Advent Devotional: Week Three - Thursday
Scripture Reading: Luke 2:22-35
And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were finished, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (just as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male will be dedicated to the Lord ) and to offer a sacrifice (according to what is stated in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons ). There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, he entered the temple complex.
When the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for Him what was customary under the law, Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said: "Now, Master, You can dismiss Your slave in peace, as You promised. For my eyes have seen Your salvation. You have prepared it in the presence of all peoples— a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to Your people Israel."
His father and mother were amazed at what was being said about Him. Then Simeon blessed them and told His mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed — and a sword will pierce your own soul—that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
This song captures Simeon’s gratitude to God. It also captures Simeon’s readiness to die. Yet, it is sung in joy because Simeon has seen the promise fulfilled. It is a wonderful song that captures both God’s desire to extend redemption to the whole world, as well as a blessing with a caveat: this child will cause both the rise and fall of many in Israel.
In the gospel message there is an intertwined narrative of judgment as well as of salvation. Simeon illustrates that Jesus will be both a great light to the Gentiles as a well as a sword that would pierce our hearts. We can never experience the joy of Jesus without first facing the sinful thoughts and actions of our own hearts. Part of the good news of the gospel is that it helps us understand the horror of our sin as we find ourselves in the arms of our loving Savior.
Prayer: Dear Father, you sent us Jesus, the true light of the world. Yet we have often desired to hide in darkness rather than live in the revealing light of your Spirit. Give us eyes that see our sin and dwell on your salvation.
Advent Singing: The Gospel Brings Tidings
The gospel brings tidings, glad tidings indeed, To mourners in Zion, who want to be freed, From sin and Satan, and Mount Sinais flame, Good news of salvation, through Jesus the Lamb. What sweet invitations, the gospel contains, To men heavy laden, with bondage and chains; It welcomes the weary, to come and be blessed, With ease from their burdens, in Jesus to rest. For every poor mourner, who thirsts for the Lord, A fountain is opened, in Jesus the Word; Their poor parched conscience, to cool and to wash, From guilt and pollution, from dead works and dross. A robe is provided, their shame now to hide, In which none are clothed, but Jesus' bride; Though it be costly, yet is the robe free, And all Zions mourners, shall decked with it be.