Listeners to this sermon know that waiting for anything isn’t easy. We
live in a fast culture today. Everything is on super speed. We
demand immediate results. Instant messaging. Instant coffee. Instant
breakfasts. But there’s something we can learn from waiting.
The singer Mick
Jagger sings, “You can’t always get what you want.” In some
ways, his statement is true. Sometimes we can’t get what we want because
we have to wait. We’re helped to wait by being given a promise. The
promise helps us to know that for which we’re waiting will happen, will be fulfilled.
That’s what the text shows us in Luke 2:22-40, something for which has
been long awaited is now fulfilled.
I. Jesus is the promised baby.
Mary and Joseph did what any good Jew was supposed to do – fulfill the vow
of the firstborn male at the temple. They already had been told by the Holy
Spirit and the Lord through the angel Gabriel and by Mary’s cousin Elizabeth,
and confirmed on the night of Jesus’ birth by the angels and shepherds who this
promised child was.
Simeon also waited
for the promise of hope for the nation Israel, and the promise was fulfilled
in the infant he held in his arms, Jesus. The Holy Spirit led him and
prepared him to see and understand the hope and promise of the infant.
Anna the prophetess
also longed for the fulfillment of the promise of redemption and as she held
the baby in her arms the Holy Spirit led her to see beyond the cradle to the
promise of redemption that Jesus would bring.
Jesus, whose name
means “Savior,” is the child of promise. He is the promise given
to Joseph and Mary, to elderly Simeon, and to aged Anna. The promise wasn’t
without its consequences: he would triumph, but not without a great deal of
pain, his own pain and the pain of his parents.
The effect of the
promise to Joseph and Mary, to Simeon, and to Anna is that the results of what
Jesus did on the cross – the atonement and justification in his raising from
the dead, all aspects of the fulfillment of the promise – extend to people
today. Jesus is the promised baby – for then and now.
II. Jesus gives us a promising future.
The promises given to Joseph and Mary, Simeon, and Anna were fulfilled. But
the consequences of the promises extend to us today – to the gentiles, a people
for whom God prepared salvation, so prophesies Simeon in verses 29-32. We
can enjoy the benefits of the salvation that Christ bought with his blood. Peter
echoed this in his sermon in Acts 2:39. At the end of his sermon he said
to those who were convinced of Jesus’ promised redemption, “The promise
is for you and your children and or all who are far off – for all whom the
Lord our God will call. That’s you and me. We aren’t the children
of those who are named in that text, but we’re those “whom the Lord our
God will call.”
The lives of all
those “whom the Lord our God will call” have a bright future because
of the baby from Nazareth. The text points out to us, the promised baby
gave us a promising future. The truth of the text is not limited to the
long ago and far away. Instead, it has application in the here and now.
The promised baby
gave us a promising future is a truth that shows contemporary people that the
promises of the Bible aren’t limited to its pages, but extends to today. People
who are worried that they can never be forgiven can now be assured that they
can find forgiveness – no matter what they did – in the promised baby Jesus
who went to the cross for their – our – redemption. We don’t have to
wait any longer.
The truth of the
text is this: the promised baby gave us a promising future.
brief provided by: Scott Gibson,
Haddon Robinson Professor of Preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary,
South Hamilton, MA.