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Luke 2:36-52

Sunday Morning Bible Study

March 8, 2015


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words  Video=75wpm

Israel:  Come to Israel with Deb and I.  If you are thinking about this, we really need to know this week.

Luke was a doctor and a travelling companion of the apostle Paul.

He wrote this book while Paul was in prison.

In writing his book, Luke made use of other older documents like the Gospel of Mark, as well as extensive eyewitness accounts.

The first chapter was about the events leading up to the birth of Jesus.

The second chapter started with the birth of Jesus.

Forty days after His birth, Jesus was dedicated in the Temple.

A man named Simeon spoke prophetically about Jesus.

We are still on that same day…

2:36-38 Anna

:36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity;

:37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

:36 Anna – “grace”

:36 Phanuel – “the face of God”

:36 of the tribe of Asher

There are some who make a big deal about the “lost ten tribes of Israel”.

They usually are referring to the tribes of the northern kingdom that were scattered when the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom.
They will make the claim that all but the tribes of Judah and Benjamin were scattered and lost.
Then they will try to make some claim as to where they were scattered, or that they are part of these lost ten tribes.

Bible students take note.  There is a woman of the “lost tribe” of Asher, living in the time of Jesus, in Jerusalem.

:36 she was of great ageprobaino – to go forwards, go on

Perfect participle

The same word was used to describe Zacharias and Elizabeth

(Luke 1:7 NKJV) —7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.
(Luke 1:18 NKJV) —18 And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”

Literally, “she had gone on for many days”

:36 had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity

She had been married to her husband for seven years when he died.

She has been a widow ever since that time.

:37 a widow of about eighty-four years

Some take this to mean that she was eighty-four years old at the time.

Others take this to mean that she was a widow for eighty-four years after her husband died.

Some have estimated she could have been upwards of 106 years old.

Widows were considered the lowest rung in society, the poorest of the poor.

:37 did not depart from the temple

She was at church every chance she got.

:37 served God …night and day

servedlatreuo – to serve, minister to; in the NT, to render religious service or homage, to worship

This is the word used to describe what the priests did in the Temple with offering sacrifices, prayers, lighting the Menorah, etc.
We get our word “liturgy” from this word.

Note:  Some might think that only priests could perform “liturgy”, or service to God.

Yet this was a woman.
She isn’t even from the tribe of Levi.

:37 with fastings and prayers

This was how she served God.


Prayer Ministry

prayersdeesis – need; a seeking, asking
This is not the word for prayer in general, but here the idea is making specific petitions.
It’s making requests of God based on needs.
Anna was an “intercessor”.
It’s the same word used in –

(Philippians 4:6–7 NKJV) —6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

She also “served” by fasting.

This is not about losing weight.

When I’m getting my annual bloodwork done, I’m supposed to “fast” for 12 hours.

When the bathroom scale seems broken and gives me a number too high, I will do some sort of “fast” to lose weight.

This is about getting serious with God, to hear His voice clearer, and to make our prayers more effective.

This is why Anna fasted.

There are certain things that aren’t going to happen apart from prayer and fasting

Jesus had been up on the mountain praying with Peter, James, and John.  While they were gone, some of the other disciples had been asked to cast a demon out of a child, but they were unable to do so. 

When Jesus got back He cast out the demon, and the disciples asked why they couldn’t cast out the demon, Jesus said,

(Matthew 17:21 NKJV) However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

Charles Spurgeon was one of the greatest preachers in history.  He ministered in London in the late 19th century.  He started preaching at age 16.  He spoke without the aid of amplification to huge crowds.  His church regularly could hold 10,000 people.

Once he was asked to give a visitor a tour of the church.

When they got to the basement, he took the guest into a room located beneath his pulpit.  He said this was the “power room”.  Every Sunday when he would preach to 10,000 people, he had 300 people beneath him pleading for God to work in the church.

I am grateful for the few folks that take turns once a month to do this for us, praying during the service.

I’d love to see more.

It’s not a ministry that gets a lot of recognition.  Most people won’t know that you are a part of it.  But I know.  And I appreciate so much every one of you who are a part of this.

You may not feel like you are worth much.

In some ways you might feel like you’re in the place of the “widow” of ancient days.

But there is something VERY precious and valuable that you have the ability to do.

You can learn to be a prayer warrior.

We need more prayer warriors in our church.

We need folks who will pray over the weekly prayer list.

We need folks who will pray in the back room during the service.

We need folks praying at home. 

You are greatly needed.

:38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

:38 she gave thanks to the Lord

gave thanksanthomologeomai – to reply by professing or by confessing; to agree mutually (in turn), to make a compact; to acknowledge in the presence of; to give thanks

This old widow who was faithful to serve the Lord with her prayers was there when the baby Jesus was brought to the Temple.

She got to see Him with her own eyes.

I wonder if she didn’t even do a little dance.  We actually caught her on video …

Video: Old Italian Lady Dancing

:38 to all those who looked for redemption

who looked forprosdechomai – to receive to one’s self; to expect: the fulfilment of promises

redemptionlutrosis – a ransoming, redemption; deliverance, esp. from the penalty of sin

There were apparently others who hung out in the Temple, looking for the Savior to come.

2:39-40 Back to Nazareth

:39 So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.

:40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

:39 performed all things according to the law

Joseph and Mary would be considered “orthodox” Jews.

They were careful to observe the Law of Moses.

Jesus was raised in a very Jewish home.

:39 they returned to Galilee … Nazareth

Matthew (Mat. 2) clarifies that they stayed in Bethlehem for a couple of years, were visited by the Wise Men, made a trip to Egypt, and THEN headed back to Nazareth.

:40 grewauxano – to cause to grow, augment; to increase, become greater

:40 became strongkrataioo – to strengthen, make strong; to be made strong, to increase in strength, to grow strong

:40 in spirit

Could also be the Holy Spirit, in “Spirit”

:41 the grace of God

(John 1:14 NKJV) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

The grace of God speaks of all that God does for us, things that we don’t deserve, things He freely gives to us.

We talked last Thursday night how Paul equated God’s grace with strength and power.
Paul had struggled with a “thorn in the flesh”, something that was intended to keep him humble.
(2 Corinthians 12:8–9 NKJV) —8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God’s grace in Paul’s life was about God’s strength in him to keep going despite his difficulties.

2:41-50 Jerusalem Passover

:41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.

:41 every year … Passover

This was part of how Joseph and Mary obeyed the Law of Moses.

The Law of Moses required that every male travel to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Passover (Deut. 16:16)
(Deuteronomy 16:16 NKJV) —16 “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed.

At the end of His life, when we see Jesus going to Jerusalem knowing He was going to be crucified, it was at Passover.

Just as He had always done, every year, for thirty three years.

:42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.

:42 customethos – custom; usage prescribed by law, institute, prescription, rite

:42 when He was twelve years old

This is the age that every Jewish boy has his “bar mitzvah”, where he becomes a “son of the covenant”, where he is considered a grown, adult man.

Even though Jesus has been to Jerusalem many times, this is His first time celebrating the Passover as an “adult”.

:43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it;

:44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.

:43 they had finishedteleioo – to make perfect, complete; to accomplish; bring to a close or fulfilment by event

:43 they had finished the days

Even though the Passover itself was just a single day, it was connected to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the entire package lasted for a week.

:43 lingered behindhupomeno – to remain; to tarry behind; to endure, bear bravely and calmly

This is the verb form of the word often translated “patience” or “endurance”.

We learn “patience” when we go through trials.

(James 1:2–4 NKJV) —2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
A good picture of “patience” is here in our text, where Jesus “stayed behind”.
Others may flee when difficult times arise, but patience is about staying behind when troubles come.

:44 supposing Him to have been in the company

supposingnomizo – to hold by custom or usage; to think, suppose

companysunodia – a journey in company; of a company of travelers, associates on a journey, a caravan

Some of us can’t imagine how Joseph and Mary would leave Jerusalem and travel for an entire day without knowing that Jesus wasn’t with them.

They had been travelling in a group, in a “caravan”.
With these “caravans”, it was customary for the women to be in front, and the men follow in the rear.
Mary might have thought Jesus was with Joseph, and Joseph thought He was with Mary.
At twelve years old, Jesus was old enough to travel with an aunt or uncle’s group.
We know that Jesus also had other brothers and sisters, and Joseph and Mary would have had their hands full keeping track of them as well.

:44 they went a day’s journey

They were a day out of Jerusalem before they realized Jesus was missing.

It would be another day to get back to Jerusalem.

And then it would take them another day to find Him in Jerusalem.

:44 acquaintancesgnostos – known, notable

:45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.

:46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.

:47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.

:46 after three days they found Him

I can’t help thinking of another time when people would be without Jesus for three days after the Passover.

:46 both listening to them and asking them questions

Jesus isn’t sitting in the Temple enlightening the teachers with His sermons.

He is listening carefully, learning to ask the right questions, and dialoging with the teachers.

:47 were astonishedexistemi – to throw out of position, displace; to amaze, to astonish, throw into wonderment

The word speaks of being knocked off balance.

:47 understandingsunesis – a running together, a flowing together with; knowledge; understanding

:47 answersapokrisis – a replying, an answer

:48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”

:48 they were amazedekplesso – to strike out, expel by a blow; to be struck with amazement, astonished, amazed

Most of the time that this word is used in the New Testament, it is translated “astonished”, and is usually connected to how blown away people were with Jesus’ teaching.

:48 why have You done this to us?

I wonder if Jesus ever did silly things with his brother James when they were little …

Video:  Kids with paint

Mary and Joseph are just like every parent.

They have been worried sick about Jesus.

:48 anxiouslyodunao – to cause intense pain; to be in anguish, be tormented

:48 soughtzeteo – to seek in order to find

:49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

:49 My Father’s business

literally, “the things of My Father

Some translations say “I had to be in My Father’s house

:50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.

:50 they did not understand

understandsuniemi – to set or bring together; to put (as it were) the perception with the thing perceived; i.e. to understand: the man of understanding

the statementrhema – that which is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing spoken, word

This seems to be the first time Jesus is calling God His “father”.  Somehow it goes right over His parents’ heads.

2:51-52 Growing up

:51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.

:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

:52 increasedprokopto – to beat forward; to lengthen out by hammering (as a smith forges metals); to go forward, advance, proceed; metaph. to increase, make progress

:52helikia – age, time of life; adult age, maturity; stature, i.e in height and comeliness of stature

:52 favorcharis – grace; that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech; good will, loving-kindness, favor

:52 increased in wisdom … stature … grace

It’s hard to think that Jesus was anything but the fully perfect person from day one.

Yet Luke tells us that Jesus grew and matured.

He is growing mentally, physically, and spiritually.

:51 was subject to them


Learning submission

subjecthupotasso – to arrange under; to submit to one’s control; to obey
Submission is something we all need to learn about.
Even Jesus learned how to be submissive to silly parents who “didn’t understand”.
Kids & parents
(Ephesians 6:1 NLT) Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.
It’s hard when you get to the age where you realize that your parents aren’t perfect, and in fact you just might be smarter than they are.

Just put yourself in Jesus’ shoes.

He was God in human flesh.


Growing Opinions of Dad

4 years: My daddy can do anything.

7 years: My dad knows a lot, a whole lot.

8 years: My father doesn't know quite everything.

12 years: Oh, well, naturally Father doesn't know that, either.

14 years: Father? Hopelessly old-fashioned.

21 years: Oh, that man is out-of-date. What did you expect?

25 years: He knows a little bit about it, but not much.

30 years: Maybe we ought to find out what Dad thinks.

35 years: A little patience. Let's get Dad's assessment before we do anything.

50 years: I wonder what Dad would have thought about that. He was pretty smart.

60 years: My Dad knew absolutely everything!

65 years: I'd give anything if Dad were here so I could talk this over with him.  I really miss that man.

Now that I’m at the latter end of this list, I can tell you that this is actually true.  I miss my dad.

Even though Jesus actually was superior to His parents, He chose to submit to them when He was a youth.
Workers & Bosses
(Ephesians 6:5 NLT) Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.
If you don’t learn submission as a teen, you’re going to have problems when you enter the job market.
Your parents aren’t the only adults who aren’t as smart as you. 

The same goes for your bosses.

Those of us who have been through the school of submission have a term for those who haven’t learned to submit to their employers.

Yes, there are those rare ones who buck the system, start their own company, and make a billion dollars.

But for most people who don’t learn to respect their boss, we call them “unemployed”.

Me & God
(James 4:7 NKJV) Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

It’s sad we often get these backward – submitting to the devil and resisting God.

Ultimately, it all gets back to your relationship with God.
Consider each time you are challenged to learn submission in the other areas – you are actually learning to submit your life to God.
When you do not learn to respect God and submit to Him, there are things that will result.  A sort of “chain reaction”.

Video:  Pepsi Max Chain Reaction

Now that’s a pretty cool chain reaction.

Paul talked about the chain reaction that follows when you don’t acknowledge God and His ways, and it’s not so cool.
(Romans 1:18–32 NLT) —18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. 21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.  23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.

Paul’s point is that it’s obvious to any real thinking person that God exists.

All you have to do is look at creation and forget about what you’ve been brainwashed with in science class.

Just looking at the intricacies of a single cell, or the amount of information encoded in a strand of DNA – all point to an intelligent designer.

When a person rejects the truth that God exists, and that God has told us what is right and what is wrong, a chain of events begins to take place.

Paul saw it taking place in his time.  We see it happening again today.

Brace yourselves, because some of you are going to be offended by what follows.  I am not going to be politically correct.  Just be sure to remember I’m simply reading you the word of God.

Now watch the chain reaction pick up …

I was reading an article about gay marriage the other day, and it was talking about how gay marriage will inevitably be legal throughout the whole country.

The author was pointing out that people opposed to gay marriage do so because they feel it is immoral, yet “immorality” is no longer a legal argument.

Yet think about it, why is it wrong to say something is “immoral”.

Our nation has lost it’s way.  We no longer hold to an absolute moral truth.  Morality is now based on what the culture says instead of what God says.

When we refuse to recognize God as God, we’ve lost our sense of morality.

26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

When we reject the Designer, we reject how He has designed us.

Those with a gay agenda talk about being “born” gay, yet what science actually tells us is that 99.99% of us were born with either an XX chromosome, or an XY chromosome.

Should I base my “identity” on how I “feel”, or how I am actually made?

When I reject God as my creator, the one who made me who I actually am, I open myself up for all kinds of deception.

I’m sorry if it sounds like I'm oversimplifying things. If you or your friends have embraced the gay mentality you might not think that you've rejected God. I know it's all way more complicated than this. But this is the origin of where this all comes from. This is Paul's argument.

What’s confusing today is that we are all being taught that we ought to be “tolerant” towards people who identify themselves as being “gay”.

In fact, if you ever watch much TV, the gay person on TV is always the most handsome, the smartest, and the most likeable person.

If you say anything today that is offensive to the gay lifestyle, you are characterized as a “hater”.

Jesus doesn’t hate people who identify themselves as “gay”.  But He also doesn’t want them to stay duped by the lies.

The Scripture calls homosexuality “unnatural”.

That’s because it goes against “nature”, against design.

I’m not saying that I hate those who consider themselves gay. 

Some Christians make the mistake of making homosexuality the worst of all sins. 

Watch as the chain reaction reaches the next level…

28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.
Please listen to me. 

I’m not saying that if you refuse to follow God you are going to wind up a murderer.

I’m not saying that if you have been friendly with the gay agenda that you are hated by God.

God loves sinners.  We are all sinners.

I am saying that just like the person who continue to live their life by greed, hatred, envy, or gossip, you need to think about heading in a new direction for your life.

I am saying that if you refuse to acknowledge God as God, you are going to fall for the deception that the world has been feeding us.

Jesus came to preach the gospel, which means “good news”.
He didn’t come to condemn us, but to forgive us and change us.
Paul goes on to write in Romans:
(Romans 6:23 NLT) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

We find forgiveness and eternal life in Jesus because He died to pay for our sins.  All of our sins.

(Romans 12:1–2 NLT) —1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.