Longing For His Coming
Longing is a powerful emotion in the human heart. Longing for peace, longing for healing, longing for the visit of a family member we miss so much, are all things that keep our hearts busy. Imagine now the longing of Simeon for the coming, promised Messiah! The story is in Luke 2 and is a powerful story even though it is told in a few brief verses.
Our world today is not much different from Israel then in the sense of political troubles and the dangers of violence and disruption due to the power of occupation troops and egotistical monarchs. There were lots of things that presented danger and also reminded those who sought to live a righteous life of the deep sinfulness of man.
Into such a world came Jesus, the very Son of God and in tune with the prophecies He came at the right time, in the fullness of time and in the place that God had prepared for his coming. The angels announced him, Elizabeth had reassured Mary of the truth of God’s promises and the Spirit of God had touched the lives of a number of people with the immanence of his coming.
Simeon and Anna were quite old, and they were constantly in the temple in praise and worship to God. They were also there in anticipation of Christ’s coming. They could feel it! He was coming soon! So when Mary and Joseph crossed the threshold of the temple with the Child the spirits of Simeon and Anna felt his presence and the Holy Spirit moved them through the temple courts to meet him and to praise the Lord in testimony. It was a grateful testimony, full of praise to God the Father for sending his Son into this sin darkened world!
As Mary and Joseph looked on Simeon lifted the Child in his rums and praise overflowed. He praised God and the words the Holy Spirit brought forth from his lips are truly words of eternal significance. This fits so well with the Song of Mary in regard to what God is foretelling of the nature, the mission and the promise of his Son who truly is “God with us.”
Simeon has in his rums the guarantee that God has kept his promise that Simeon would see the salvation of Israel. It was his own salvation as well for he says to God “now let your servant go in peace for my eyes have seen your salvation.” This was God’s promised salvation for all who would believe and it was a revelation that was in the sight of all the people. No one who encountered Jesus could deny that his life reflected God1s presence and message among us. Jesus spoke to the soul, to the heart of our need for God. He still does this today, and hungry hearts, longing hearts, still respond to him today.
Jesus the Son of God, the Messiah is described as the Light of life in the darkness of a dying world and the fact that he came among us would reverberate through every nation and people and family and generation on earth because his glory was revealed in Israel and from there the fulfillment of God1s promises and covenants would be proclaimed.
The fact of his coming would not be without pain because Mary would witness how many rejected him and she would stand at the foot of the cross. But God1s love has no limits and his design is to reveal the thoughts and intentions of many hearts in terms of their relationship to God. God’s purpose was and is to reconcile as many as would respond to his love, his light his presence, to his truth among us
and in our lives. The overwhelming point of this story is that God keeps his promises and as we respond to him in Christ we may have peace and salvation. We may know a sense of mission in proclaiming that Christ alone is the answer to this world’s brokenness and need. Let us too be led by the Word of Scripture and by the Holy Spirit in living encounter with Jesus at this Christmas time and all the days God gives us on earth to proclaim the good news of salvation.
Have a Blessed Christmas Pastor Hank Bylstra