Join me in Isaiah 52, verses 7 and 8 tonight.
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’ The voice of your watchmen–they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord in Zion.”
Thousands of years ago, the Israelites, demoralized and in despair due to their sin and years of exile, must have been waiting for something. Anything. Some kind of sign that God was still there.
What we remember this night, this Christmas eve is this–that God was not silent. God delivered, as He has always delivered. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.” Jesus, called Counselor, Mighty God….Prince of Peace.
With His people longing for redemption, God sent His Son, God in the flesh, Christ Jesus, to be the sacrifice for our sins. You see, while Jesus’ birth was nothing short of a miracle, despite the disgusting manger and circumstances He was born in, what we sometimes forget in the beauty of it all is this–the reason Christ came was to die. He came to love us and to bring us back to God, but to do that, He must die.
That death, however, becomes everything for us, because it brings us salvation. We can live forever with God by placing our trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the simple message of the gospel.
But without Jesus first coming to be born as the babe in the manger, we wouldn’t have had any of it. Apart from God sending Jesus, there is no savior.
Imagine if you will, what it must have been like for those watchmen of Israel to hear that salvation had come to their people. Look at Luke 2, verses 25-38. Here we see the image of Simeon, who has, for the entirety of his life, longed and hoped for salvation. Join me in the Word.
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, ‘Lord now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.’ And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
Simeon longed to see the salvation of his people. He was right with God, and I fear too many times today we accept that because we are in right standing with God, nothing else matters. I pray we have a heart like Simeon’s, one that longs, not just for our salvation, but for the salvation of the people around us.
I pray that we long for to see Jesus like this man did. Go back, perhaps with your family, and read the incredible prophecy of Jesus in this passage. Jesus, who is everything to us, was everything to this man who didn’t know His name. Nothing else mattered in this world for Simeon save for one thing, and that one thing is Jesus. I pray that we all can come to that place where we can say the same about ourselves.
For those who are hurting this night, I would like to encourage you to again hope in Jesus, and now, for His return. Because for the Christian today, we remember what Christ did thousands of years ago. And we long, anxiously awaiting His return with joy over what He has accomplished in our hearts.
May we remember Christ this Christmas and every day. May you and yours be blessed, and may you have a wonderful Christmas.