Reading: Luke 2:21-38; Matthew 2:1-12
Summary: Following Jesus’ birth some matters of religious importance had to be tended to. On the eighth day He was to be circumcised and on the fortieth day He was to be presented in the temple with appropriate sacrifices for purification. Luke tells of these events and the individuals whom God’s Spirit led to meet the Christ child there.
Much more familiar to us is the visit of the wise men. This event would have taken place several months following Jesus’ birth (possibly up to two years), not at the manger as common “nativity” scenes depict.
A Right Emphasis
The birth of Jesus is surely one of the best-known portions of all of Scripture. Everybody knows about baby Jesus in the manger. Well, at least we know parts of the story.
Luke’s account tells us about Joseph and Mary’s visit to the temple to take care of purification rites when the child was but forty days old. While there they had memorable encounters with two elderly saints, directed by Gods’ Spirit to come at that time in order to personally witness the Lord’s salvation. Why isn’t this as well known as the visit of the wise men?
Obviously, the emphasis given to the biblical account of Jesus’ birth has not been even-handed. Can that be a good thing? Hardly.
This should serve as a warning to us in regard to how we handle any and all of the biblical message. There is the traditional emphasis and there is the actual emphasis. Obviously, falling into the traditional patterns of thinking, interpreting, and applying the Bible is the easiest; but it’s not the best.
Thoughtful, concentrated, fresh, and clear consideration of the biblical text is not easy. But it is most rewarding.
Why not adopt, as best we can, the same emphasis as the Bible?