Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Advent Week One: Hope Day Four

Luke 2:26-32
That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

Let’s look just a little more at the passage we read yesterday. Simeon, speaking prophetically, declared that the Christ Child would be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles.” A Gentile is someone who is not Jewish. In Jesus day, most Jews did not associate with Gentiles. Even the great Apostle Peter had a struggle with the idea, as we see later during the early days of the Church. Evidently Simeon did not share such a strong distaste for the Gentiles. In fact, his words seem to indicate he was praying for the Gentiles to find salvation as well as praying for the glory of Israel.

In Mark 5 we encounter one man who found a light of revelation in Jesus. The gospel records that this man had many demons living in him. People had tried to chain him so that he would not hurt himself or others, but he kept breaking the chains. No one could stand being around him. He was a hopeless case if there ever was one! Then one day he met the Light of the World.
This poor man was an enemy of God, an enemy to people and he was his own worst enemy too. Nonetheless, Jesus walked right up to him and asked, “What is your name?” Next, Jesus (at the cost of a whole herd of pigs) drove away evil and gave back to the man a peaceful, right mind. The man later testified how the Lord had mercy on him and shared with others how Jesus was a great light of revelation to him.
It doesn’t matter how deep into darkness we may find ourselves. Jesus Christ is willing to have mercy on us. He is a “light of revelation to the Gentiles” and in His holy presence darkness will flee.
Challenge: Is there someone in your life you find particularly distasteful or difficult? Look beyond the surface, to see the hurting soul behind an annoying exterior.

Prayer: Dear God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Shine the light of truth into my life, and let me surrender the dark corners to you. Help me to show that same mercy to others and to offer the hope found in you. Amen


Mavis said...

Simeon is one of my favourite Bible characters. I wonder what it was like for him the next morning - to be living when you are ready to depart in peace? Singing Owl - I made you an award over at my place. Well deserved.

Jeni said...

Thank you so much for asking the question if there is someone in one's life that is difficult to understand or accept. My older step-granddaughter is that -to a tee -in my life. And earlier today, after she'd been here for supper, I thought about the issues with her and that I do need to try, to put forth a lot more effort to be as understanding as possible to try to mend the division between us. Here's hoping I can do that in a way that keeps things going -and growing -between us.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

Thanks, Mavis! And Jeni, I remember a little about her, and I will pray for you to have God's grace and love for her when your own is not enough. Been there!