Today's Little Lift
by Jim Bullington
“And it had been revealed to him [Simeon] by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” (Luke 2.26).
Simeon was overjoyed to see the Lord's Christ. He had waited perhaps all his life to witness the events that unfolded in the temple when Jesus was brought there at the tender age of 40 days. Other than the fact that the Holy Spirit guided him, we do not know how Simeon was able to know that this particular child was the Lord's Christ. I would suppose that He looked like every other 40 day old baby being brought to the temple on that day, but Simeon knew that He was different!
Simeon took Jesus in his arms and blessed God saying, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32). See the twinkle in the old man's eye as He holds this Oh so special child! Hear the emotion in his voice as he speaks words which signaled the nearness of his own death, but more importantly, his salvation along with all others who live righteously. The Lord's Christ was set to be the One through whom all men could be saved! For this fact, Simeon was emotionally overwhelmed!
Simeon blessed Mary and Joseph as they stood by. Then he turned specifically to Mary and said, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2.34-35). For a new mother, these words must have been extraordinarily heavy. Her Child was destined to a future which included both the glorious and the dark. Like many things, blessings come with curses, and so it was with Mary's child. Such would be His lot in life and the effect upon her would be significant; “Yes, a sword will pierce though your soul also.” The pain that awaited the Son also awaited the mother, at least in some significant measure. See the emotion and wonderment in Mary's eyes as she hears these prophetic words. Feel her heart quicken as she begins to face the reality of what it meant to be the mother of the Lord's Christ!
“In that instant she [Anna] gave thanks to the Lord.” (Luke 2.38). This was not a prayer meeting planned by man complete with announcements and invitations for others to attend. It was a prayer meeting arranged in heaven! First Simeon and now Anna, a prophetess 84 years old, acknowledged the greatness of the moment. But there is more than meets the eye here. Anna did not just give thanks at that moment; according to Luke she continued to speak “...of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” Implied is a contingent of people, a righteous remnant, who steadfastly looked for the coming of the Lord's Christ. Anna's message to them was, “He has come!” But equally significant was her need to constantantly tell others the news that was absolutely too good to keep to herself!
The Lord's Christ was revealed to others by the Holy Spirit. Here in this one verse (Luke 2.26) we can see the Godhead, the Holy Trinity, about the work of redeeming mankind! Of course, the Lord in this text refers to the Father. The word Lord is in the possessive (genitive) case and marks out a particular relationship that existed between Him [the Father] and the Christ. Furthermore, the entire blessed scene was orchestrated by the Holy Spirit as He moved in revealing the Lord's Christ to others. In this one verse, the purposes of the Godhead are revealed with marvelous clarity and wonderment!
1. What does the word Christ mean? Why did the Lord need a Christ?
2. According to Simeon, a sword would pierce Mary's soul. When and how did this occur?
3. Did some really fall in Israel as a result of the Christ? If so, in what way was He associated with their fall? Did some rise as a result of His work? If so, how and who?
4. What part did the Spirit of God have in the prayer meeting in the temple? What part ought He to have in our prayer meetings today?
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