Reflections: December 29, 2020
Tuesday of the First Week after Christmas
By Bradley Drew
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon. . . and there was a prophetess, Anna. (Luke 2:25a, 36a)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Simeon and Anna. Weathered and well-seasoned, these two had seen it all. It's why they are in the temple now waiting for Jesus, these two senior citizens of heaven. Simeon was told "he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ" (Luke 2:26). He could go and see death, now. No, not die. Just see death. For the Child in his arms is death's defeat. Anna, too, could go on now about her life in service to all. For with Jesus' arrival at the temple, the place of sacrifice, Jerusalem's redemption from sin, death, and the devil had arrived. And if Jerusalem's redemption, then ours, too.
This is why, as He approaches the Cross, Jesus mourns over Jerusalem (Luke 19). She did not know the things that make for peace. It's not because they had not been revealed to her. All throughout Scripture, the truth had been shown to her. It's just that, going the way of the world, even God's people were looking away from the Cross and works of Jesus to their own crosses and works for peace with God and each other. But, whatever peace we make, it's only as solid and sure as our works. How solid and sure is that? Not at all, says the Law (Isaiah 64:6).
The Gospel, however, promises this: God moves, God acts, God does, and God saves. "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace according to Your word" (Luke 2:29). "Your salvation that You have prepared in the presence of all people" (Luke 2:30). "Lord, now You." "Your Word." "Your salvation." "That You have prepared." What alone is solid and sure is what God does. And what God does, He does for all. For having sent Jesus to the Cross for all, God now sends Jesus to all of us in Baptism, in His Word, and at His Supper to apply over all our sin, over all our lives, and over all our deaths the promise of His Cross.
Weathered and well-seasoned, we, too, like it was Christmas every Sunday, sing Simeon's song at the Christ-mass as we now wait for Jesus: "Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace." For as death's defeat was placed into Simeon's arms that day, it is placed into our mouths now with Jesus' Body and Blood. There's our peace with God and with each other. Jesus. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O God, our Maker and Redeemer, You wonderfully created us and in the incarnation of Your Son yet more wondrously restored our human nature. Grant that we may ever be alive in Him Who made Himself to be like us; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the First Sunday after Christmas)
-Rev. Bradley Drew is the pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.
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