January 1 in Christmas

Luke 2:21-38

Born of Woman, Born under the Law

Galatians 4:4 tells us, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”  This crucial theological truth written by the Apostle Paul to the churches in Galatia is based upon the historical account of our Lord’s circumcision and purification in the temple which happened some fifty years prior.  It is a pity that this passage does not get the recognition that it deserves in evangelical churches; in the more liturgical churches, it is accorded a feast and given to the celebration of the “Holy Family.”  And why not?  We have here Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus presenting themselves in the temple to perform the rites which the law of God required; that is, they are now a family of father, mother, and child, going to church, worshiping, and fulfilling their religious obligations—just like Christian families do today. When one considers the weight that is given by evangelicals to what is certainly the most expansive passage in Scripture on Christian families in Ephesians 5:22-6:4, how can this passage of our Lord’s presentation in the temple be so easily overlooked?

But far more than nostalgia is going on here.  Our Lord is doing here what he would do throughout his life—being one of us, identifying himself with us, living our life under the same obligations (law), and ultimately taking our place on the cross.  It amazes me that our God was not ashamed to live our life from conception to the grave.  Like us, he developed from an embryo in the womb and at full term endured the bloodbath of birth.  I do believe that “crying he made.”  From this they must be purified as the Mosaic law required of all newborns (Leviticus 12).  But why must Jesus undergo purification?  For the same reason he would undergo baptism thirty years later and endure a bloody death on the cross three years after that—the sinless one identifying himself with the sinful ones and thereby fulfilling all righteousness (Matthew 3:15).  Our God takes not only our sins but our flesh and blood—our very earthiness upon himself—and redeemed us.

And finally there is Simeon and Anna.  Behold the reward for holiness!  Behold the reward for shunning the things of this world and living in anticipation of our Lord’s coming!  See how they consider their lives complete in the light of the countenance of this baby’s face!  (Allow me to recommend Simeon’s words as a nighttime prayer for you as it has been for centuries.)  But let us strive for holiness; perhaps we too shall see the Lord.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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