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Simeon had been waiting for the ‘Consolation of Israel’. This was a term given by the Jews to the Messiah who would come to comfort His people. In the 26th verse the Holy Ghost told Simeon that he would not die until he saw the Messiah.
When the parents brought Jesus into the temple, Simeon took Him up in his arms and blessed God, and said, “Now let thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before thy face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” Here we see that He came to provide salvation for all men, both the Jews and the Gentiles.
Then in verse 34 Simeon makes one of the greatest prophetic statements of all times when he stated, “This child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against.” Many will FALL by Him and many will RISE! These words inform us that He is not only tender toward those who seek Him but He is also the fierce flame of judgment to those who reject Him.
Jesus was born of a peasant woman in an obscure town in a lowly stable, (some say it was a carved out place in the side of a hill in the darkness of a cave), because there was no room for Him in the inn. The world did not welcome Him with open arms then and many even sought to kill the Christ-child. Even after more than 2000 years there are many today to whom Christmas is not a welcomed occasion and Christ is not a welcomed guest.
The reason many deplore the Christmas season is because it is the celebration of the birth of one who is a living conviction and contradiction to those who make self the center of life. He who is the revealer of the thoughts of men hearts brings light to the hidden evils of the human spirit. Jesus said, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin.” It is for this reason we are witnessing an all out assault on Christmas and upon the Christ. Men still show what they are by the way they treat Christ and holiness.
We read in Matthew 21:42 that He is the Cornerstone of Mercy to those who believe and receive Him. However two verses later He is the Crushing-stone of Judgment to those who reject Him. He is the infallible test whereby the soul will either suffer retribution or experience a glad redemption. Our attitude toward Him rests our eternal destiny. He is the test by which many will fall but He is also the test by which many shall rise.
Jesus’ birth was for the purpose of His death. “For this cause came I unto this hour.” The cradle started His mortal Life and the cross ended it. But it is there at the cross that our eternal life begins. These words depicted the anguish that Mary would feel when the nation rejected and crucified Jesus and would be like a “sword piercing through her soul.” However we are reminded that it was for this very purpose that He came into the world. “He took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men….and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross….that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” (Phil 2:7-8, Hebrews 2:14)
My mother used to make her own soap that she used to wash clothes. The two ingredients she used were lye and lard. Lye was a corrosive that loosens and breaks up the dirt while lard was the oil that washes it away. In the same way Jesus has come and provided for the destruction of Satan along with the oil of His promised cleansing from sin to every repentant sinner!
The cradle was in anticipation of the cross and it was by way of the cross that the crown is won. Dr. G. C. Morgan said, “the coming of Christ was an invasion of human history by One who snatched the scepter from the usurper.” If He has snatched the scepter, He will also wear the crown.
As Isaiah prophesied, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” The Bible reveals many who came in contact with Jesus and was able to rise above the world, the flesh and the devil and walk in newness of life.
1. Matthew, the tax collector who later became the biographer of Jesus, “Rose and followed Jesus.”
2. The demon-crazed boy at the bottom of the Mount of Transfiguration. “Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose, and was healed.”
3. The prodigal son, having squandered his inheritance said, “I will arise and go to my father…..he arose and came back home.”
4. Saul of Tarsus, having fallen in surrender, Jesus said, “Rise and stand upon thy feet.”
5. Jesus says to the impotent man, “Arise, pick up your bed and walk.”
“If we then be risen with Christ, let us seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Let us set our affections on things above, not on things on the earth…..When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory.”
May we like Simeon rejoice that the ‘Consolation of Israel’ has come. Let us open our hearts to “the Salvation which He has prepared before the face of all people.” Remember that the first advent bears the promise of a second advent when He will come to set up His Kingdom on earth. It is only as we gladly receive Him now that we will be able, with great anticipation, to “look for Him who shall appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
Let us rejoice this Christmas because our eyes have seen thy salvation!