Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2
Thesis: Jesus came to be a "Savior".
Introduction: Last week we took a rather detailed look at Luke 2:21. We saw that Luke deliberately put the "Name" between the issues of "circumcision" and "conception in the womb". We saw that he did this because there are two "big ticket" issues involved in the name of "Jesus". The first of those is "birth under the Law" as summarized by the issue of "circumcision". By the time Luke wrote his Gospel, "circumcision" had become the summary term for the entire issue of the fulfillment of legal requirement. The second of those is "birth by supernatural conception" as addressed by the reference to the fact that the "name" was given before Mary conceived in her womb. By the time Luke wrote his Gospel, the "virgin birth" issue had become standardized in theology as the only way a sufficient foundation could be laid for the fulfillment of the promise of eternal life. So, "Jesus" is the One who fulfilled the requirements of the Law so that men might be free from condemnation and He was supernaturally conceived in the womb of Mary so that His sacrifice could be sufficient for the forgiveness of billions of sins. This morning we are going to go a bit further into Luke's record. In 2:22-24 we have a focus by Luke on the "stage setting" for the statements of two aged saints in the Temple...Simeon and Anna. As a "stage setter", the three verses are preliminary. But, as a "stage setter" the three verses are absolutely crucial to our ability to "get" the picture. This morning I want to do a bit of "stage setting" for the "stage setter". So, let's turn to Luke 2:22-24.
May 1, 2005
- I. The Dominant Issue of the Verses.
- A. There are three references to "the Law" in the three verses.
- B. It is inescapable that Luke's focus is upon Joseph and Mary's conformity to the requirements of the Law of the Lord as it was given through Moses.
- C. The question is this: what is the "point" of "setting the stage" for the record of Simeon's extended comments and Anna's gratitude with Joseph and Mary's conformity to the Law of the Lord?
- II. The "Stage" of History upon Which the "Stage-Setting" Words are Placed.
- A. The phrase, "the law of the Lord" requires a present and extended backdrop for "understanding".
- 1. It came into being by Luke's hand 4,000 years into history as we know it.
- 2. That 4,000 year historical reality has some critical highlight issues built into it.
- a. One clear issue is the fact that this creation is the Lord's. Moses' "Law" began with the clear declaration of Yahweh's creation of creation. As the Creator, it is His without qualification.
- b. Thus, it is the Lord Who sets the parameters of all activities within His creation. He is not subject to any "creature's" accusations or judgments.
- c. With the creation of true, but dependent, personality, the Lord put the issue of creature-participation with Him directly into His creation. The definition of "person" typically involves "intelligence, feeling, and volitional capacity".
- d. The issue of creature-participation as personality is the issue of how the creature will be enabled to participate with the Lord in His creation. The entire issue of the creation of persons is focused upon "inter-relational interaction" of persons with The Person.
- e. It is indisputable from the very beginning that the Lord determined that one of the aspects of creature-enablement would be His breath/spirit of life (Genesis 2:7).
- f. It is also indisputable that the Lord also determined that His words would be addressed to the creature to give him the ability to cooperate with Him. So, with the "spirit" that enables actual function, also comes the "word" that gives direction to the function.
- g. But, then comes the record (Genesis 3) of the creatures' determination to violate the words of the Owner of the creation. This makes creature-participation in the creation a new matter: it is antagonistic participation.
- h. So, given the rise of antagonism, the issue now is whether the creation will be subject to vanity forever. There are three options:
- 1) the creation can be destroyed;
- 2) the creation can be permitted to languish under the consequences of antagonism; or,
- 3) the creation can be restored to compatible participation once again.
- i. Of the options, only the third makes any sense. If the creation is destroyed, there is either no, or extremely limited, purpose to creation (here today and gone tomorrow). If the creation is permitted to languish in antagonism, the purpose for creation is only to reveal the wrath of God (the glory of His wrath maintained for the benefit of those creatures who did not go into antagonism). If, however, the creation is to be recovered from its lapse, the purpose of creation is to reveal the grace and mercy of God so that the "recovered" can more fully enter into real participation with Him.
- j. Thus, the question arises: how can the creation be recovered without violating the character of God? Justice demands judgment, not restoration. But mercy demands restoration, not judgment.
- k. The answer is given by the "words of the Lord": sin will be atoned for so that forgiveness can be extended so that reconciliation can be achieved so that compatible participation can be practiced.
- l. The next question then arises: how can Justice and Mercy both be satisfied so that neither is violated?
- m. The answer: Jesus. Thus, "Enter the One Who will satisfy both Justice and Mercy".
- 1) The satisfaction of Justice means the One Who satisfies will do two things: He will live Justly; and He will atone for sin.
- 2) The satisfaction of Justice under "atonement" means, however, that the penalties of Justice upon sin will be visited upon the sinless sacrifice so that those under the Law's demand for justice can be free from the visitation of those penalties.
- 3) Thus, Luke presents Jesus as a human being who is subject to the Law, but as more than a human being so that the subjection can lay a foundation for the fulfillment of the Promise.
- B. Luke wanted Theophilus to understand that Joseph and Mary took the legally prescribed steps necessary so that "Jesus" was in harmonious participation with the God of Creation.
- III. Our Response to the Stage.
- A. We are walking upon the stage of history, now 6,000 years from its beginning.
- B. We are accountable to God as both creatures and as His subjects of education for the last 6,000 years.
- C. We are in the position of being compelled to come to grips with "Jesus": Is He our true hope for both forgiveness and for life?