Malankara World

Bible Commentary / Bible Study

Mayaltho (Maa'ltho - Entry of our Lord into the temple)

B.W. Johnson Commentary on St. Luke 2:22-40

From The People's New Testament, B.W. Johnson, 1891

22. The days of their purification. See Lev. 12:4-6. These "days" were a period of thirty-three days after the circumcision of a male child. He was then to be presented in the temple by the parents.

23. Every male . . . shall be called holy. That is, devoted to the Lord. See Exod. 13:12. All the first-born were to be presented to the Lord and redeemed by an offering (Num. 18:15).

24. To offer a sacrifice. The law (Lev. 12:6-8) required a lamb for a burnt offering and a pigeon or turtle-dove for a sin offering, but in the case of the poor one of these birds might be substituted for the lamb, "and the priest shall make atonement for her and she shall be clean" . The fact that Joseph and Mary brought a pair of birds instead of a lamb shows that they were very poor. The gifts of the wise men were after this.

25. Simeon. The first prophet to declare that Christ had come. Looking for the consolation of Israel. The promised Messiah. The Holy Spirit was upon him. To give him supernatural knowledge. It was revealed to him that he should see Christ. [231]

27. Came in the Spirit into the temple. Directed by and filled with the Spirit. After the custom of the law. Offered the required sacrifices. The law was strictly observed, because Jesus was "born under the law."

28. And said. The utterances of Elizabeth, Mary and Simeon are consecutive. Each begins where the other ends. Mary sings her own born Messiah; Zacharias celebrates the triumph of Israel, and Simeon announces the hopes of the Gentiles. But, besides this holding forth the Messiah as a Savior for Gentile as well as Jew, what is remarkable is, that he announces in Jesus a suffering Messiah as well as a glorious.--Whedon.

32. A light to lighten the Gentiles. Scholars have said that in the work of opening the gates of Christianity to the Gentiles, Stephen was the forerunner of Paul. Might it not be said that Simeon was the forerunner of Stephen, and the Gentile Luke the historian of both? Yet the true doctrine on the subject is explicitly and repeatedly declared not only here, but in the prophecies of the Old Testament. Compare Isa. 9:2; 40:1; 49:6.

33. Marvelled. That Simeon should know the child.

34. Set for the falling and rising of many. Christ brought downfall to the hopes of those who expected a temporal prince and a political millennium, and ruin to those whose desire for the kingdom of God was ambition for place and power in it, as the Pharisees. He brought rising to those who were willing that God should overthrow their plans and ambitions, and who accepted from him the grander gift of a universal kingdom, prepared for all people. The rejection of him brought ruin to the Jews; the acceptance of him brought life eternal.

35. A sword shall pierce through thine own soul. He announces that the blessed mother should also be a sorrowing mother. Though she was exulted in the thought that her son should sit on the throne of David, she learns now that the calumny will make him its sign, and a sword shall pierce her soul. That the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. Christ brings to light by bringing into activity the thoughts of the heart. The result of preaching Christ is always to awaken opposition or love and obedience. [232]

36. One Anna, a prophetess. An aged saint who spoke by inspiration. Daughter of Phanuel. Evidently a man well known in that day. Of the tribe of Asher. One of the twelve tribes occupying the strip of sea-coast from Sidon to Carmel.

37. A widow even for fourscore and four years. She had passed seven years with a husband when young and then remained a widow until, at this time, she was eighty-four years old, devoting herself to a religious life. Departed not from the temple. Probably assigned, on account of her saintly character, a chamber in the temple.

38. Spake of him. Of the Babe, she speaking by inspiration, and declaring that he was the promised child.

39. They returned into Galilee. Luke omits the stirring events that lie between the visit to the temple and the return to Nazareth, possibly because they are so fully given by Matthew. See Matthew, chapter 2. Their own city Nazareth. The old home of Joseph and Mary, now to be the home of Jesus until he was thirty years of age; a mountain village in southern Galilee.

40. The child grew. He was a child, and a child that grew in heart, in intellect, in size, in grace, in favor with God. Not a man in child's years. Filled with wisdom. The body advances in stature and the soul in wisdom. The divine nature revealed its own wisdom in proportion to the measure of the bodily growth.--Cyril. In "the mystery of godliness," "God manifest in the flesh," one of the inscrutable things that was that the Divine man should become a babe, not only in body, but in mind and wisdom.

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