Download PDF
12

Dedicated

Key References: Luke 2:21-40; The Desire of Ages, chap. 5, pp. 50-58; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 7, pp. 43-46; Our Beliefs, nos. 12, 4, 22.

power text

“For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel” (Luke 2:30-32).

power point

When Jesus lives in our hearts, we are inspired to worship Him.

Have you ever watched history happen before your eyes? How did you feel? How did it change your life? Imagine this history-making event.

At the appointed time according to the law, Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem to dedicate Him to the Lord. The dedication of the firstborn son was a reminder of God’s promise to send His only Son into our world as our Redeemer.

The animal sacrifices off ered during the child-dedication ceremony also had symbolic meaning, pointing to the sacrifi ce of the promised Messiah.

Wealthy families would off er a lamb for this special sacrifi ce. The poor who could not afford to buy a lamb would off er two turtledoves (a type of pigeon).

As part of the dedication service, the priest would lift a firstborn child to the altar and would consecrate him to the Lord. After handing the baby back to the mother, the priest would record his name in the official records.

When Mary and Joseph placed the baby in the priest’s arms, he performed the dedication ceremony in the same routine manner as usual. Then he recorded the baby’s name, “Jesus,” in the register. What a privilege was given to that priest to hold the Savior of the world in his arms! Yet he did not recognize in this infant the promised Redeemer. The humble origins of this child did not correspond to the priest’s understanding of the Messiah’s mission. The popular belief of that time was that the Messiah would one day free the nation from the Roman oppression and restore to Israel David’s royal kingdom. So the priest failed to see that Jesus was the fulfillment of all the symbols, rituals, and messianic prophecies.

There were, however, a few sincere worshippers who had studied the prophecies with a desire to understand God’s truth. Simeon and Anna longed to see the promised Redeemer. With renewed hope they looked forward in faith to the coming of the Messiah.

As the priest finished officiating the dedication, old Simeon shuffled forward. Moving toward the mother, Simeon held out his arms and asked to see the child.

“Sovereign Lord,” Simeon prayed, “as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).The priest and the couple watched Simeon intently.

Simeon announced the mission of Jesus to bring the light of God’s love even to the Gentiles.

Then, turning to Mary, he said, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (verses 34, 35).

Through these words Simeon revealed Jesus’ sacrificial life and death to accomplish our salvation.

Just as Simeon finished speaking, Anna, a faithful woman who was advanced in age, moved toward the little group. This was a woman who regularly worshipped at the Temple. On hearing Simeon’s words, Anna rejoiced and praised God for the Promised One. Simeon and Anna had studied the Scriptures prayerfully and believed in the fulfi llment of the prophecies. According to their faith, God revealed to them the Messiah in whom the prophecies would be fulfi lled. As it is written: “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:11, 12).

In Old Testament times God had chosen the people of Israel to share His truth with the surrounding nations. However, when the Messiah came, only a small group of humble believers were prepared to welcome Him.

In every age God has had His faithful children who carried the light of God’s love to the world. Today God’s church consists of those believers who accept Jesus as their personal Savior and choose to make Him known to others. The church is God’s family on earth. Jesus has appointed each of us to be His ambassadors: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19, 20).

Let’s invite Jesus into our lives and share with everyone the good news of His soon return!