It’s only the second chapter of our journey through Luke’s Gospel, and we’ve already witnessed the blessed birth of Baby Jesus. However, there are elements of the Nativity Story that are missing from this account. There’s no talk of wise men from the east, just shepherds who stopped what they were doing to go and lay eyes on the Messiah. There are no dreams telling Joseph to flee to Egypt, and no evil king issuing orders to massacre the babies in Bethlehem, including the newborn King.
Luke was a physician, so perhaps his scientific mind focused primarily on the basics, while Matthew’s Gospel fills in the gaps with an edge-of-your-seat description of events surrounding the birth of Christ. Although Matthew was a tax collector, he apparently had a flair for the dramatic. Feel free to take a detour through the first couple chapters of his book, as well, to complete your picture of the Christmas story.
Three Wise Men?
You’ll find that we really don’t know exactly how many wise men there were. Nowhere does Luke or Matthew say there were three of them. You’ll also find that Jesus must have been born in some type of place for animals, not because His parents were homeless, but because the inn was completely booked by the time they arrived in Bethlehem for the census. And, His makeshift crib was actually a manger or trough where farm animals eat.
But, what I love about the Gospels is, no matter how many times I read them, there’s always something new that jumps out at me. This time it was something Simeon said that made me pause. He’s the devout man in the temple who was eagerly awaiting the Messiah. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen Jesus. So, when Joseph and Mary brought Baby Jesus to the temple for His dedication, Simeon took Him into his arms, praised God, and prophesied over Him.
"Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the Baby’s mother, “This Child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose Him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul."
Not only did Simeon’s prophecy manifest for Israel, but as with many Biblical prophecies, it also has application for the world today. We’ll see later in this Gospel how, like a dividing sword, Jesus caused some in Israel to fall and others to rise. We’ll see how vicious His opposition became. But, we'll also see the loving devotion others held deep in their hearts for the Lord.
And, if we open our eyes to the world around us, we can see the very same manifestations today. All of them. Because, as the book of Hebrews says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)
Thank you so much for stopping by my little blog. It’s simply a vehicle by which I intend to reveal a bit about my own personal journey as a woman, a mother, and a believer in Jesus Christ. I appreciate you taking the time to “listen.” We do a lot of talking these days, but not enough “listening” when it comes to understanding each other’s differences and similarities. If you are so inclined, feel free to subscribe, drop a comment below, or follow me on social media @listen2leslie.