Here is the Link for Today’s Reading: http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=322660064
Circumcision of Jesus: Luke 2:21-24
An important detail here is that Jesus’ family offered a sacrifice of turtle doves. The temple was set up so that just inside, pilgrims were able to purchase sacrifices. There were varying levels depending on ones wealth, with the understanding, at least in part, that the larger the sacrifice, the more God was likely to listen. As a result, the poor would have been unable to gain as much access to God as the wealthy in this system.
By sacrificing two turtledoves, Jesus’ family was choosing the “cheapest” sacrificial offering, even if it was at great expense for the family. Again, this plays into the lowliness of Jesus’ birth.
And if I might add, travelling from Bethlehem, possibly home to Nazareth, and then to Jerusalem, all within a newborn’s first 8 days of life, what a feat! I am not sure if everyone who lived in Israel at the time did this, but all i can say is wow, when my son was born, my wife and I were pretty overwhelmed with just the car ride home from the hospital and our son’s first visit to the doctors office!
- What would Joseph and Mary’s sacrifice of turtle doves say about the multitude of sacrificial offerings, what does it say about the nature of offerings today?
Meeting Simeon and the Song of Simeon/Nunc Dimittis and meeting Anna: 2:25-40
Simeon introduces a few new ideas here, important ideas. First, that Jesus will be a light of revelation to the Gentiles along with the Jewish people, a radical statement by any account. This must have amazed Mary (as the text goes on to state) because she may not have been able to think of her son’s impact beyond the Jewish people. He then goes on, almost like an oracle in a Greek drama, to highlight the turmoil that will accompany Jesus, and the pain that will come, even to Mary. This is really the first indication of the fullness of what will occur, that salvation won’t be all happy rainbows and starlight, but that it will also be disruptive, even painful.
Luke also introduces us to Anna a prophet and a widow. Women were not typically part of the narratives of the day, and widows were even more invisible. But here we are, only in the 2nd chapter and we already have Mary, Elizabeth, a scene with Mary and Elizabeth talking to one another, without any men involved (still rare even in today’s story telling, see the Bechdel Test, although, to be fair, I am not sure if this particular account would pass the Bechdel test). Also added is Anna, another important person to the narrative, who is a woman, and a widow to boot. Luke is including voices that are usually left out of standard accounts.
- Can salvation happen with out disruption? Or does salvation, the “consolation of Israel” in this specific instance, does it require some level of disruption?
- What is Luke adding to the narrative by including women like Elizabeth and Anna? What does it say about the way God interacts with the World and who is to be included in kingdom building?
- The next account of Jesus’ life, which we will encounter tomorrow, jumps ahead about 12 years, what else would be love to know about Jesus’s life beyond his growing strong and in the favor of the Lord?