Born to Bring Life By Death

Born to Bring Life By Death, Luke 2:28-35 and Selected
Preached @ Soma Harambee by Pastor Michael Gunn on December 20th, 2009

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:21

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.n6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”
Romans 5:1-9

“34“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Matthew 10:34-39

We have been taking a look at the birth narratives in the book of Luke, and we have seen Luke craft a story surrounding Jesus the king/messiah promised throughout the ages as the “Savior” of humanity. Jesus is born to die for the sins of collective and individual humanity. He has come to inaugurate a new kingdom, with Himself as the king of that kingdom. One would think that Luke would paint a better picture of this savior-king. After all, aren’t regents regal? If He is going to dominate the world, shouldn’t He be born into power? But Dr. Luke doesn’t paint the Christian picture in the usual way. He does tell us that this little baby is the future world leader, the savior of all of mankind, yet He’s going to be born in a manger, rule through humility and weakness and save the world by dying. Hmm, isn’t that kind of reign impractical, naïve and an invitation to becoming a doormat? But this is the picture we get from Luke and the other gospels; this baby will change the world, and He will do so through a completely different power than the world operates under. After all, aren’t all historical narratives written by the powerful?

From the Head…
The Dedication of the Life Giver (Luke 2:22-27)
Here we see a couple of interesting things about Jesus’ first days of life. First His parents were devoted to the law of the Lord (vv. 22-23), next, we see that His parents were poor (v. 24) and lastly, Jesus went through some standard religious ceremonies that every Jewish male went through: Circumcision, which identified Jewish males with Yahweh, The Redemption of the Firstborn, which was performed on firstborn human males and unclean animals (Numbers 18:15-17), showing Christ’s identification with the human race and all of its impurity, and lastly The Purification After Childbirth, which the woman went through after giving birth. She could only be restored into the temple community after the allotted days, and then sacrificing a lamb (Leviticus 12:6) or, as is the case in this passage, if she is poor she would sacrifice to “Turtledoves (Pigeons; V.8).

All of this demonstrates the devotion of Jesus’ parents, but also Luke’s emphasis that this gift from God is being manifested in the temple (The metaphoric place for the house of God). Jesus’ life was manifested in a place, with humans. The emphasis on place here is significant, in that Jesus’ rule is in space in history, and His end game is the redemption of all things including place.

A Song of Life (Luke 2:28-33)
Simeon begins his song in praise of the God that kept His word (vv. 28-29). Here God not only keeps His immediate word (Luke 2: 26), but He has kept His promise from the past (See Isaiah 40:1-5; 42:6; 46:13; 49:6; 52:10; 56:1; 60:1). Simeon is praising God for bringing salvation to the world (Jews and Gentiles), which has also brought glory on Israel, since salvation came from the Jews (See John 4:22). This salvation to the gentiles had Mary and Joseph marveling over this prophetic word from Simeon.

Death’s Reaction to Life (Luke 2:34-35)
Simeon then moves from praise to prophecy reminding Mary and Joseph of the blessing and heartache Jesus will become. When Jesus’ kingdom confronts the kingdom of this world death will become inevitable, as it did in the life of Jesus. Conflict and chaos dictated much of Jesus’ life, and those that desired to live in comfort running in the direction of the world’s kingdom became the enemy of the savior. Jesus came to bring abundant life (John 10:10), yet that life is found in death (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:1-9; Matthew 10:34-39).

…to the Heart
Religion (Any meta-narrative that makes claims to answering man’s deepest issues) can be an enemy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When it places its traditions and customs ahead of the gospel and the person of Jesus Christ, and adds works to the gospel equation, it crushes the gospel that comes to us through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christmas is a brutal anti-gospel. The god of Christmas (Santa) gives gifts (Blessings and salvation) to those that are “Good,” and have behaved. Religion thrives on this, and it is created by the powerful to guarantee public obedience and compliance to cultural norms. This is what religion has been relegated to in our culture; moral structuring, but anyone who has been around the church long enough knows that religious morality is a façade, a smokescreen that is laid bare as the smoke clears.

Christmas is our cluttered with a cultural gospel, that good people get blessed, while evil people don’t. This is culturally insensitive, as most of this world is not blessed in the way many in the west are. Religion preaches a damaging, crushing gospel of restriction and self-made righteousness; Jesus is a life giver, that promises life abundant, through His suffering, and He calls us into the joy of His suffering, for His glory, and our happiness.

The Advent Conspiracy
The “Advent Conspiracy” is a reminder to believers to “Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More and Love All.” Christmas has become a shameful ode to capitalism and materialism, and have replaced the Hope of the gospel, with the materialistic hope of more stuff. We have been duped into believing that hope comes from what we (The ones that are hopeless) create. We live in a “Please me now” culture that has an insatiable desire for more. Advertisers promise way more than they can deliver, and christmas has become their “Holy” season. The advent conspiracy helps us recall that this simple gospel story is the ultimate story offering more joy and hope than any of man’s hopes can deliver. Let’s work in our Missional Communities to recapture this meaning, and to find out who we can bless this Christmas with the money that we are saving from spending less on ourselves. If you can’t find anyone to bless, then please consider giving your money to “Living Water International” (, and agency that helps bring clean water to the millions who are without it (1.8 Million people die every year from unclean water related illnesses. This figure includes 3900 children a day).

To find out more about “The Advent Conspiracy” please go to:


1 comment so far

  1. Resources for Numbers 18:15 - 17 on

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