Watering the Tulips
“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 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.’” – Luke 2:34-35
This week, many in the world will celebrate the birth of God’s Son and our Savior, Jesus. It seems as long as you keep Christ in the manger, people are willing to talk about Him. As long as they see Him as a plastic doll in a nativity scene, He isn’t threatening to them. But, the moment you go forward from the manger, people begin to get uncomfortable.
Simeon here looks forward from the manger. As He holds the Christ child in his arms, he is reminded of the Word God had given concerning Him. In the Messiah, Simeon sees “the fall and rising of many”. That is, some will be benefitted as they are lifted out of their sins by this One. Others will be condemned for their hatred against God’s Messiah. Because of their unbelief, many will fall because of Him.
Nothing has changed. Jesus is still “destined for the fall and rise of many”. This has extended far beyond the borders of Israel. Paul said of his ministry in the Gospel, “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life…” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). That is, when the Gospel of Christ is preached…the Gospel of that same child that Simeon held in his arms…some, by God’s grace, believe while others do not. To those that believe, the Gospel is “the aroma of life leading to life”. To those that reject, the Gospel is “the aroma of death leading to death”. In essence, Simeon declared the same.
Jesus is “a sign which will be spoken against”. The fact that Christ is so hated in the world today is a fulfillment of the prophecy here spoken by Simeon. Every time we hear of persecution against believers around the world or those that seek to eradicate any bit of Christianity from our society, we should be reminded of these words spoken by Simeon. Jesus is God’s Son. He surely lived a perfect, sinless life. There is nothing in Him which should be hated. But yet, He is.
Finally, through the message of Jesus, “the thoughts of many hearts [are] revealed”. You will see the heart of men quickly when you mention Jesus to them. They may turn angry and lash out at you. They may begin to ignore you or avoid you. They may quickly change the subject to something less condemning. In all of these instances, their heart is revealed. Or, you may get a very different response. They may graciously begin to share in conversation with you about Jesus and Who He truly is to them. In this also, their heart is revealed. The words of Simeon are still true today.
Remember, Jesus said, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). And again, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46). The Message of Jesus has an effect on people. Simeon prophesied of that. It still rings true today. How does the Gospel of Christ affect you?
Watering the Tulips is brought to you by Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Northport, AL. For more information, please visit www.sovereigngrace.net . “Your App to the Gospel” can be downloaded at iTunes for iPhone, iPad and IPod Touch, Google Play for Android, the Windows Phone Marketplace, and the Windows Store for Windows 8/8.1 based tablets and computers. Please download it today!