Luke 2:33-35 (NKJV)
33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
As we consider the blessing of Simeon upon the child Jesus I would like to read to you a couple paragraphs written by Doug Jones and then make some comments. “Simeon,” he writes, “was a devout man who had waited a long time for the Christ. Even though we expect this to be a moment of great joy and celebration, Simeon delivers a message of danger. He tells Jesus’ mother, Mary, that Jesus will be a tremendous troublemaker. Simeon knows his Old Testament. He knows that the prophets don’t promise a Christ as someone who gets along with everyone and never upsets the powerful. Simeon speaks of the “consolation” or comfort of Israel, and when Isaiah uses that language we see that the Christ is coming to “contend with him who contends with you” (Is. 49:25) and to “feed those who oppress you with their own flesh” (Is. 49:26). In a similar message, the Lord told the prophet Jeremiah that “I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant” (Jer. 1:9,10).”
“We might think that this would be a shocking and troubling revelation for Jesus’ mother. It means certain doom for her Son. One doesn’t take on King Herod and the Roman Empire without provoking a deathly reaction. Simeon even promises Mary that “a sword will pierce through your own soul.” Disturbing claims, but this isn’t really news to Mary. She, herself, had sung similar words about her Son’s dangerous work. She knew that in Jesus, the Father, “has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty” (Lk. 1:51-52). She knew Simeon’s words were true. Jesus would be a premier troublemaker for the enemies of God. He came to pull them down, to overthrow them by the Spirit, and to lift up the people of God. The birth of Jesus is just the beginning of this path of the “fall and rising of many.” The world would never be the same. The enemies of God had little clue about the dramatic consequences of Christmas.”
And the question comes to us this morning – do we as the friends of God understand the dramatic consequences of Christmas? The King has been born. Further, the King has rescued His people and now reigns from His heavenly throne. So Herods and Hitlers, Parliaments and Congresses, Kings and Presidents, Obamas and Bushs, Mayors and Governors are summoned to bow before Him and to acknowledge that He is Lord. No earthly rule is supreme; all are relativized by the Lordship of Christ. And as we summon folks to acknowledge and submit to the Lordship of Jesus, a sword may very well pierce our own souls as well. For the message is no more popular today to man in his unbelief than it was in the days of Rome. Yet this is our message and it is this we proclaim until every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Reminded of our tendency to forget the dramatic consequences of Christmas, let us kneel and ask our Lord’s forgiveness.