same time, also thanked the Lord, and spoke of Him to all who expected redemption in Jerusalem. ”

Those elders believed that in this Child all the promises God made to Abraham and the patriarchs would be fulfilled. But, above all, this descendant of Abraham would be a blessing to all nations. Because of their faith, Simeon and Ana were prepared to leave this world.

Today we see the Children in the manger and recognize our salvation. But, we have more than Simeon and Ana, because we not only have the appearance of the Infant Jesus, we have the testimony of his death and resurrection. Therefore, we thank God for the most precious Christmas gift. In Him, we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.

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