Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 3 Study # 14
August 7, 2005
Lincolnton, N.C.

<175> Thesis: Being an instrument of Yahweh's plan to save people is no picnic. Introduction: In the last two weeks we have considered Jesus as God's presentation of the truth about Himself in respect to His attitude toward mankind and His method of meeting mankind's need. Yahweh's interest in mankind is driven by His mercy and implemented by His grace (something the Gentiles needed to know), but His implementation is not about turning men into prima donnas who think that salvation is about being put into the limelight so others can fawn over them (something the Jews needed to know). The Gentiles were marked by their "belief" that Yahweh hated them -- and the incarnation stands against that "belief" at the most fundamental level. There is no rationale for "hatred" in the fact of God humbling Himself to become human. The Jews, on the other hand, were marked by their "belief" that Yahweh, Whose love was significantly for them in contrast to His antagonism toward the Gentiles, intended to put them in dominion over everyone else in His creation -- and the incarnation stands against that "belief" at a most fundamental level. There is no rationale for the production of prima donnas in the humility of God. Thus, the presence of Jesus in the temple for the purpose of being "presented to Yahweh's task" is God's statement of both His desire to save and what salvation means. Salvation means being "glorified" by God unto instrumentality in the execution of His plans for a Servant-Kingdom. This is precisely why men do not seek to be "saved" and think of God as "hateful": their commitment to a life of proud self-centeredness is so profound that they claim that the good of other-serving humility is evil and the evil of self-exalting pride is good. And they point to what happened to Jesus as proof of the legitimacy of their commitment. "If", say they, "Jesus was the Son of God and God sent Him to the cross, who wants to be a son of God?" That brings us, this morning, to Luke's rather remarkable comment about Joseph and Mary in the midst of his record of Simeon's words about Jesus.