Presentation of the Lord (February 2, 2018)
Hebrews 2:14-18 | New Living Translation (NLT)
14 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who hadthe power of death. 15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.
16 We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. 18 Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.
Today is February 2nd. Most people know it as Groundhog’s Day. It is a big deal here in NW Pennsylvania – Punxsutawney is just a few hours away from here. Tomorrow many people will gather to see if winter stays or goes. According to all of our local weather forecasters – I believe that winter will be staying, no matter what the groundhog says.
February 2 falls 40 days after December 25 – when we traditionally celebrate the birth of Jesus. A couple who had just had their first baby boy would go to the Temple to present him to the Lord. This was a Jewish tradition. The mother would also offer up her purification offering. This story is found in the second part of Luke’s gospel – after the traditional narrative. Because we don’t really know the date of Jesus’ birth – we celebrate it on the 25th of December and February 2 falls 40 days afterward.
We find that Joseph and Mary bring Jesus to be presented at the Temple. This is where they have encounters with both Simeon and Anna. Here is the link to the Luke passage.
We are currently focusing on the Epistles and today’s scripture comes from Hebrews. The writer of Hebrews is unknown, but we do know they wrote to Jewish Christians who lived in Jerusalem. In chapter 2 the author revisits the incarnation – that Jesus came as flesh and blood to dwell with us. He came as flesh and bone because we were flesh and bone. It was through his sacrificial death on the cross that Christ defeated the devil and death. I love the way the author puts it:
Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.
Simeon prophesied as much, “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
In chapter one of Hebrews, the author writes about Jesus supremacy – that he is even above the angels and now he writes that Jesus did not come to help the angels. But that Jesus came for the descendants of Abraham. The argument that the writer is making here is that Jesus had to become in all ways just like us. It was only by Jesus being our great high priest that a way could be made. Jesus was the mediator between God and man – his sacrifice took away our sins.
Simeon was a man full of the Holy Spirit and God revealed to him who this baby was. He would be the deliver of the people of Israel and the whole world – to all who believed in Jesus. He did this through his death on the cross and suffering. Christ suffered and knows exactly what we are going through. Jesus was very God, but he took on our flesh and bone – willingly. He is our great high priest who knows exactly what we are going through. Jesus was tested and yet did not sin, that’s why he can sit at the right hand of the Father and intercede for us.
To conclude this post, I’ve included two videos from Matt Maher – they are the back story to his song, “Flesh and Bone.”