WHAT DOES THE CHRIST CHILD BRING WITH HIM?
Intro: A missionary linguist was working in a remote village in Laos. He was struggling to translate the word “Savior.” So he asked the villagers what word would describe the person who saved someone from a tiger’s attack? “Pa,” they replied. Next, he asked what word would describe someone who rescued a child from falling off a cliff? Again they replied, “Pa.” Some days later, the missionary set off on a raft with two women to cross a river. The water was turbulent and the raft flipped upside down. The missionary grabbed the women, who were drowning, and swam with them to shore. Afterwards, the missionary asked the villagers what word would describe the action of saving the women. They responded, “Not pa, but che. Pa is when you reach down to help someone from above and che is when you are in the water yourself.” That’s what Jesus did. He went into the depths of the water Himself and pulled us out – a real Savior who became like us, lived with us, and gave his life for us.
The parents of Jesus had brought Him into the Temple for presentation and redemption at 6 weeks of age, when they were met by one, whose venerable figure must have been well known in the city and the Sanctuary. This account of an aging man named Simeon (probably a priest) answers for us the question…
WHAT DOES THE CHRIST CHILD BRING WITH HIM?
1. Comfort for those who seek it (vv. 25-26)
Luke 2:25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
Luke 2:26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
Luke gives us a “character reference” for Simeon…
Simeon combined the 3 characteristics of OT godliness: (a) just – how he related to both God and man (b) devout – he feared God in his daily routine (c) patient – with longing expectancy he waited for coming of God’s Kingdom
This older saint, Simeon, represents Israel at its finest: devout, obedient, constant in prayer, led by the Holy Spirit, at home in the temple, longing and hoping for the fulfillment of God’s promises.
“the Consolation of Israel” is another name for the triumphant arrival of the Messiah, Israel’s promised Deliverer. It is God’s ultimate salvation.
It is called by several other names in Luke’s Gospel: “redemption of Jerusalem” (2:38, Anna); “the master’s return” (12:36) “coming of the kingdom of God” (23:51, Joseph of Arimathea); “resurrection of the just and unjust” (Acts 24:15)
This was expected to be preceded by a time of great suffering for the people. Suffering brings sadness…
In the days when the nation was being severely oppressed by Rome, the faithful looked all the more intently for the Savior who would solve their political and economic problems.
2 Tim 4:8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
2. Assurance for those who receive it (vv. 27-30)
Luke 2:27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law,
Luke 2:28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
Luke 2:29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word;
Luke 2:30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
When the holy family is brought to the temple by the need to fulfill God’s law, Simeon is brought into the temple by impulse of the Holy Spirit. It was a divine conspiracy that they should meet together!
The parents pursue their purpose by passing the Child into the arms of the priest. They do not yet realize that something more is happening in that moment, but Simeon does!
The scene is a moving one: an old man now ready to die holding a six-week-old baby who is, at long last, “the Consolation of Israel.”
Simeon blessed God, that is, he offered up a prayer of thanksgiving.
He concluded that God was releasing him in blessed comfort from both his working and his watching – since he had actually now seen the instrument of God’s salvation for himself.
He is ready to die peacefully now that He has seen the salvation of the Lord. The language he uses is that of a freed slave – he is thinking of his death as the release from a long, arduous task.
His duty is done! The Great Day has finally come!
3. Truth for everyone exposed to it (vv. 31-32)
Luke 2:31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
Luke 2:32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”
Simeon goes on to show that this salvation is not for any singular nation but for all nations.
This is clear enough in the phrase “before the face of all peoples,” but Simeon spells it out by speaking of both “the Gentiles,” and “Your people Israel.”
Alfred Edershiem – With this Infant in his arms, it was as if he stood on the mountain-height of prophetic vision, and watched the golden beams of sunrise far away over the isles of the Gentiles, and then gathering their full glow over his own beloved land and people.
John 7:37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
4. Trouble for those who prefer it (vv. 33-35)
Luke 2:33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.
Luke 2:34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against”
Luke 2:35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Simeon’s unexpected appearance, and even more his startling words, filled the hearts of the Child’s parents with wonder.
It was as if the whole history of Christ’s life upon earth passed in a rapid, panoramic vision before Simeon’s eyes.
Also, we now find that the whole story is NOT sweetness and light. Salvation will be purchased at heavy cost and Simeon somberly records this truth.
Jesus will bring truth to light and in so doing throw all who come into contact with Him into a crisis of decision.
In that decision, rising and falling, life and death, result.
Jesus precipitates the most important movement of one’s life, either toward or away from God.
As much as we may wish to join the name of Jesus only to the positive, satisfying, and blessed things of life, the inescapable fact is that anyone who turns against light creates shadows.
Simeon predicts that because of the Child, “many in Israel,” would be brought to moral decision, some to the point of collapse (“falling”) and others to what can well be called a resurrection (“rising”).
Leon Morris – People declare themselves by their attitude to him. We cannot ultimately be neutral. When people see Christ suffer, their reaction shows on which side they stand.
Luke 11:23 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
Luke 12:8 Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God.
Luke 12:9 But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
Jesus is clearly portrayed as the object of Israel’s fondest hopes and dreams. Mary’s child is the long-awaited Christ (2:26) who would bring about the fulfillment of Israel’s dreams, i.e., their consolation (2:25), salvation (2:30), glory (2:32), and redemption (2:38).
What if we try neutrality, or worse, what if we decide to refuse Him instead of obeying the Gospel?
2 Tim 2:12 If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.