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Ministry on the gospel of Luke - Keith Sherwood

 

Chapter 2 Identifies the time of the great census. Many say it happened later. But an ancient census could not be held on a single day. Instead, it was fixed by registration in your family city, or place of birth, that way the data could be collected over the years, collated, sent to Rome and registered. So at times certain events are ordered in heaven that the divine purposes might be fulfilled. God has a, foretold in detail plan, that men might believe and every detail has to come true that we might recognize the Christ.

 

There was never an Inn in Bethlehem, the Greek word used is 'upper room' The houses in the hill area of Judah where the upper room for living, lower room for animals and agricultural tools. In winter the animals would give heat to the upper room. This is not winter, the flocks are in the pasture. Birth is a private affair, so the lower room is cleaned and converted into a living area for Joseph and Mary, the manger would be padded, lined and the perfect place for the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes

 

Bethlehem would have plenty of vegetation for sheep, it was a farming area Ruth 2 v 2.. The shepherds were real, they accepted the angelic message, they found the parents and the Lord.

 

The message is very fitting for it is the doctrine of the church (John 3 v 16)  I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.

 

The narrative also fits the fact that our Lord was born in the Lower part of a house in Bethlehem ‘ a babe in a manger’ which would be unusual and in all the world one would never find such devoted parents, the riches of God are theirs for Mary has given birth to the incarnate Son of God and they both Joseph and her know it, it is not the shepherds alone who are exited and praise God – the gentle maiden Mary concentrating on her tasks of motherhood, holds in her arms and presses to her the suckling Son of God and wonders in her heart at the great mystery of God manifest in the flesh, She is in awe at the shepherds visit – precious moments which she will turn over and over in her heart until the day she breathes her last, in all the world that she alone should experience so much of the glory of God – The word of God has great respect for her, nearly thirty times she is referred to as ‘His mother,, that relationship that is hers alone, is never diminished, how she suffered in her heart beneath Calvary’s cross and wondered at God’s salvation – if she had a unique privilege and is so devoted, so it was it would be hard to think of any disciple could be more devoted in true humility than she – such a gentle person.

 

 Luke sticks to His major point, they told all they could (verse 17 and 18).

 

The event was well known in the city and the surrounds. Rome had a legend – its founders were nursed by a she wolf, they were found and brought up by a shepherd, one killed the other brother. Shepherds – real shepherds found the Lord of Lords and King of Kings who will bring about the only real 'eternal city' that the saints seek Heb 11 v 10 & 16

 

The eighth day the next great day for the Jewish boy – the bringing Him to the temple to be circumcised, according to law and custom.

 

In Simeon's statements he puts the light to the gentiles before the glory of  your people Israel – the order might be important, but the two cannot be separated from those who believed the Christ of Israel have brought the gospel to us gentiles. In the millennium Israel as a nation will fulfil that role. Saul (Paul) who speaks of himself as born before due time 1 Cor 15 v 8 exactly replicates Israel in the future in this sequence:- he was saved because he saw the Lord, (not through the preaching of the gospel preached by the Christians) in the brightness of manifested glory and light, he owned Christ as Lord, he taught the gentiles. Simeon has seen in scripture the sufferings of Christ and he warns Mary about how her heart will be pierced by sorrow – I think he is unique in this, meditation only reveals the truth of scripture, not text books, systematic theology or commentaries – meditate on scripture for a correct ministry.

 

It is the eighth day of the incarnate Son of God carried into the temple. Eight the number of a new week, new era, the resurrection day, etc. is a feature in this narrative.

 

Simeon a picture of the church - It is not until the Lord is circumcised (the eighth day) that the man Simeon (whose age is not told) speaks. It is evident he has meditated on the word of God and seen Calvary (Ps 22 Is 53 and in so many other scriptures), I assume in all its horror and its purpose. What he says to Mary reveals this, for he knows the deep sorrow she will experience at Calvary. His name 'Simeon' means 'one who hears and obeys' – It is Characteristic of the church that they are saved through hearing (and not seeing) and loving the Lord. Through the scripture he has discovered the truth of the first advent - as such he represents all who believe in the crucified Saviour. Simeon's characters is the character of the church, the church that is satisfied with Christ alone and sees death as the gateway to heaven and have no investment in the world (for we do not hope for a kingdom on earth, but to be taken up to be with Him). We are those who, having come to know Christ are also willing to die for Him. Now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation.

 

 

Anna of Asher, the eighth son of Jacob..Anna means grace. Asher means Happy, Eighth equals a new day. Anna speaks to all those who are with her in her belief of the word of God - of the new day of redemption for Israel through this one. She is a temple character, having been a prophetess there night and day for it seems eighty four years (although there is doubt about whether eighty four  refers to her age or to her time of widowhood, it seems to more likely to her widowhood).

 

 Eighty four is not a significant number in scripture, but it does relate to two the approximate. Time of two things

1) Almost the combined reigns of all the Herods as client Kings over Israel

 2) The time that the rebuilt temple would have been in use, this means Anna has been continually serving in fasting, prayers and prophecy before and since Herods great rebuilt Temple was usable. But this time, eighty four years, also coincide with reasonable accuracy with hypocritical religion led by Priests who are part of the fabric of the political system set up by Rome under the Herods. The priests love position, had a reputation for being corrupt more than spirituality - the proof of this is their rejection of The Lord, His crucifixion, their persecution of the apostles and their pleasure at James being beheaded.

 

Anna is genuine;  not only everyone in Israel knows her, but all the Jews dispersed among the nations Jews also. Since Herod built his temple, she has been the true spiritual influence, longing for the messiah and the kingdom. What a ministry, men fail, but not Anna

 

It is to those, who during these barren years of no spiritual leadership by the Priests. The Priests were Sadducees (stricter in observance of the law than the Pharisees, but rejected the resurrection, angels and spirits. They therefore rejected a future for Israel under the Messiah (we have such in the church today), with its belief in the bodily resurrection of all of faith who ever lived. Sadducees were immensely rich and powerful. Anna was the beacon of light and truth (I am assuming for 84 years) in the temple and amongst all the visitors were those spiritually minded who loved her ministry, her happy enthusiasm over all these years, many now being the children of parents who loved Anna and her words and the Lord. To these little happy flock she now with radiance declares I have seen the messiah - he is growing up amongst us - she in line with being, of the eighth from Jacob, looks to the kingdom and the glory that would follow the suffering – the kingdom fills her vision, the suffering fills Simeon’s vision. It is a female trait to be faithful when others fail; here is one who is a minister of his word and its true intent.

 

Again, Luke makes his major point – this happened, this is witnessed to, it is not a made up story

 

Verse 41 bar Mitzvah, the next major event in a Jewish boy's life, but it turns out not to be a private affair, as the missing Lord amazes the teachers. And all who heard Him. His panicked parents find Him and will never forget his words

 

Again, Luke drives home his major point, it happened; it is remembered and no doubt was a favourite memory told to the church by Mary. Not a made up story.

 

To this we could add the next major event in a Jewish man's life when he turned thirty . To be invited by the ruler of his home synagogue to, for the first time..

 

Time to read and comment on the scripture, the event is recorded In Luke 4  v 16 – 37

 

Luke again makes his main point  in v 36 – 37 Nothing was done in a corner, everything is verifiable; and this is why the church believes that Mary's son,  Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, very God

 

The Lords  baptism by John;- I think it is without dispute a defining and life changing moment for the Lord (as it was for those baptized Acts 19 v 1 – 7 best describes that).So with the Lord, while He prays the Holy Spirit descends upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice from heaven declares this is my beloved Son

 

.We must ask the question. Why?  What difference does this make, for what purpose does the Spirit descend upon the Son of God who has the fullness God? - What is the significance.?

 

Notice who he has been under 2 v 51 he continued in subjection to them (that is, His parents) it is not just the humility as he grew as infant, boy, and man his submission to the correctness of the child/parental order is perfect – ours never is. Now this changes and the Son of God when entering His ministry is not acting as the second person of the trinity who executes the will of His father through the agency of the third person, 'The Holy Spirit Gen 1 v 2 -  the order is reversed, he now is no longer under His parents but in everything he is Led by the Spirit of God .So His words , travels and actions are under the control of the Father through the agency of the Spirit of God – so we read 4 v 1 Full of the Holy Spirit returned from Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness.

 

This does not change until the ascended Lord sends the Spirit, according to the Father to indwell the believers John 14v 16 , 26, 20 v 22,Acts1 v 5 & 8  Luke 24 v 49 gives clarity in the context of Luke

 

As the Spirit is the agency that works with creation as determined by the will of the Father and at the command of the Son, that order is again resumed upon ascension and the Son sends the Spirit to us and to Him we must submit, as our Lord did when on earth, as a bond  servant.

 

The Holy Spirit descending upon Him was not symbolic only, but a revelation and marked the moment when He who created all things begins His ministry in complete obedience to the Father utterly under the control of the Spirit of God

John 5:19  Therefore, Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

 

Text Box: John 5:20For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.

 

 

 

 

John 12 v 49 For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.

 

Text Box: John 12:50I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”

 

How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?