Wednesday—What Child Is This?
Refresh: Open with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Luke 2:22-38 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: As promised, today we start to connect some of those wonderful dots in the Bible that draw out the complex beauty of the text. Pharaoh ordered the firstborn to be killed in Egypt, and Jesus sent the final tenth plague on Egypt ordering the same thing. There was just one exception: if any Egyptian chose to place the blood of a lamb on their door, their child would be saved. When the Hebrews left Egypt, the multitude of people were of all different faiths. This is reflected the nature of the Gospel and the call of Simeon when he saw the baby Jesus. He said that salvation was for “the Gentiles” and "your people Israel.” Moses was redeemed as baby and later rescued the Hebrews from slavery. Jesus was redeemed from the temple service as a baby, but would rescue the Universe from slavery to sin. The scales are dramatically different, but the correlations would have raised hope for everyone. That is why every word in the ceremonies and in the Scriptures carried deep meaning. For instance, when the priest finished the sacrificial offering in the temple, he would utter Kalah which means “It is finished.” This is the same word that Jesus chose to use on the cross. This brought full circle the system that had been established in the garden of Eden.
There is one other major contrast which Luke wants to draw our attention to from the start of the Gospel onward to the present text. It is one of character reference. Let me recap quickly: Elizabeth was old and from a priestly family. Mary was young and from an unknown family—but faithful. Zechariah was old and a priest. Simeon was old and righteous. Anna was old and not from a priestly family. There are two babies in the story: John the Baptist and Jesus—about to be born. In Acts 2:17-21, Peter quotes from Joel 2 saying that the Spirit of the Lord will fall on the young and old alike, on all types of people—and anyone who calls on the name of Jesus will be saved. The Christmas story is full of prophets from different places preparing us for the Church of the future.
Recalibrate: This Christmas, are you leading into the future or living in the past?
Respond: Pray for the vision to see the future.
Research: Read Acts 2.
Live Wonder (ages 0–3)
Simeon also blessed Mary and Joseph. Do you have strong community surrounding you and your child? People who will pray over you and lift you up? What qualities do you think are most important in a community? Ask your child what they think a friend should be like.
Live Adventure (ages 4–11)
Having good friends is important. What are some things you think make someone a good friend? Do you think it’s important to have friends in your life who can pray for you? Today, take some time to pray for your friends.
Live Purpose (ages 12–16)
If you had to describe your friend group to someone using only five words, what would they be? Do you think it makes a difference to surround yourself with people who encourage you, lift you up, and pray for you?