Scripture for Sunday, 28 January (observance of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple):
Malachi 3.1–5; Psalm 24. 1–10; Hebrews 2.14–18; Luke 2.22–40
A question that I heard asked this week was this: would Jesus have gone to the World Economic Forum at Davos? There are apparently those who think that he would have avoided the meeting of the rich and powerful, while others believe that he would have gone, albeit in some cases with the expectation that he would turn over some tables. Reading the gospels would suggest that it would be unwise to place limitations on those with whom Jesus would associate.
The message of the Presentation of Jesus in the temple is that one never knows who might turn up with Jesus, nor what might occur. In fact, the Presentation affirms Jesus’ place as an ordinary Jewish baby in an ordinary Jewish family. Of course, the event unfolded in an extraordinary way, with some powerful messages.
Nevertheless, Jesus’ Jewish identity is important to uphold; something he shared not only with his family, but with all his initial followers. There have been those, especially in the early part of the last century, who try to play down or even ignore this aspect of his nature. But down that tricky road one finds such unpleasant destinations as the Holocaust.
Jesus was, indeed, an ordinary Jewish child, who even as a baby caused extraordinary events to happen, as happened with Simeon and Anna, two rather odd people in the shadows of the Temple community. Their voices became prophetic. We might say that Jesus shone a light into the darker parts of the temple by revealing Simeon and Anna, as he shone a more revealing and challenging light into darker aspects of Temple life 30 years later.
Healthy Christian theology celebrates Jesus as the Messiah sent by the God of Israel, who invited first his own people, and then through his disciples, the rest of the world, to become his followers. It is true that the gospels, especially Luke’s, show Jesus with primary concern for the poor, needy and downtrodden. But those were not the only people with whom he gathered.
And so it is more than likely that Jesus would have gone to Davos. Let us never be the ones to draw boundaries around our faith, or those to whom we can talk or listen. As members of the body of Christ in the world, we inherit his duty to be a light to enlighten the Gentiles – and any of their modern equivalents. Remember: God moves in mysterious ways!