January 08, 2024

The Return of the King

Luke 2:22-24

“Suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple.”

—  Malachi 3:1

When Jesus is 40 days old, his parents bring him to the temple to present the required offering after a son is born. It’s a big day. Here’s why.

When the Israelites, under Moses, set up a tabernacle (a portable temple) in the wilderness, a cloud of glory signaled the presence of God. God was there in the midst of his people. Later, when they built a temple, under Solomon, the cloud of glory filled it to overflowing. God was enthroned in the temple as Israel’s true King.

Many years later, the prophet Ezekiel saw God’s throne leave the temple—and the cloud of glory with it (Ezekiel 10). Soon the temple itself lay in ruins, destroyed by Babylon. Later the people of Israel returned from exile and built another temple. But this time there was no cloud of glory, no sign that God had come to live in the new temple.

Many more years later, Mary and Joseph came to the temple carrying Jesus. And the Lord, Israel’s true King, was in the midst of his people once again. What kind of king will he be? And what kind of kingdom will he bring?

We are faced with those questions to this day. How will we welcome King Jesus and his kingdom? With humility? With joy? With thanksgiving? With hope? With holy obedience? The answer is in our lives and in the life of the church.

Jesus, you came to live among us for a while. And you will come again. We want to welcome you wherever you appear. And wherever you are, your kingdom is. Amen.

About the author — Bob Arbogast

Bob Arbogast is the pastor of Celebration Fellowship church in Ionia, Michigan. In his spare time, he plays guitar in a West Michigan blues band. He and his wife Jan have been married forty years and have three adult daughters. Bob has been praying the psalms since 2002.

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