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Advent 1999 -5- The Scandal of Weakness

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Reading: Luke 2:21-40
Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Luke 2:34-35 (NIV)

I.   Did Jesus have to be Circumcised?

     A.  Born Under the Law

           1.  If Jesus was born sinless, why does He have to go through this?

                 a.  Why all this religious rigamarole?

                 b.  Why should He of all people be subject to such a strange ceremony?

           2.  Jesus becomes fully a part of God’s covenant people.

                 a.  God’s covenant with Abraham required that parents circumcise their boys.

                 b.  Jesus comes under the terms of the covenants with Abraham and Moses.

           3.  Jesus does not set aside the law given to Moses, He fulfills it.

                 a.  He fulfills all of its requirements.

                 b.  4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Galatians 4:4-5

     B.  Born a real Human

           1.  He didn’t just look human.

                 a.  One of the problems in the early church

                 b.  He really had to be carried, fed, bathed

                 c.  He had to grow physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually(?!)

           2.  Yes, Jesus had sex organs!

                 a.  He shares this part of our humanity too.

                 b.  He is like us in every way.

           3.  Jesus had physical limitations.

                 a.  He got tired, hungry, and sleepy.

                 b.  He had to wash, trim his finger nails, cut his hair, go to the bathroom.

                 c.  When they drove nails through His hands it really hurt.

     C.  First Blood

           1.  Circumcision symbolized a consecration of one’s self and offspring to the Lord.

                 a.  Circumcision was a covenant sign.

                 b.  An outward sign of inward devotion.

           2.  It was a rite of blood.

                 a.  The blood sealed the covenant.

                 b.  On this eighth day of his life, He already shed his precious blood.

II.  The Baby is Recognized

     A.  Beyond the Apparent

           1.  Simeon, inspired by the Spirit, recognizes the Baby as the Savior of God’s people.

                 a.  Beyond the his apparent weakness.

                 b.  The Spirit showed him Who Jesus was.

           2.  Anna thanks God when she sees Him.

                 a.  She also is tuned to God’s voice.

                 b.  She thanks God for this child

                 c.  She spoke to all who would listen.

           3.  Even Mary and Joseph were surprised (v.33)

                 a.  Two really old people are getting very excited about a very young boy!

                 b.  What did this old man and old woman see that they had not yet seen?

     B.  A Light for Revelation

           1.  Simeon can die happy.

                 a.  His hopes are fulfilled.

                 b.  He saw “consolation of Israel.”

           2.  Jesus is a light for revelation to the gentiles.

                 a.  Jesus will fulfill the promise to Abraham

                 b.  Salvation will be extended to all people.

           3.  He is a light for glory to Israel.

                 a.  He will bring God’s presence to Israel.

                 b.  God’s people would again be what they are meant to be.

     C.  Destined for Conflict

           1.  Jesus is destined to cause the high to fall and the low to be raised up. (v.34)

                 a.  It isn’t all smiles optimism.

                 b.  This boy will upset the apple cart.

           2.  He will be a sign “spoken against.”

                 a.  Many won’t want him or his message.

                 b.  They will malign, reject, mistreat Him.

           3.  His presence will reveal what is really in people’s hearts.

                 a.  The “light” will expose what was dark.

                 b.  Jesus cuts to the heart of the matter

III. The child Matures

     A.  Jesus Grows up (v.40)

           1.  The Savior, Light and Sign has to grow up.

                 a.  He is born Savior, but won’t save anyone for a while.

                 b.  He has to grow up first.

                 c.  For 30 years he will live like anyone.

           2.  First a long, dull, utterly normal path.

                 a.  Part of the reason he had a hard time in his home town was, they knew him.

                 b.  His identity, purpose were unnoticed

           3.  He was like us in every way. (Heb.2.17)

                 a.  All the waiting, the growing, the learning of childhood were His too.

                 b.  He grew to know who He was.

                 c.  He became who He was.

     B.  He Becomes strong (v.40)

           1.  Once He had enjoyed omnipotence.

                 a.  He was with God in the beginning.

                 b.  All things were created through him.

           2.  Now he starts out helpless.

                 a.  A dependent new-born.

                 b.  In the arms of a sinful and stubborn human race.

           3.  He gets stronger a little at a time.

                 a.  He became strong.

                 b.  He had to learn to use his muscles.

                 c.  He had to learn strength of character.

     C.  God gives Him Wisdom and Grace

           1.  He is born with a need for wisdom.

                 a.  He wasn’t born wise!

                 b.  Though he was “The Word.”

           2.  He is born with a need for God’s Grace.

                 a.  Not because of sin!

                 b.  He needed His Father’s love, goodness

           3.  Though fully God, he was fully human.

                 a.  This is the scandal: Jesus was weak.

                 b.  He enters our humanity completely.

                 c.  And so redeems us completely.

The Bottom Line:

Jesus enters our Weakness and Suffering to redeem us in our Humanness.

Hymn: R#199 Redeeming Love (v.1)

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