Google+ 12/27/12 Off To The Temple!

Luke 2:22-24

 

Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child;

So his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.

The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.”

So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—

“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” 

 

This passage of Scripture for me is comforting, difficult, and enlightening, all in 3 verses!  I teach the Bible formally and informally, virtually every day of my life.  Many of the discussions I have with others center around the theme of our Scripture today.  Obedience!  Don't take this wrong, but I need to remind all of us who this baby, that was just born in Bethlehem, really is.  Mary and Joseph have just given birth to the Son of God.  Jesus is God in the flesh.  The Bible tells us that they are one in the same.  The reason that we arrived at the manger in the first place, is because Mary and Joseph have been obedient at every turn in their journey.  From the angel's message to each of them, through the long, difficult journey to Bethlehem, they have listened to God and obeyed.  In spite of what seemed to be unbelievable circumstances, they have answered God's call in their lives.  In our Scripture today, it is now eight days after the birth and where are they?  They have traveled to Jerusalem to the temple to dedicate Jesus.  Wouldn't it be okay for God's Son to skip this step?  Isn't Jesus already holy?  Was this interruption really necessary for Emmanuel, God with us?  Absolutely, which is the entire point of our Scripture today.  God provides no short cuts or "day passes" to anyone, including Mary and Joseph.  Old Testament Jewish Law commanded that all first born male children needed to be dedicated to God, in the temple.  No exceptions.  Black and white.  Mary and Joseph needed to be obedient, so they went.  God insisted on their obedience, even and most especially, because it was Jesus, the Son of God.  Many ordained clergy and lay leaders in churches lose sight of the fact that we all must be obedient every day.  These leaders often discern that God's instructions and mandates don't apply to them.  After all, the are the "holy ones."  In their everyday activities, they often ignore the simplest of instructions and calls on their lives.  All of us have been guilty of thinking, at some point, Scripture doesn't apply to us.  I am going to remind all of you and myself this morning that this way of thinking has tragic consequences.  It is the beginning of executing "free will" in a way that could mean our very spiritual destruction.  How do we know?  Everywhere in the Bible where there is disobedience, there is pain.  The Old Testament warns us on numerous occasions and shows us God's consequences.  The New Testament provides hope in Jesus Christ as our Savior when we mess up!  We can repent, turn away from the sin, and be forgiven.  Make no mistake and don't be deceived.  The final chapter of the Bible explains, in great detail, the war that is going to happen and the consequences for disobedience.  Revelation says not to be in "Babylon" in the last days.   My challenge to you is simple.  Be obedient.  Every day.  Don't try to cut corners and/or find a "loophole" for you in God's law.  When God calls, simply answer, "Yes Lord!"  Let's be "off to the temple" every day to answer God's call on our life.  There is never too much God.  We can never call on the name of Jesus too often.  We never have enough "temple time."  When you are ready to take that short cut or wonder whether all Scripture applies to you, remember Mary and Joseph.  The two people in the world who could have been considered "holy," were not "Holier than Thou!"  They were simply humble and obedient.  May we strive to be the same every day as we say "Yes" to God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.