THE HOLY GOSPEL
Luke 2:25-40 (Introductory verses added)
25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. 33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; 35(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.36And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; 37And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.38And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. 39And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. 40And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
Revealed in the testimony of Simeon, Anna, Mary, and Joseph is the importance of attending to our duties of worship regularly. Simeon had done so for all his life and bore in his heart the great hope of seeing His Redeemer before death. The Holy spirit of god had informed him of the surety of that desire long before his attendance at the Temple on the day in question. He was a devout and righteous man whose life aim was satisfied in not only seeing, his salvation in Christ, but actually holding the Babe in his arms. God always rewards those of faith. The moment Mary entered with the child, Simeon knew, by the efficacious counsel of the Holy Ghost, that THIS was the promised Son of God! Faith and worship will always result in a great reward!
There is another figure in this story whose faith and works deserve witness – the prophetess, Anna. Anna was an old saint of God worthy of our emulation. At the rich old age of 84, she was yet serving in the Temple night and day without ceasing – the calling of God knows no retirement age. She, too, recognized, by faith, the Christ Child without hesitation. Faith confirmed is a surer knowledge than any eye witness.
Do we have such a faith as evidenced in the lives of Simeon and Anna. We probably do not have at this instance, but I feel certain that the moment such faith is required, the Lord will exercise it to a full measure.
Now let us examine the lectionary text in detail beginning at the 34th verse of St. Luke 2:
There is a great Deep in the Grace of God that covers many waters and extends to greater depths than we are able to fathom.
VV 34 – “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against.” There were many other Temple workers and worshippers in the Temple on that day, but only two are mentioned who recognized Christ. For worship to be effectual, it must be done in wisdom, spirit, and Truth.
What is meant by “The Fall of many?” Our Lord is the stone which the very builders rejected, and still reject. Many of your high spiraled churches with the wealth and assets of major banking institutions often obscure the beauty of true faith and dilute the truth so that it is no long truth. “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:16-17
Jesus Christ brings all things to a fullness which they did not possess before His coming. The Law itself is fulfilled in Christ. The mysterious Deep of the Sea of Wisdom is brought to the Great Light in Christ so that we see and know our lostness, and understand the means of our Salvation. Like a deep sea creature that has never seen the sunlight, we are showered with effulgent beams in the glorious appearing of our Lord.
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” John 14:6
This was a new Truth for all upon the Earth. The Jews, who took pride in their righteousness from obedience to the Law, refused to accept that Grace was free to all regardless of their racial or national origins.
Pride prevented their coming to Christ in great numbers.
Pride is the downfall of many – more than from murder and lies.
Pride brought down to the Pit, the beautiful and powerful Archangel, Lucifer.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will
exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” Isaiah 14:12-15
Not only those in Israel, but those even in the heights of power – Satan himself.
“Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.” Matt 21:42-46
As we see, the Coming of Christ has changed all things. No longer are we in bondage to the Law, but are free by Grace. That does not mean that we are antinomianists – we do not flaunt the Law of God. But we love His Law and observe it out of love and not out of a rock-written compulsion!
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8
Today, we stand or fall upon the Cross of Christ.
And are we yet judged by our sins. Certainly, but not condemned. The condemnation for our sins is certain death.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Eph 2:8-9
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.” Rom 5:8-14
So we can see that by the sin of Adam, death, pain and suffering fell upon us as inheritors of his sinful blood.But through the second Adam, Christ, life eternal.
Our condemnation, engendered by the Serpent in the Garden at Eden, was death.
Our Redemption through Christ, is life eternal.
The condemnation is paid by Christ. He died for our sins in our stead so that we who accept this pardon, are saved from the wrath of God.
ARE YOU, FRIEND?