Now that it’s January 4th, most communities will have already awarded long ago the first baby born in 2015. As these new children begin their life journey, what lies ahead for each of them? What will they accomplish? What joys and sorrows will be woven together through their lives?
As Joseph and Mary listened to the prayer and praise proceeding from the lips of Simeon, God’s appointed “messenger” for the hour, they were amazed. Simeon, prophetically, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, looked into the future at the central purpose for which Christ came.
“The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2:33-35)
These are not just the ramblings of a senior citizen. This divine encounter proves true as the life of Jesus Christ unfolds throughout the ensuing centuries.
A few observations:
1) Simeon blessed them. Proverbs 18:21 reminds us that the “power of life and death is in the tongue.” May 2015 find us blessing others through what we say, rather than destroying them! I thank God for countless Christ-followers who have blessed us with notes, emails, messages, phone calls and personal conversations. Their “well-timed” words have encouraged our family, given us perspective and caused us to find fresh joy in the journey of following Christ.
2) Simeon spoke into Mary’s life as the mother of our Lord. How particular these next two sentences were addressed to the mother of Jesus. She would be there through it all, including the heart-wrenching crucifixion event.
3) Jesus Christ divides people. Some resisted and even today resist Him, and fall; others accept Him and rise. This was true in Israel as some “received” Him and others, demonstrating rebellious hearts declared “his blood be on us and on our children” (Matt. 27:25)
4) Jesus Christ reveals the true heart condition of each individual. Take a look through the life of Jesus Christ. It was dangerous to think around Him! Jesus “knew their thoughts” one text records. Jesus “knew what was in a man” another reminds us. The “thoughts” of many hearts, their true sentiment towards Christ would be revealed just as they are today.
5) Jesus Christ came to die. He has just been born but He has come to die. Simeon warns this young mother that a painful experience will pierce her own soul. I’m sure these words came back to Mary’s mind some 33 years or so later as Jesus hung upon the cross.
May the study of Jesus Christ be used by the Spirit of Christ to make us more like Christ! That is my prayer.