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Affirming the Faithful

Luke 2:33-35

Young parents need all the support they can get.  Mary and Joseph were bearing the responsibility of the infant Jesus while many miles away from their family in Nazareth.  Over the previous year God had spoken to them through angels, relatives and shepherds.  All the messages said the same thing: that Mary's baby was the Saviour of the world (Matthew 1:21).  But how should they bring up such a child; there was nobody around who had any experience of caring for God the Son.  The Divine pregnancy and the relocation to Bethlehem had used all their energy, but now that life was starting to sett

Faithful to the End

Luke 2:36-38

Anna was an old woman.  Married for only seven years, what would her life become after her husband's death?  Luke tells us that she did not marry again or carry on a trade: she was on a unique mission.  She committed herself to a lifestyle of worship, fasting and prayer.  But this was not quiet minded pietism; it was all in preparation for the one big event of her life.  She was a woman God could trust to recognise and announce the Truth.  She did not know when that moment would come; but when it came, she knew it was time to step forward to meet God’s Messiah.

From Law to Grace

Luke 2:39-40

Luke reminds us for the fifth time that Joseph and Mary had done everything for Jesus that God's law demanded (Luke 2:22-24; Luke 2:27).  Christ was not above God's law; He was born under its authority, but He was the only person who could fully keep it.  He chose to place Himself under the law in order to redeem us from the curse which the law pronounces on sinners (Galatians 3:13). As Galatians 4:4-5 says, "But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship."

True to God's Word

Luke 2:41-42

The Bible has only one story about Jesus as a boy.  This is it.  It starts by telling us that Mary and Joseph took God's Word seriously.  The Old Testament was their guide to relating with God, with its instruction that every male must attend three festivals in Jerusalem each year: the feasts of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 16:16).  Women were welcome, as were children when they could understand (Nehemiah 8:2).

Not Lost but Found

Luke 2:43-47

Most parents can relate to the anxiety of not knowing where their child is.  After the Feast of Passover, all the pilgrims returned to their homes.  For those from Nazareth it was at least three days walking.  They would have travelled together, partly in fellowship and partly for security against the threat of robbers (Luke 10:30).  The men and women would talk in separate groups; the girls and young boys travelling with the women, and older boys with the men.  But in the year before manhood, the twelve-year-old Jesus was probably in-between groups.  Presumably, Mary thought He was with Jo

Hearing without Understanding

Luke 2:48-50

This passage is filled with paradoxes and should leave us asking a big question.  After all the extraordinary events around the birth of Jesus, family life seems to have settled into 'normality'.  When Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the temple after three days being 'lost', Mary scolded her son, reprimanding Him for not treating them with respect.  She refers to Joseph as His father and angrily expresses her fear of losing Him.  Jesus, in the same way in which He had been asking penetrating questions of the religious professors, now asks Mary why they did not assume that He would be in the

Learning Obedience

Luke 2:51-52

Learning is different to both teaching and understanding.  The person who has learned something is able to demonstrate that the teaching has been understood, by taking the appropriate action.  Hebrews 5:8 says that principle also applied to Jesus, ‘Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered’. That did not mean that Jesus was ignorant of His mission to die on the cross - but that until He had done it, He had not 'learned' what He knew.

Non-fiction Gospel

Luke 3:1-3

Why should anybody, seeking truth, read a catalogue of ancient names?  Luke wanted to find and transmit facts about Jesus (Luke 1:1-4).  All true events take place at a specific time in a specific place.  So, Luke's attention of historical detail gives us confidence to refute those who falsely claim that the Bible is not true.  Many of the characters in Luke's book were still alive when it was published; if it were not true, they could say so.  Paul also appeals to living witnesses to verify the resurrection appearances of the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).  

Straight Forward Salvation

Luke 3:4-6

John the Baptist was on a mission.  It was not his idea; there was no self-interest in pursuing a long-cherished ambition.  God had commissioned him before his birth (Luke 1:13-17).  So, before Luke narrates what John did, he tells us John’s job specification.  About 700 years previously, Isaiah the prophet had written about a person who would announce God's Messiah.  That man would preach urgently about the need to get all the obstacles out of the way so that the Saviour would be welcomed (Isaiah 40:3-11).  That was John's divine appointment.

Welcoming Warning

Luke 3:7-8

John the Baptist might not have been appreciated as a visiting preacher today.  There is no evidence of any universal smile and warm handshake to affirm all who came to his meetings.  Today's passage shows the opposite of the caricatured 'please everybody' pastor.  Far from making everybody feel good after their dusty trek to the baptismal site, he rebukes some of them.  Instead of offering soft soothing words of comfort, John calls them snakes in the grass - the undercover agents of the devil (Revelation 12:9).  That was a strong criticism of religious people, but justified for those who d