Next week’s message, “From the Cradle to the Cross” ~ Simeon pronounces his life is now complete as he holds the baby Jesus, but first he points to the cross, the pain, the hurt… May Simeon be a reminder that Jesus came for the purpose of salvation, he came for the purpose of bringing hope in a dark world. Simeon points beyond the stable.
Here’s a silly story about looking into the future. Gramma gave her grandson a birthday present. He was excited to receive a squirt gun. Off he ran to fill it with water. The boy’s mother turned to gramma and said, “but mom, don’t you remember when I was young and I got a squirt gun and all the problems it caused?” Gramma got a smile on her face, “Yes, I remember.”//// Gramma is looking into the future. Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms and smiles. He looks beyond the stable…
Luke 2:22 sets the encounter with Simeon READ. This takes place when Jesus is 40 days old. For churches like ours that practice baby dedication, this is one of the scriptures… A baby dedication, a commitment to raise the child in a God fearing home….dedicating to the Lord.
Enter Simeon: READ Luke 2:25… Simeon is a man ready to see beyond what is in front of his own eyes… Righteous… a man of faith. Devout… consistently living his faith… Waiting for the Consolation of Israel… “consolation” means comfort…Simeon is also said to full of the Holy Spirit. In another scripture the Holy Spirit is said to be the comforter…Simeon pronounces Jesus is come to console or comfort Israel, to make sense of the world, to bring meaning and hope….the season of Christmas is a reminder of the tenderness of God, the compassion, God coming as a newborn. The times that Jesus was born was a very dark time in Israel, occupied by the Romans, Herod, a puppet King of Israel on the throne. Simeon spent a lifetime agonizing over a better day for his beloved country. As Christians, may we always have a sense of expectation, a sense of anticipation. One of the important lessons to learn from Simeon is that he is a man that never gives up on God, never gives up on a better future. Consolation is a good word to describe the meaning of Christmas, for it is in the birth of the baby Jesus that we find comfort, joy… As people of faith in Almighty God, may we never give up….the world needs people who expect greater things…
The Bible does not say Simeon is an old man, but the words in Luke 2:29 suggest it READ. Everything in this passage suggests Simeon has lived a long life, and now there is an affirmation of completion. Contentment and peace is a gift from God.
Luke 2:30 is a marvelous verse: READ. “My eyes have seen…” Your life will finally be transformed when an encounter with Christ is personal, when you can say with your own words, “My eyes have seen…” Clearly, as Simeon waited, he was longing to see with his own eyes… longing to see God… May we have the same longing, to see with our own eyes what this God thing is about, for God to become personal. Other people inspire me and encourage me, but until I see with my own eyes, Jesus Christ is not personal…. For Simeon, what he sees goes beyond the stable. As good as it is to hold the child, what he sees God doing through this baby is far more meaningful.
- Simeon looks beyond the stable and he sees salvation, and salvation is not an event, but a person, the person of Christ.
- Simeon looks beyond the stable and he sees fulfilled prophecy READ Luke 2:31. the birth of Jesus the plan of God known from the beginning of time. To those who chose to listen, the scriptures are full of promises that a messiah is being prepared, and now he is here… Simeon is a witness that the baby Jesus fulfills the promises of God.
- Simeon looks beyond the stable and he sees light for the gentiles. READ Luke 2:32a. The salvation of God is not for Israel alone, but for all people who choose to accept the savior. This is good news for all who accept Jesus Christ.
- Simeon looks beyond the stable and he sees “the Glory of Your People Israel” (Luke 2:32b). Israel is chosen to receive Jesus as one of their own…Salvation is for all, and Israel has honor of Jesus being born into the Jewish community.
Sometimes in this old world we can get so discouraged it is hard to see beyond our own nose. This week we had an unmistakable senseless terrorist attack from ISIS loyalists in San Bernardino, California in which 14 were killed and 21 wounded. Who could imagine that in response to that terrorism a paper in this country would publish a story with the headline: "GOD ISN'T FIXING THIS." The New York Daily News wrote: “Prayers aren’t working.” The article went on to criticize presidential contenders for tweeting such messages as Sen. Ted Cruz: “Our prayers are with the victims, their families, and the first responders in San Bernardino who willingly go into harm’s way to save others.” How in the world did our country get to such a point where there are those that aren’t even embarrassed to pronounce that we need to abandon faith in God? More than ever, we need to embrace God, for without God we can do nothing, without God we are lost. If “God Isn’t Fixing This” old world, then the only alternatives I know are to either give up or to put our faith in humankind. /// I think I’ll go with God, Amen!
Take up the mantel of Simeon. If you are a Christian you already have the Holy Spirit in you. When Jesus was raised from the dead he met with the disciples in an upper room, and the Holy Spirit came upon those who were gathered. Prior to this time, the Holy Spirit comes upon individuals in the Old Testament and into the New Testament, Simeon being one of them it says in Luke 2:25. If you are a Christian the Holy Spirit is upon you. Romans 8:9 says, But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) (NLT).
Take up the mantel of Simeon and expect God to comfort you, to send Jesus Christ. Take up the mantel of Simeon and look beyond the stable to see the salvation of God. To see the fulfillment of his promises. To see the dawning of a new day. What God is bringing is a day of Glory for Israel and for all people. In this dark hour of our world, MARVEL at the birth of Christ and look beyond the stable at the Salvation that is promised through Christ. There is comfort in the stable of Christmas, but there is salvation when you look beyond. Next week we will look from the cradle to the cross.
When Simeon at last holds the baby Jesus, at that moment he senses a completion to his life. There is nothing more. For those who look beyond the stable and see the coming glory of God, even though the fullness of redemption is still coming, we can live today with absolute peace and joy because we know what God will do! Looking beyond the stable means you can live with confidence and a sense of completion today. Simeon does not experience what is coming, but he sees it. Look beyond the stable and know that Salvation is yours and the fullness of God is Coming. Amen.
(At communion talk about how the sacrifice is for Mary in Luke 2:24, not Jesus. As far as we know, Jesus never made a sacrifice for himself because he IS the sacrifice that secures our salvation. This is what communion is about….)