Pastor Marc Likins
"And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
We all celebrate Christmas with our focus almost entirely on sweetness and light. The birth of a baby boy who would bring light into the world to many lost in darkness. The coming of Christ represents peace on earth, but it’s not quite that simple. This is the part of the Christmas narrative that no one likes to talk about; however, it’s just as important. Jesus brings peace, but it comes by way of conflict, struggle, and strife.
Listen to the words spoken over baby Jesus, “this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel;” This is saying Jesus will have a paradoxical effect on people; there will be no middle ground. People will joyfully accept Him or totally reject Him. In essence, Jesus will create a sort of pressure among people.
Although...Christianity has always created pressure among people. This was especially pronounced in the first century. Jews thought that God becoming man was ludicrous. Gentiles were offended by the thought of only one, true God. The exclusiveness of Christianity and the conviction of believers that Jesus was God, put Christians on a collision course with nearly everyone they met.
In our current culture, most secular minds believe Christianity poses a threat to the social order. Christian beliefs are dangerously intolerant. Christians are once again looked upon with derision and hostility. Even something as simple as living an honest, moral life tends to expose sins in others: gossip, corruption, and racism to name a few. You could say it this way, “This child is still set for the fall or rising again of many.”
Simeon, the man who prophesied these words over baby Jesus, had a spiritual balance that we all need. The gospel is glorious and attractive, but it’s also very costly and dangerous. Simeon counted the cost and found it worthy. He was a man satisfied with a gospel that is beautiful and a costly treasure. He knew what we should know as well, that the worth of the gospel far outweighs the cost of the gospel.