Merry Christmas to the rest of you celebrating Christ’s birth in the world! (It’s already the 26th in Japan…and all Christmas decorations are already gone).
Anyway, this passage strikes me, because the words that were spoken by Simon are just as true today as they were when Christ was first born.
Simon was a godly man, and somehow God had revealed to him that he would not pass away until he had seen the Messiah, the one who would come to save Israel…and the world. And when Simon saw Jesus with his own eyes, he prayed,
Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles,and the glory of your people Israel. (29-32)
But while Joseph and Mary marveled at his words, Simon warned them,
This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too. (34-35)
Truer words have never been spoken. For as many people accepted Jesus as their Messiah, many more rejected him. As many people honored the name of Jesus, many more cursed it. And because of the Jews’ rejection of Him, it caused a piercing to the soul of Mary, who had to watch him crucified before her very eyes.
But while Simon’s words were true of Israel in that time, they are just as true in the world today. Because while many people honor the name of Jesus, and worship him as Lord, so many others curse his name and reject him. In doing so, they reveal the true state of their hearts. For while many people may seem “good,” by rejecting the One who came to die for their sins, they show their rejection of God and his ways in their hearts. Instead they insist on living their own way whether God approves or not.
And seeing this pierces the souls of all who truly love Him. Especially when we see our loved ones reject Him.
I suppose at Christmas time, it’s especially painful to see. That at the time we rejoice in Christ’s birth, that yet people choose to reject him.
Christ said that he didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34).
Some of you may say, “But what about the angels’ words at Christ’s birth, “peace on earth” and all that?”
Christ did indeed come to bring peace, peace between God and us. But he is also a dividing point. People divide because of his name. Families divide. Friends divide. It’s inevitable because not everyone will believe.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: If you are truly going to follow Christ and preach his name, you cannot please everyone. Not everyone will like you. Why? Because if they hate Christ, can you truly expect them to love you?
Jesus told us,
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. (John 15:18-19)
So let us not waste time trying to make everyone love us. Instead, let us love Christ and preach his name. Because while some may fall because of him, some will rise and find life in his name. And if those you love find him, isn’t it worth it?
God bless, and Merry Christmas!