Luke 2:25-35-Simeon lived in Jerusalem. He was “righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel“. “Consolation of Israel” speaks of the coming of the promised Messiah. “…consolation, comfort, solace; that which affords comfort or refreshment…thus of the Messianic salvation (so the Rabbis call the Messiah the consoler, the comforter).”
“…and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ”…before the Messiah would come…and “he came in the Spirit” to the Temple. Simeon declares that Jesus is the “salvation” that God has sent…and that He had not just been sent for the Jews alone, but also for the Gentiles.
Luke 2:36-38-Anna, an older woman whose husband had died…was a prophetess. She served continuously…”she never left the Temple”…through fasting and prayer. When she saw Jesus she came up and began to thank God and to tell everyone who was “looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (the coming of the Messiah) about Jesus.
Luke 2:39-After the presentation of Jesus at the Temple, they returned to Nazareth.
Luke 2:41-50-Every year they would go to the Feast of the Passover in Jerusalem. Jesus is now 12 years old. (Ryrie) “At 13 a Jewish boy became a ‘son of the commandment’ and a full member of the religious community. This age was often anticipated by one or two years in the matter of going to the Temple.” Two statements about of the growth of Jesus are made (:40,52). When Joseph and Mary left to return to Nazareth…they were unaware that He had stayed behind. They were traveling with a group that included family and friends…so, initially they were not concerned that He was not with them…thinking that He was with the others. Later in the day they began to worry when they could not find Him…so they returned to Jerusalem. They searched for three days before they found Him. He was in the Temple carrying on a dialogue with the teachers. All who heard Him were “amazed at His understanding and answers.” Mary was upset and asked why Jesus would cause them such anxiety. His answer was that had they thought about it more clearly they would have known exactly where He had been all along, “in My Father’s house”. Mary and Joseph did not fully understand what He meant by that statement.
For your information: In these notes, I have generally tried to place quotes from Scripture in italics so that they will be easily recognizable. However, as you are aware, the words are not italicized in most translations of the English Bible. In fact, when you see a word in the English Bible that is in italics…it means that that word is not actually in the original Greek text (or the Hebrew text in the Old Testament)…but that the context of the sentence implies its presence and its meaning. So, the translators put the word in the English translation, but they put it in italics so that you will know that they have added the word. In this passage of Scripture the word “house” is not in the Greek text, but it is implied. So the translators have supplied the word for us in our English translation, but have put it in italics so that we would know that they had done so.
Luke2:51-52-Jesus is 12-years-old. We know nothing of the intervening years of His life until He appears on the scene again, 18 years later.
There are numerous non-Biblical books that purport to contain accounts of the life of Jesus (and of the Apostles and early church). These books are not inspired by God and therefore their teachings are both spurious and untrustworthy. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, is one such book and claims to detail part of the childhood of Jesus. In it, Jesus shapes lumps of clay to look like sparrows and then brings them to life; curses a boy and makes him wither up simply because he splashed the water that He was playing in; and performed other such fabricated stories.
“The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is a pseudepigraphical gospel about the childhood of Jesus that is believed to date to the 2nd century. It was part of a popular genre of biblical work, written to satisfy a hunger among early Christians for more miraculous and anecdotal stories of the childhood of Jesus than the Gospel of Luke provided. Later references by Hippolytus of Rome and Origen of Alexandria to a Gospel of Thomas are more likely to be referring to this Infancy Gospel than to the wholly different Gospel of Thomas with which it is sometimes confused. It would appear to be unrelated to the Canonical Gospels.”
Explanation of the “Pseudepigrapha” and the “Apocrypha”…
Pseudepigrapha (also Anglicized as”pseudepigraph” or “pseudepigraphs”) are falsely attributed works, texts whose claimed author is represented by a separate author, or a work “whose real author attributed it to a figure of the past.” The word “pseudepigrapha” (from the Greek: ψευδής, pseudo, “false” and ἐπιγραφή, epigraphē, “name” or “inscription” or “ascription”; thus when taken together it means “false superscription or title”; see the related epigraphy) is the plural of “pseudepigraphon” (sometimes Latinized as “pseudepigraphum”).
Pseudepigraphy covers the false ascription of names of authors to works, even to authentic works that make no such claim within their text. Thus a widely accepted but an incorrect attribution of authorship may make a completely authentic text pseudepigraphical. Assessing the actual writer of a text locates questions of pseudepigraphical attribution within the discipline of literary criticism.
In Old Testament biblical studies, the term Pseudepigrapha typically refers to an assorted collection of Jewish religious works thought to be written c 300 BC to 300 AD, not all of which are literally pseudepigraphical. They are distinguished by Protestants from the Deuterocanonical (Catholic and Orthodox) or Apocrypha (Protestant), the books that appear in the Septuagint and Vulgate but not in the Hebrew Bible or in Protestant Bibles. Catholics distinguish only between the deuterocanonical and all the other books, that are called biblical Apocrypha, a name that is also used for the pseudepigrapha in the Catholic usage. In addition, two books considered canonical in the Tewahedo churches, viz. 1 Enoch and Jubilees, are categorized as “pseudepigrapha” from the point of view of the Chalcedonian churches.
Apocrypha are statements or claims that are of dubious authenticity. The word’s origin is the medieval Latin adjective apocryphus, “secret, or non-canonical”, from the Greek adjective ἀπόκρυφος (apocryphos), “obscure”, from verb ἀποκρύπτειν (apocryptein), “to hideaway”.
It is commonly applied in Christian religious contexts involving certain disagreements about biblical canonicity. The pre-Christian-era Jewish translation (into Greek) of holy scriptures known as the Septuagint included the writings in dispute. However, the Jewish canon was not finalized until at least 100–200 years into the A.D., at which time considerations of Greek language and beginnings of Christian acceptance of the Septuagint weighed against some of the texts. Some were not accepted by the Jews as part of the Hebrew Bible canon. Over several centuries of consideration, the books of the Septuagint were finally accepted into the Christian Old Testament, by A.D. 405 in the west, and by the end of the fifth century in the east. The Christian canon thus established was retained for over 1,000 years, even after the 11th-century schism that separated the church into the branches known as the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.
Those canons were not challenged until the Protestant Reformation (16th century), when both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches reaffirmed them. The reformers rejected the parts of the canon that were not part of the Hebrew Bible and established a revised Protestant canon. Thus, concerning the Old Testament books, what is thought of as the “Protestant canon” is actually the final Hebrew canon. The differences can be found by looking here or by comparing the contents of the “Protestant” and Catholic Bibles, and they represent the narrowest Christian application of the term Apocrypha.
Among some Protestants, apocryphal began to take on extra or altered connotations: not just of dubious authenticity, but having spurious or false content, not just obscure but having hidden or suspect motives. Protestants were (and are) not unanimous in adopting those meanings. The Church of England agreed, and that view continues today throughout the Lutheran Church, the worldwide Anglican Communion, and many other denominations. Whichever implied meaning is intended, Apocrypha was (and is) used primarily by Protestants, in reference to the books of questioned canonicity. Catholics and Orthodox sometimes avoid using the term in contexts where it might be considered disputatious or be misconstrued as yielding on the point of canonicity. Very few Protestant published Bibles include the apocryphal books in a separate section (rather like an appendix), so as not to intermingle them with their canonical books.
The Apocrypha denotes a set of books not considered authoritative, or divinely inspired, in Judaism and Protestant Christian churches, and therefore, not accepted into the canon of Scripture. A large portion of the Apocrypha, however, was officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church* as part of the biblical canon at the Council of Trent in A.D. 1546. Today, Coptic, Greek and Russian Orthodox churches also accept these books as divinely inspired by God.
The word apocrypha means “hidden.” These books were written primarily in the time period between the Old and New Testaments (B.C. 420-27).
Books of the Apocrypha
1 and 2 Esdras
Wisdom of Solomon*
Sirach* (also called Ecclesiasticus)
Letter of Jeremiah
Song of the Three Young Men
Bel and the Dragon
Prayer of Manasseh
1 and 2 Maccabees*
Additions to the book of Esther*
Additions to the book of Daniel*
Prayer: Lord, please help me to have the heart of Simeon and Anna…and, to look for Your will to be accomplished in our lives even as they did. And Father, give me the discernment of the Holy Spirit so that I might know the truth and not fall for the deceptions of the world. Help me to be able to understand what You have said in Your Word, the Bible…and to use it as my absolute and final standard.