Refresh: Open with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Luke 2:22-38 in The Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: There is both simple and complex beauty in this passage. This is where understanding more about how the Bible comes together really helps. Exodus 13:2 tells us that there was a Hebrew tradition called Pidyon HaBen which means “Redemption of the Firstborn Son.” The first male child was set aside to serve as a priest. This tradition took place all through the first testament. It was part of the blessing that Abraham gave to his son, and it was passed on over generations. Years later, the Hebrews ended up in slavery in Egypt. God eventually took them out of Egypt, but within days of their rescue they returned to idol worship, bowing before a golden calf. There was only one tribe, the tribe of Levi, that did not join in the idol worship. That tribe became the “firstborn” symbolically (Numbers 3). This meant that firstborn sons of any other tribe were technically disqualified to serve as priests. The redemption for those disqualified was five shekels paid to the temple (Numbers 18). In the passage we are studying this week, Mary and Joseph have arrived to pay the five shekels for their son who is technically disqualified to serve as a priest. Do you sense something deep is about to be revealed here? Do you suppose that in the midst of a very ordinary act, something incredible is about to happen? Yes. Absolutely, and we will discover more about that tomorrow. For now, enjoy imagining the moment in which Mary and Joseph bring their child to the temple for redemption—and suddenly hear two prophets, Simeon and Anna, say that they had waited their entire lives for the Redeemer to arrive and He is here. All is well. Imagine just what that would have meant to them.
Recalibrate: When was the last time you stopped to reflect on what it means to be saved?
Respond: Share a prayer for thanks for the gift of salvation.
Research: Look for connections between the tenth plague in Exodus and the redeemed firstborn.
Live Wonder (ages 0–3)
Jesus was a blessing. There is no doubt that Jesus was the most important baby brought into this world. But each and every child is loved and valued by God. Simeon took Jesus in his arms and blessed God. Take your child in your arms and praise God for the incredible gift they are. Tell them how thankful you are that God has given you the opportunity to be their mom, dad, or guardian.
Live Adventure (ages 4–11)
Simeon was a very old man, but God made sure that he wouldn’t die until he saw Jesus. When he saw Jesus, he praised God saying, “My eyes have seen your salvation.” Talk with your parents about what the word “salvation” means.
Live Purpose (ages 12–16)
Do you have a bucket list of things you want to see or do before you die? If not, take a few minutes to start one now. Write your list in a journal, start a Pinterest board, or scribble your list on pieces of paper and put them in a jar. Simeon’s bucket list had just one item: to see Jesus. How can Jesus bring purpose to all of those things on your list?