In these days that the world celebrates Christmas I would like to meditate briefly on a scene from the Gospels that, in a way, connects the birth of Christ with His death. I refer to the passage in which Joseph and Mary take the newborn child to circumcise him to the temple and there they meet Simeon: Lk. 2: 21-35.
We do not know exactly who Simeon was, but at least we know that he was a righteous and pious man, waiting for the consolation of Israel. In other words, Simeon was waiting for the arrival of the Messiah who had been widely promised by the OT prophets.
Luke also tells us that he was a man filled with the Holy Spirit, and that God had revealed to him that before his death he would have to see that promised Messiah. So at the moment that Joseph and Mary go to the temple to present Jesus according to what is established in the law of Moses, the Spirit of God moves Simeon to meet them.
And as soon as he sees the child he takes him in his arms, and blesses God saying: "Now, Lord, send your servant away in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples; light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory of your people Israel "(verses 29-32). But the most amazing thing is the prophetic words that Simeon pronounces in vers. 34-35, which are the ones I wish to comment on in this post: "Behold, this one is set for fall and for the uprising of many in Israel, and for a sign that will be contradicted (and a sword will pierce your very soul), to be revealed the thoughts of many hearts. " Three things Simeon prophesies about this child.
The first is that it would be the cause of a deep division.
We all know that the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ divided human history in two. Every time we write a date we are forced to recognize the impact of Jesus on history. But Simeon tells us here that the impact of His coming would be much deeper. It is not simply a matter of dates, but of destiny. The destiny of all men who have lived, live and will live, has been indissolubly connected with the person of Christ. "Behold, this is set for fall and for the rising of many in Israel." In other words, many will be ruined and destroyed, while many others will be saved; and what will make the difference between one and the other is closely related to that child of just 8 days old that Simeon had in his arms at that time. All fall or rise for Him.
With the coming of Christ the world was divided into two groups: those who believe in Him and those who do not believe; those who accept him and those who reject him; those who submit to His lordship and those who continue in obstinacy. But nobody remains indiferente before Him. The same Lord says in Lk. 11:23: "He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters. " It is impossible to remain indifferent before the Person of Christ. Those who refuse to prostrate themselves before Him are making the decision to reveal themselves against Him and that is why they will be eternally ruined.
But just as Simeon refers to condemnation as a fall, so he speaks of salvation as an uprising. The sinner who is prostrate in his crimes and sins, crushed by the weight of guilt, by the weight of a guilty conscience, is raised by God when he receives from Him by the complete faith forgiveness of all his transgressions.
The second that Simeon prophesies about this child is that there would be a strong opposition against him.
"Behold, this one is set for fall and for the rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that will be contradicted (and a sword will pierce your very soul)." This child would be a sign in the sense that His life and His work would not be an end in itself; His mission was to point the way to the Father (John 14: 6). However, even though it was a very clear signal, even though the marks of His messianism were so evident, Simeon prophesied that it would be contradicted, that strong opposition would arise around Him.
There has never been anyone as extraordinary as Christ; no one who has lived the life He lived, or who has spoken the words He spoke, or who has done the things He did. No one. But as it was prophesied, from his very birth, Christ had to face this contradiction of men. Herod ordered his death being only a child about 2 years old, and that was no more than the preamble of the hatred that would rise around him throughout his life. And not because there was any defect in Christ; the defect was in the hearts of men who do not want to interpret the signal adequately. It is a signal as clear as the light of noon, but they refuse to see it.
Christ would say later in Jn. 3:19: "And this is the condemnation, that light came into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil detests the light and does not come to the light, so that his works will not be reproved. "
Man loves his sin, and therefore he hates Christ with the same passion and zeal with which he loves his wickedness. That would raise a great opposition against Jesus that would cause great pain for His mother Mary. That is what Simeon is referring to when he says in vv. 35 that a sword would pierce his soul. Throughout the ministry of Christ, Mary would have to suffer a sharp pain in her heart from the bitter hatred of men against her Son. His mother's heart was to break into a thousand pieces, as if pierced by a sword, especially when he had to contemplate his Son nailed to the cross.
That newborn child was none other than the Lamb of God who would be sacrificed for the sins of all those whom He came to save. That child was born to die, to give His life as a ransom for many.
The third thing that Simeon prophesies is that the true character of men would be revealed in the attitude they assume toward the Person of that Messiah who had just been born.
Simeon says estar 35 that all this will happen "so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." In other words, the position that a man assumes regarding Christ and His work reveals the true condition of his heart. "Everyone who does evil, hates the light, says in Jn. 3:20, and he does not come to the light, so that his works are not reproved. "
Men make many excuses not to believe, but the actual reason is that they love the way of life they live, regardless of what God thinks about it. They may be decent and charitable people, even religious. Those who killed Christ were religious, some of them very jealous of their traditions. They went to the temple every Saturday, gave tithes of everything they earned, and were externally unimpeachable. But the attitude they assumed towards the Messiah revealed clearly that they had a damaged heart. It is not what a man says with his mouth, but what he does with Christ, which reveals his condition before God. He is the only way of access to the Father, the only gateway to enter the kingdom of heaven, the only one in whom you can find the forgiveness of all your sins.
Whether we want it or not, our destiny is inextricably linked to Him. No one can evade that reality. Our eternal condition depends on the attitude we assume toward the Savior of sinners who was born about 2000 years ago in a small village in Bethlehem. May the Lord use writings like this, and many others that will surely be published in these days, to call sinners to repentance and faith, so that they may be partakers of the news of great joy that the angel announced to the pastors that first Christmas: "Do not fear; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all the people: for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is CHRIST the Lord "(Luke 2: 10-11).
© By Sugel Michelén. All Captive Thought. You can reproduce and distribute this material, as long as it is non-profit, without altering its content and recognizing its author and origin.
Author: Sugel Michelén
He studied for the ministry in 1979. Later he was sent by the Biblical Church of the Lord Jesus Christ (IBSJ), in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to the city of Puerto Plata, to begin a work there. But at the end of 1983 he was called to be part of the IBSJ pastor corps, where he serves the Lord since then, regularly exposing the Word on Sundays. He is also the author of the blog All Thought Captive.
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