Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Luke 2:1-40 Human Reaction to the Supernatural

Luke 2:1-40

I am having a hard time with this whole thing- angles and prophets and people told what will happen before they die. I realize that is a bit the theme of this chapter, but, really? Really? There are three distinct stories that mingle the natural and the supernatural, three sketches of responses and reactions.

The shepherds are just going about their blue-collar jobs in the middle of the night when a group of angels appears in the sky. I know that would shock me and get my attention for sure. I can't remember the last time angels appeared at my job, let alone singing and announcing that the savior of their nation has been born and is in a manger not too far away. If there had not been angels I am sure they would have thought there was just a crazy person wandering around. I know that I would have thought that. And, to their credit, they go to see. I mean it when I say it is to their credit. It would have been easy to either right the whole thing off or to have been so stuck on the angles singing and announcing things that there would have been plenty of reason to stay- but they got it, they left and went to see this baby. I admire that.

Simeon is one of my favorite characters in scripture, and I love that God tells him he will see the Messiah
before he dies. There is so much mystery in that! Why would God do that? Especially because Simeon is old, and does not appear to do anything with the information other than rejoice and prophesy. Of course, that is enough, but it feels like not quite enough. It is the Messiah, the Savior, the birth of the person at the center of so many hopes, dreams, and promises. So, really, just a statement in the temple? Shouldn't there be a conference and teachings and books and podcasts and telecasts of this event? I suppose it was big enough that Peter knew about it, told Mark and now it is in this document passed down from generation to generation. That is something. And he says amazing things- he seems to really get it. "My eyes have seen your Salvation... a light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Israel." He gets what so many others seem to have missed at various points- that Jesus is the point of Israel and that this is a message for the whole world, the glory of Israel for the Gentiles.

Anna, like Simeon has a more subtle, internal prompting. The shepherds had a concert in the sky, Simeon is moved by the Spirit, and Anna is already there because she is often there. Here are three very different circumstances under which people received news of what God was doing. I would like to think that I am more like Anna or Simeon and that I can respond to the move of the Spirit or see God in my daily life in such a way that I would see His actions and piece of His plans. I am far more likely to need a concert in the sky - especially these days. Part of the reason I am bogging about Luke is to give myself some kind of accountability to read Scripture. I am that rusty, that far from being anything like Anna or Simeon.

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