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Beginning to Give Thanks DECEMBER 9, 2021


 
 

Luke 2:36-40


36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.


39 And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.


 

Matthew 5:17-18


17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

 

If you start watching a movie when it’s almost over, you miss the significance of certain events. Sure, you could piece some things together. But more intricate, significant connections are lost on you without context.


The same is true of Jesus’ birth. A Virgin gives birth to God’s Son? That’s an incredible turn of events! But, when we see Jesus’ arrival in the context of the Old Testament, we understand why Anna “began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).


“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” - Matthew 5:17

For hundreds of years, Israel had been waiting for the Messiah to free them. Then, people like Anna, Simeon, and later John the Baptist, start declaring, “Jesus is that guy!”

Jesus went on to do all the things the prophets described — just not the way people expected. Israel was looking for someone to overthrow Rome, but what humanity needed was rescue from themselves, from self centeredness, and sin.


As I see it, Jesus confirms this too, every Old Testament law was designed to teach God’s people to love Him and love others. But after generations of trying, Israel discovered what God knew to be true. We are incapable of keeping God’s law without His help.


You see the manger points ahead to the cross, Jesus’ death and resurrection provide a way for us to experience freedom. When we place our confidence in Jesus, we receive His Spirit, and with it, the ability to really love and finally fulfill God’s beautiful plan.

 

TAKE AWAY


Imagine how Anna felt when she saw Jesus. Let her joy and excitement in seeing the Lord sink deep into your heart and guide you as you pray today.

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