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October 31, 2021 12:01 am
Simeon was promised by God that he would not die until he saw the Messiah with his own eyes. Continuing his series in the gospel of Luke today, R.C. Sproul examines the song this old man sang when he finally looked into the face of the baby Jesus.
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We read in Luke's gospel Jesus parents took him to the temple to be circumcised. The simian one over and arrested Mary and Joseph, and he took the baby from them into his arm and under the influence of the Holy Spirit began to sing a new song. One of the greatest of the New Testament, him celebrating God's salvation is great encouragement to Mary and Joseph to hear simian's on Angels. It appeared to them before Jesus, claiming him to be the Messiah.
They may have been plagued with many questions but there in the temple on the eighth day of Jesus life prophecy from an old man confirmed everything they heard about their young son today on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul continues his study of Luke chapter 2 and one a day's work waited for the circuit vision of the trial.
His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb now in the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought him to Jerusalem to present them to the Lord as it is written in the law of the Lord, every male who opens the womb shall be called holy. For the Lord and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, and behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel and the Holy Spirit was upon him, and is been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ so he came by the Spirit into the temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him.
According to the custom of the law. He took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, Lord, now let your servant apart in peace, according to your word for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel, Joseph and his mother marveled at those things that were spoken of him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, behold, this child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against, yes, the sword will pierce through your own soul also in the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed and there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Van UL of the tribe of Asher.
She was of great age and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity and this woman was a widow, about 84 year's who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day and coming in that instant she gave thanks the Lord and spoke of him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. Sometimes I approach the border of insanity.
Some of you think that I frequently transgress that border. But taking all of this text and try to preach on it in one sermon is a testimony to my mental weakness. I'll probably not make it through with all of this today but I will endeavor to do it.
This is a glorious text that the Lord has given us through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost and it concludes with at the portrait of one of my favorite characters in all of the Bible. Simeon, who sings in this text, the fifth of the infancy songs that Luca gives us that a test of the glory of the incarnation of the second person of the Trinity. This is God's word for you.
The people of God receive it with all of your heart. Let us pray. Now our father as we look at this passage that the scribes this moment in the history of the life of Jesus, which is a moment full of significance for the life of your church. We pray that we may be enlightened and edified by the words we read and it for we ask it in Jesus name, amen. His name was Indian Joe not a character conceived by Mark Twain, but this fellow named Indian Joe was a an interval part of the folklore of the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the decade of the 40s and into the 50s.
Now, as part of the mythology surrounding this personage. He was known as Indian Joe but in all likelihood he was not an Indian and probably was not even named Joe.
I have to interrupt myself.
Like have you ever heard of it here from Pittsburgh and not aware of this character. Now the McCanns are away this weekend. I'm sure that they remember Indian Joe. He was an institution in the city of Pittsburgh and that day that what Indian Joe dad was the directed traffic on Route 51 at a intersection just past the liberty tubes that connected downtown Pittsburgh to the southern hills of that municipality.
It was a harmless man who stood by this traffic light and intersection every afternoon at rush hour helping the traffic to make the right moves even stand out in the road. He stood beside the road by the traffic light and when the light turned green, Indian Joe would motion the traffic to come on now it's time and he would just keep the traffic moving and when the light turned red. They would raise his hand and stopped the traffic along the route he wasn't breaking any law. Nobody bothered him. The police let them alone the city officials spoke not against him. But everybody assumed an intro was crazy as a bedbug.
I saw him many many times as a boy and all the visitors who pass that way when inquire about this strange fellow and then one day Joe wasn't there.
He was gone and we never saw time again as a boy I used to scratch my head and said I wonder what ever happened to Indian Joe you know I still don't know whatever happened to Indian Joe as that have to do with the tax that we just read while trying what has that with every time I read this text about Simeon is one of my favorite characters, as I said, I think of Indian Joe.
The Bible doesn't tell us everything associated with Simeon only that he was a man of great devotion that he was a righteous man, and that God had given him special revelation as a layperson, God was pleased to say to this, presumably elderly man that he would not die until first, he laid eyes upon the promised Messiah. As you give me the preacher's license to use my imagination a little bit this morning.
I don't know how often he came to the temple to check things out, but I assume that Simeon came almost every day looking for the Messiah looking for what the Scriptures tell us was the constellation of Israel notice.
This is another one of those titles that is given to Jesus here in the early chapters of the gospel according to St. Luke, the cheeses was called the Messiah who would bring God's consolation to a suffering people and I'm sure that after several years of waiting, as Abraham had to wait for the fulfillment of the promise that he would have a son with his wife Sarah. That's Simeon became a fixture and part of the folklore of first century Jerusalem and on the first century Jerusalem was already over a thousand years old and it was already a major tourist destination in the whole world sporting one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The temple built by Herod and so multitudes thousands, tens of thousands of people would come as pilgrims into Jerusalem to look at the holy city, and to look at this temple and I had tour guides.
They didn't have buses may be special chariots that were multi-seated that people could take tours of the city of Jerusalem at that time, but I'm sure that the tour guides would go along and they would point out that the great building edifice that had been accomplished by Herod the great and then people would save but who's that fella over there who's that old man that's hanging around the temple and they would laugh and say well he's not exactly Indian Joe but he's kind of a forerunner of that poor fella this guys a little bit detached and I had the comes around here every day thinking that he's going to actually see the Messiah, the constellation of his. I don't know if that's true, but I'm convinced that he was an object of derision of scorn. The people laughed at this old man said Simeon what are you doing I'm going to see the Messiah, the constellation of his who are you doing it will because God told me that I was not going to die until I actually laid eyes upon his anointed one. And finally the day came when the spirit of God came upon Simeon and brought him to the temple at exactly the same time that Mary and Joseph brought their infant child for his presentation at the end of the 40 days of purification for Mary after childbirth. But before we look at what happened that day when we see this meeting between Simeon and Mary and Joseph. Let's backpedal just for a second and say why were they there in the first place.
We look here at the beginning of the section that I read that when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the child. His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb that one simple statement. One sentence tells us that first of all eight days after the birth of Jesus. He was circumcised. People raise their eyebrows at that and they say why in the world with the Lord Jesus Christ have to submit to this ritual.
This Old Testament ritual of circumcision that what was given to Abraham and to his seed as a sign of God's covenant promise. The apostle Paul tells us in the fourth chapter of Romans that the sign of circumcision included, among other things, the sign of that righteousness, which was by faith in this ritual, which was a cutting rights. It had a two fold significance.
On the one hand, those who were circumcised symbolically work cut off from the rest of the world. The world of paganism the world of idolatry and set apart and consecrated to be a part of the covenant people of God but also the sign of circumcision was the sign of a person through the grace of this covenant having his sin removed from himself, just as the foreskin of his flesh had been removed ceremonial and that raises the question should Jesus be circumcised. He wasn't born with original sin. Jesus was perfectly sinless from the moment of his conception to the moment of his death, but the Scriptures tell us that the Lord Jesus was born under the law, and everything that the law required of Israel was required of Israel's Redeemer and Israel's champion and so it was necessary as devout parents that Joseph and Mary would see to it that their firstborn son would be circumcised just in passing, I remind you that in the old covenant, which, among other things, was a sign of salvation which came only through faith. Circumcision did not automatically confer salvation again Paul labors that point in his letter to the Romans. Many Jews believe that just because they were circumcised, they were automatically saved. Faith or no faith, no, the doctrine of justification by faith. Paul tells us was not an innovation in the New Testament but is the same way Abraham was saved in the Old Testament, and that covenant promise came to adults in the Old Testament only after they made a profession of faith, but God mandated that that same sign be given to their children before their children were even capable of professing faith because the sign was not a sign of their faith.
It was the sign of God's promise of salvation to all who believe. That's why for 2000 years the children of Old Testament believers were included in receiving the sign of the covenant, and that can change in the New Testament God given new, lunch at a new sign. The sign of baptism and required that only those who made profession of faith as adults could receive that sign, but their children were to receive it as we see in the book of boxes.
I mentioned a few weeks ago with the household baptism that principal of family solidarity remained intact and was never abrogated, never repealed.
That's why we think it's very important, not just optional that the children of believers receive the sign of the new covenant, which is the sign of the promise of salvation to all who believe in no more. Does baptism convey salvation than circumcision did in the Old Testament, but it's a sign of the promise of God in our own Lord as an infant, received the sign of the covenant of circumcision in his time the circumcision wasn't the only thing that had to be followed in Old Testament law, but also there had to be the what was called the presentation of the firstborn son in the temple, which was accompanied by the giving of sacrifices usually the slaying of a lion, and only in cases of extreme poverty could the birds be substituted as a sacrifice and you might draw the conclusion, since birds are used here in the presentation of Jesus at the temple that Joseph was living in abject poverty. Not necessarily so, but it was probably very expensive for him to common bring his child and his wife for this time a presentation in Jerusalem and he was allowed to use this principle of offering the birds instead of the Lamb.
But this presentation was assigned of the redeeming of the people think of it this symbolically before he redeemed his people from sentence the baby Jesus experienced the sign of that redemption himself.
The Redeemer and following the law had to be redeemed before he could ever save anyone. So those were the legal circumstances, the requirements of the law that brought Joseph and Mary with the baby Jesus to the temple and they came there in the same moment Simeon comes and we read when the parents brought the child Jesus to do according to the customer.
The law Simeon went over and arrested Mary and Joseph, and he took the baby from them into his arm and under the influence of the Holy Spirit began to sing a new song. The note met us one of the greatest of the New Testament, him celebrating God salvation again the beginning words of the song in Latin are taken from the original words of the song itself. This old man.
Simeon is holding the baby to express any singing the song, not how now X thou thy servant depart in peace for mine eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared before the face of all people mine eyes have seen that light, which will be a revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of his distinctly certain I've seen it freedom. I've looked into the face of my Savior have to wait to watch them grow and nurture and admonition of the Lord not only to watch him in his public ministry listening to his teaching are watching the miracles he performed. I don't need to see the transfiguration. I don't have to be an eyewitness of the atoning death on the cross of his resurrection from the death scene. All I ever need to see in his face. I see the light of salvation. God's promises people constantly. We've been waiting for. And that's the kind of faith we all should have not seen Christ, but we believe in him we print some great encouragement today is Dr. RC Sproul continues his series from the Gospel of Luke, I'm Lee Webb and were glad you joined us on this Lord's day addition of Renewing Your Mind each Sunday were making our way through this gospel account of Jesus life and ministry is a series that comprises more than 100 sermons. All mining the depths of this great book and when you contact us today with a donation of any amount will provide a helpful study companion for you as you continue your study of Luke.
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Next week we will continue to scroll sermon series from learning about the boy Jesus talking to the teachers in the temple. It's an amazing account and I hope you will be with us here on Renewing Your Mind