Christmas thoughts

Posted: December 27, 2008 in Thoughts

Sorry this is late…I decided not to spend much time online at Christmas. Go figure. 🙂

Luke 2:25-32 (focus on 29-32)

One part that often gets left out of the Christmas story is what took place 8 days later, according to the law… After Jesus was circumcised, Simeon saw the Child for who He was: the Christ!

1. Who was Simeon? Just a guy. Scripture gives us very little background on him:
__a. He was “just & devout” & filled with the Spirit…but not a priest (nor a prophet, necessarily). The priests were the ones who expected to see the Messiah 1st (which may be why they hung around John the Baptist so much!). In retrospect, they seem to have been the last to know. From man’s perspective, Simeon was not a likely person; but from God’s perspective, Simeon was just the guy!
____i. Why? Because Simeon had faith! Any righteousness & reverence he had (just & devout) came as a result of trusting in God & His promises. Hebrews 11:6 (6) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. []

2. What was he doing? Waiting in the temple for the promised Messiah…actually received a personal promise from the Holy Spirit that Simeon would see him before his death. Logical place to wait; but an unexpected candidate! The Messiah didn’t ride through the city gates as a confident warrior/king, but as an 8 day old infant brought in by a poverty-stricken young couple… But through eyes of faith, Simeon saw much more:
__a. God’s salvation: That’s exactly what the name “Jesus” means! “Yahweh is salvation”. We so desperately need to be saved from the results of our sin (death), and God Himself provided that salvation by sending His only begotten Son to die on the cross & rise again from the grave. Did Simeon know every detail when he looked at baby Jesus? Probably not – but he did know that it was through this little baby that God was going to offer salvation to the entire world!
__b. A light to the Gentiles: Who are the Gentiles? We are (for the most part)! Literally the Greek is ἔθνος (ethnicity) = “nations.” The Son of God did not come for only one tiny country seated on the Mediterranean Sea; Jesus was given for the entire world! John 3:16 (16) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. [] He came for you & for me!
__c. The glory of Israel: Jesus did come for the world, but He also serves a very important role for the nation & people of Israel – He is their awaited King. He is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham (Gen 12) – He is the prophet to come promised to Moses (Deut 18) – He is the son of David, who is the eternal King of Israel (2 Sam 7). Did Israel receive Jesus as their King? No – they rejected Him (as prophesied, Isa 53:3), but He was born as their King, died as their King, and was risen to life as their King forever…which means Jesus is our King as well – the King of Kings & Lord of Lords!
____i. Does it matter to Gentiles that Jesus is the King/Messiah of Israel? It should! God has kept His word to His people – despite their rejection of Him. If God kept His promise of a Deliverer for Israel, we can trust in His promise of salvation to us, too!

3. How do we see Christ? As a babe? A myth/legend? A nice story to read at Christmas & Easter? Or as the salvation of the Lord God – the promised Messiah – our Deliverer? We recite a lot of fairy tales at Christmastime (nothing wrong with that) – but Jesus isn’t one of them. [] God Himself really did come to earth as a babe, born of a virgin – and Jesus grew in wisdom & stature with the Lord. When Jesus was grown, He was well-pleasing to His Father in Heaven & proclaimed to us that He is the way, the truth, and the life & no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). He died on a cross – not because He deserved it, but because you & I did… And then He rose to life again on the 3rd day, and is still alive to this day – offering forgiveness & grace to any who receive Him as Lord & Savior. Want a reason to celebrate at Christmastime? It’s simply this: we have seen the Lord’s salvation – and it is Christ the Lord!

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