Here, we have the naming of the Baby (Luke 2:21). His Name was given to Him by God. His Name is Jesus - "Jesus! Name of wondrous love." His Name is the Name of our salvation. His Story is the Story of our salvation.
Following on from the story of His birth, we have the first step towards the Future, His future, our future in Him. We are pointed in the direction of this future by two people who had waited for the coming of the Saviour - Simeon and Anna. For both Simeon and Anna, the past (the time of waiting) had come to an end and the future (the time of salvation) had begun. The end of the old, the beginning of the new - This is particularly relevant at the beginning of a New Year. The New Year is not only a change in the number of the year. It's a time when the Lord is inviting us to put the past behind us and move into the future with Him.
As we move forward with God, we can learn from Simeon and Anna. In the welcome given to Christ by Simeon and Anna, we learn that the Story of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, is a Story of revelation, resurrection and redemption.
- In Christ, there is revelation.
- In Christ, there is resurrection.
- In Christ, there is redemption.
God has revealed Himself to us. He has spoken His Word to us. Jesus Christ is His living Word. God has made Himself known to us. He has shown to us the way of salvation. Jesus Christ is "the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6). He is the Way without which there is no going. He is the Truth without which there is no knowing. He is the Life without which there is no living. This is revelation. This is God making Himself known to us. We are not left groping around in the darkness, trying to find our own way back to God. Jesus is the Way to God. We are not left in a state of confusion - the confusion of uncertainty. we have received a revelation of God's truth - Jesus Christ is the Truth. we are not left without hope. God has given us hope for the future. Jesus is our Hope. In Him, we have life - eternal life.
None of us knows what each year will bring into our lives. There may be hard times ahead of us. we have no guarantee that our life will be easy. In Jesus Christ, we have a Saviour who enables us to look beyond our present circumstances to our glorious, heavenly destiny. Jesus Christ is "the Resurrection and the Life" (John 11:25). By ourselves, left to our own devices, we fall into sin, we fall away from God. With Christ as our Saviour, we are raised to newness of life (Romans 6:4). Through faith in Him, we receive God's gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23). Christ is our life - not only for this life here on earth. He is our life - for all eternity in heaven.
The future towards which we look forward, through faith in Jesus Christ, is not only a future which is summed up in the greeting, "Happy New Year." It is a future which is summed up in the word, "redemption." This is a word which teaches us that true happiness is not found in ourselves. true happiness is found in Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. In Him, we have "eternal redemption." This redemption has been secured for us by the shedding of the precious blood of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. we have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). We have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). Through Jesus Christ our Saviour, crucified and risen for us, God is calling us on to heavenly and eternal glory.
At the time of Christ's presentation at the Temple, the Story of revelation, resurrection and redemption was still in its infancy. The Story of revelation, resurrection and redemption was just beginning to unfold. The next step in the Story of revelation, resurrection and redemption is summed up in Luke 2:40 - "the Child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him." In the growth of the Child, there is an invitation to us: Will we grow with Him? Will we go from strength to strength? Will we grow in grace? Will we increase in wisdom? May God help us to make real progress in spiritual growth. May God help us to grow in Christ.