As we read through Luke each week there will be two devotions focusing on particular passages. Click here to read past devotions.
So much happens in the opening chapters of Luke:
- The miraculous births of John and Jesus draw comparisons to the OT births of Isaac and Samuel.
- The decrees of Caesar is contrasted with the lowly manger (What is power and influence?).
- These humble beginnings reveal a solidarity with the poor that runs throughout Luke’s gospel.
- But my focus is on the Law and Spirit:
Focus: Luke 2:22-35
Mary and Joseph are obedient to the law. Raising Jesus as a Jew, following the commands. In these verses the Law is mentioned three times. Contrast that with the action of Simeon, who is righteous (also following the law). But he lives a life that is obedient to the Spirit. Now it is the Holy Spirit that is mentioned three times.
To recognize and follow Jesus is a movement of the Spirit, not the Law. While Luke is not anti the law, the gospel is taking us to a deeper place. One where we are in relationship with God, following the Spirit.
This is amplified in the next story Jesus as a boy in the temple. Jesus disobeys his parents, remaining in the temple. Mary asks, “Son, why have you treated us like this?”
Rather than follow the letter of the law, “Honor your mother and father”, Jesus follows God. (You might quibble with my take, arguing that Jesus was honoring his actual Father. Which is true, but he does not honor his mother. Just read her words and ponder being her!)
Following the list of the ten commandments in Exodus 20, the people are afraid. “They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us.'” The coming of Jesus will remove the barrier and fear. We will now – as Jesus – listen and follow God.
Practical Thought: My dad once sat me down – one of those what have I done wrong moments. It began typically enough, with the idea of this law and obeying parents. But then he told me I was also God’s child. “There will come a time when I have told you to do something, but God tells you to do something else. In that moment, you must obey God.”
These words have altered my understanding of parenting. But more than that, his words are the definition of what it means to be Christian. We are Followers of God, of Jesus, of the Spirit.