By Brooke Holt
“And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” Luke 2:21
In accordance with Jewish tradition, Mary and Joseph had Jesus circumcised on the eighth day. They were faithful Jews who sought to live according to the Law of God. Maybe this deep desire to be faithful is why they were chosen to be the earthly parents to the Christ child.
This commitment to obedience and recognition of God’s authority in their lives was also demonstrated in the name given to the child – Jesus. It was God himself who chose the name and communicated it Mary and Joseph through the angel. They heard the word of the Lord, received it, and then obeyed. There were no questions or doubts, just a faithful response to the Lord’s revelation.
In our world today, we have lost recognition of authority. Respect has broken down as governments have been corrupt, the justice system has failed, and parents have abdicated their divine call to raise children in the faith. Earthly authorities fail us and disappoint us. Thankfully, the true authority found in God never will fail us. He may disappoint us when he does not work according to our plans and purposes; however, his goodness, love, mercy, and presence will never fail us.
In a world desperate for guidance and certainty, people deny God’s authority and seek to live as their own authorities, or they look to other broken people or other broken systems. Why this resistance to the authority of the Lord? The answer is found right at the beginning of Genesis. Eve fell prey to the serpent’s cunning words: “You will surely not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5). Eve wanted to know and understand what only God could know and understand. Seeking to be like him, she partook of the forbidden fruit.
Humankind has not changed much. We still long to have all wisdom and discernment and to decide what is good and evil. The Lord also hasn’t changed as he is the only true source of that wisdom and discernment. Obedience to him leads to the life and vitality that humans seek.
Who is your authority? To whom do you bow your knee and to whom do you submit your life? Mary and Joseph acknowledged God’s rule in their lives, and they were honored to serve as the earthly parents to Jesus. Would the Lord find you faithful today?
Consider your view of authority in this world. Are you seeking to be your own authority or are you looking to another person in this world? Spend some time in God’s Word and ask him to reveal his truth and authority to you today. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Follow the ancient way of the Psalms and find the life God has for you. A model for vibrant worship, the Psalms provide practical wisdom to traverse the circuitous path of life with trust and hope. Pilgrim’s Path: A Study of the Psalms traces our spiritual walk with God—from discovery and delight, through doubt and disappointment, into joyful confidence. Whether used for individual or group study, Pilgrim’s Path is for everyone who seeks to know and love God more and find life in him.
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