The start of our reading in Luke ch. 2 covers one of the events which is often quoted at Christmas time. Most know of the angelic appearance to the shepherds on the hillside and how they came and found the babe in the manger and tell of what they had seen and heard “out in the field .. concerning this child.”
“All who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.” [v.17,18] Our thoughts however went particularly to their impact on Mary who “treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Can we imagine Mary’s ponderings?
The Law of Moses required first born children to be taken to Jerusalem for “’every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord’ and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law …” [v.23,24]
When they do this a man “whose name was Simeon who was righteous and devout” [v.25] came “and took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, ‘Lord … my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for the glory of your people Israel.’ … his mother marvelled at what was said about him. And Simeon … said to Mary … ‘Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel” [v.31-34]
Simeon then adds, “he will be a sign that is opposed … so that the thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” The opposition to all that Jesus preached began at the start of his ministry and has continued throughout history – this illustrates the meaning of Simeon’s words. Every human being is challenged as to where they stand in relation to Christ! Are they willing to become related to him? Are they willing to live their lives letting his words influence their thinking and give direction to the course of their lives.
If we ignore Jesus – then he will ignore us when he returns. As we read the Bible it becomes ever more evident to seeking hearts how the words of Jesus and his followers give inspiration and light to their lives as the darkness of this world increases.