Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord (Lk 2:22–40)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

The Lord’s Word gets filled up. It gets fulfilled. It gets done. Laws cherished and obeyed. Promises kept, made good on. The Lord takes care of it all Himself. It’s all done in Jesus. Jesus cherished the Laws and did them purely and with a pure heart. Jesus kept the promises of salvation. He not only did them, He finished them.

It doesn’t matter if the Lord spoke a command or a promise, either way Jesus fulfilled it: filled it up. He fills up the Laws 100%. He fills up the Promises, too—past overflowing. That’s what happens when Jesus comes. Everything gets filled up. Nothing’s left empty.

((2. The Law gets filled up.))

That’s a good thing, too. It means that Jesus fills up the Law for us. If the Lord said “do this” or “meet this measure” or “go this far,” Jesus did it. He didn’t just outwardly do it either. He didn’t just obey. He did it with a pure heart. He wanted to do it, and He alone was able to actually do it! When He cherished the Lord’s Teaching, His Laws, and His Commands, He did it with complete and pure fear, love, and trust in His heavenly Father, and He did it with a completely selfless love for you.

We certainly don’t do any of that. Oh, we may want to—only sometimes, though. But when we try to do what the Lord commands, we quickly start thinking, “Well, how often? How much? Do I really have to do that?” We empty the Lord’s Word for us. We empty the good He wants to do within us. We live as if His Word and His Gifts aren’t that important. We don’t live as if they actually give us the new life we so desperately crave—or should crave! We reduce and empty His Sunday, His Sacraments of the Spirit by talking about “obedience” or “I don’t really have to do that, do I?” We empty His love for our neighbor when we live for ourselves rather than for those around us, or when we do so not out of genuine love for them, but rather out of obligation or reward.

And so the Lord Jesus must fill up the Law for us. He fills it up to death. He not only does it perfectly, but He takes our punishment as His own. He takes our piecemeal outward obedience, and He’s actually obedient. Where we empty, He fills up with faith and love. Where we’re selfish, He’s selfless, even to the giving of Himself into death for those—you and me—who don’t fully live for Him or for others. He sacrifices the pigeons to fill up the Law for us, and He is sacrificed as the Lamb of God for us.

((1. The Promises get filled up, too.))

But Jesus doesn’t just fill up the Law. He fills up the Promises, too. He actually is the Keeping of the Promises! He’s the promised One! Promised to Adam and Eve, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Promised through Moses. He is the true First-born Son who would open the womb of His mother, the Virgin Mary. He’s the one the Sacrifice of Pigeons foretold. He’s why not just firstborns but all people are called “Holy to Yahweh.” His life and death eternally do that.

And in the Sacrifice that told about Him, His sacrifice is also portrayed. Blood, death, and redemption. Jesus on the cross is not only the filling up of the Law, but Jesus dead on the cross is the finishing of all the Lord’s Old Testament promises. Jesus’ suffering on the cross, His bleeding and dying, is “the consolation of Israel,” “the redemption of Jerusalem”—yours and mine, too!

We’re impatient with His Promises. We look past them. Think there should be more, more for us than Jesus dying and rising. More than His working within us through His Word and Gifts. More than His love and forgiveness flowing through us to others. He is “the sign spoken against.” His dying and rising and His delivering His dying and rising to you in Water, Word, Body and Blood are always spoken against. Not just by speaking, but by acting: casting it aside, not using it, setting the terms for how much is too much, how often is too often.

But the Lord’s Promises are filled up. Jesus fills them to overflowing. He fills up everything He promised to His people Israel, He keeps promises to you and me, too. His filled-up Word is true! “My body and blood for you for the forgiveness of sins.” In that filled-up Word, He’ll never leave you nor forsake you; He will resurrect you on the Last Day. Day in and day out more forgiveness, more mercy, more love, more work of the Spirit in your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Filled-up, saved—you and me—in the body and blood.

((Conclusion.))

The Lord’s Word gets filled up. Whatever is “written in the Law of the Lord,” whatever is “according to the custom of the Law,” whatever is “according to His Word,” whatever is “according to the Law of the Lord,” it doesn’t matter, Jesus does it, finishes it, fills it up. Laws cherished and obeyed. Promises kept, made good on. The Lord takes care of it all Himself. He does it to save you. That’s what it’s all about.

JESUS FILLS UP THE LORD’S WORD TO SAVE YOU.

Laws filled up. Promises filled up. Jesus does it all! He does it to get “consolation for Israel,” “peace” for Simeon, “redemption for Jerusalem.” But not just then—now! For you and me, too. That’s what Jesus is all about today. JESUS FILLS UP THE LORD’S WORD TO SAVE YOU. And so you are filled up. Filled up with Him. Filled up with the Spirit. Filled up to overflowing for those around you. Only through Jesus filling you up with His filled-up Word—body and blood for you.

INI + AMEN.

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