Luke 2

* The birth of Christ. (1-7) It is made known to the shepherds.

(8-20) Christ presented in the temple. (21-24) Simeon prophesies

concerning Jesus. (25-35) Anna prophesies concerning him.

(36-40) Christ with the learned men in the temple. (41-52)

1-7 The fulness of time was now come, when God would send forth

his Son, made of a woman, and made under the law. The

circumstances of his birth were very mean. Christ was born at an

inn; he came into the world to sojourn here for awhile, as at an

inn, and to teach us to do likewise. We are become by sin like

an outcast infant, helpless and forlorn; and such a one was

Christ. He well knew how unwilling we are to be meanly lodged,

clothed, or fed; how we desire to have our children decorated

and indulged; how apt the poor are to envy the rich, and how

prone the rich to disdain the poor. But when we by faith view

the Son of God being made man and lying in a manger, our vanity,

ambition, and envy are checked. We cannot, with this object

rightly before us, seek great things for ourselves or our

children.
8-20 Angels were heralds of the new-born Saviour, but they were

only sent to some poor, humble, pious, industrious shepherds,

who were in the business of their calling, keeping watch over

their flock. We are not out of the way of Divine visits, when we

are employed in an honest calling, and abide with God in it. Let

God have the honour of this work; Glory to God in the highest.

God's good-will to men, manifested in sending the Messiah,

redounds to his praise. Other works of God are for his glory,

but the redemption of the world is for his glory in the highest.

God's goodwill in sending the Messiah, brought peace into this

lower world. Peace is here put for all that good which flows to

us from Christ's taking our nature upon him. This is a faithful

saying, attested by an innumerable company of angels, and well

worthy of all acceptation, That the good-will of God toward men,

is glory to God in the highest, and peace on the earth. The

shepherds lost no time, but came with haste to the place. They

were satisfied, and made known abroad concerning this child,

that he was the Saviour, even Christ the Lord. Mary carefully

observed and thought upon all these things, which were so suited

to enliven her holy affections. We should be more delivered from

errors in judgment and practice, did we more fully ponder these

things in our hearts. It is still proclaimed in our ears that to

us is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord. These should be glad

tidings to all.
21-24 Our Lord Jesus was not born in sin, and did not need that

mortification of a corrupt nature, or that renewal unto

holiness, which were signified by circumcision. This ordinance

was, in his case, a pledge of his future perfect obedience to

the whole law, in the midst of sufferings and temptations, even

unto death for us. At the end of forty days, Mary went up to the

temple to offer the appointed sacrifices for her purification.

Joseph also presented the holy child Jesus, because, as a

first-born son, he was to be presented to the Lord, and redeemed

according to the law. Let us present our children to the Lord

who gave them to us, beseeching him to redeem them from sin and

death, and make them holy to himself.
25-35 The same Spirit that provided for the support of Simeon's

hope, provided for his joy. Those who would see Christ must go

to his temple. Here is a confession of his faith, that this

Child in his arms was the Saviour, the salvation itself, the

salvation of God's appointing. He bids farewell to this world.

How poor does this world look to one that has Christ in his

arms, and salvation in his view! See here, how comfortable is

the death of a good man; he departs in peace with God, peace

with his own conscience, in peace with death. Those that have

welcomed Christ, may welcome death. Joseph and Mary marvelled at

the things which were spoken of this Child. Simeon shows them

likewise, what reason they had to rejoice with trembling. And

Jesus, his doctrine, and people, are still spoken against; his

truth and holiness are still denied and blasphemed; his preached

word is still the touchstone of men's characters. The secret

good affections in the minds of some, will be revealed by their

embracing Christ; the secret corruptions of others will be

revealed by their enmity to Christ. Men will be judged by the

thoughts of their hearts concerning Christ. He shall be a

suffering Jesus; his mother shall suffer with him, because of

the nearness of her relation and affection.
36-40 There was much evil then in the church, yet God left not

himself without witness. Anna always dwelt in, or at least

attended at, the temple. She was always in a praying spirit;

gave herself to prayer, and in all things she served God. Those

to whom Christ is made known, have great reason to thank the

Lord. She taught others concerning him. Let the example of the

venerable saints, Simeon and Anna, give courage to those whose

hoary heads are, like theirs, a crown of glory, being found in

the way of righteousness. The lips soon to be silent in the

grave, should be showing forth the praises of the Redeemer. In

all things it became Christ to be made like unto his brethren,

therefore he passed through infancy and childhood as other

children, yet without sin, and with manifest proofs of the

Divine nature in him. By the Spirit of God all his faculties

performed their offices in a manner not seen in any one else.

Other children have foolishness bound in their hearts, which

appears in what they say or do, but he was filled with wisdom,

by the influence of the Holy Ghost; every thing he said and did,

was wisely said and wisely done, above his years. Other children

show the corruption of their nature; nothing but the grace of

God was upon him.
41-52 It is for the honour of Christ that children should

attend on public worship. His parents did not return till they

had stayed all the seven days of the feast. It is well to stay

to the end of an ordinance, as becomes those who say, It is good

to be here. Those that have lost their comforts in Christ, and

the evidences of their having a part in him, must bethink

themselves where, and when, and how they lost them, and must

turn back again. Those that would recover their lost

acquaintance with Christ, must go to the place in which he has

put his name; there they may hope to meet him. They found him in

some part of the temple, where the doctors of the law kept their

schools; he was sitting there, hearkening to their instructions,

proposing questions, and answering inquiries, with such wisdom,

that those who heard were delighted with him. Young persons

should seek the knowledge of Divine truth, attend the ministry

of the gospel, and ask such questions of their elders and

teachers as may tend to increase their knowledge. Those who seek

Christ in sorrow, shall find him with the greater joy. Know ye

not that I ought to be in my Father's house; at my Father's

work; I must be about my Father's business. Herein is an

example; for it becomes the children of God, in conformity to

Christ, to attend their heavenly Father's business, and make all

other concerns give way to it. Though he was the Son of God, yet

he was subject to his earthly parents; how then will the foolish

and weak sons of men answer it, who are disobedient to their

parents? However we may neglect men's sayings, because they are

obscure, yet we must not think so of God's sayings. That which

at first is dark, may afterwards become plain and easy. The

greatest and wisest, those most eminent, may learn of this

admirable and Divine Child, that it is the truest greatness of

soul to know our own place and office; to deny ourselves

amusements and pleasures not consistent with our state and

calling.
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