Last week I posted about the three days of silence between the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ (click here to read). Ah, did you know that there was another silence? …which was MUCH longer than three days?
How much longer?
Try nearly five thousand times longer! This period of silence lasted about four hundred years. FOUR HUNDRED YEARS! This silence occurred between the revelations of Christ foretold in the Old Testament (c.a. 400 B.C.) and the incarnation of Christ in the New Testament (c.a. 5 B.C.). Could you even imagine what experiencing four hundred years of silence must have been like?
“What fear we felt i n t h e s i l e n t a g e, four hundred hears can He be found, but broken by a Baby’s cry, rejoice in the hallowed manger ground” – Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground), Chris Tomlin
In Luke 2, we are given a glimpse of someone who experienced such an anticipatory longing for Christ to end that silence and then experienced perfect joy when He did… “25There 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. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah. 27Guided 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, 28Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said: 29Now, Master, You can dismiss Your slave in peace, as You promised. 30For my eyes have seen Your SALVATION. 31You have prepared it in the presence of all peoples— 32a light for REVELATION to the Gentiles and GLORY to Your people Israel” (Luke 2:25-32, HCSB09).
What was Simeon “looking forward to”?
It’s better stated: Who was Simeon “looking forward to”? The long awaited Promise– the One who would bring consolation, salvation, revelation, and glorification! Consolation (paraklēsis): comfort. Salvation (sōtērios): divine salvation. Revelation (apokalypsis): made fully known. Glorification (doxa): unequalled splendor. All these were brought by Christ Jesus alone, as… Jesus Christ IS the Consolation Of Israel! Without Him there is only condemnation (John 3:18, 2 Corinthians 1:3). Jesus Christ IS the Salvation Of All People! Without Him there is only separation (John 3:16-17, Titus 2:11-13). Jesus Christ IS God Made Fully Known! Without Him there is no way to know God (John 14:6, 1 Timothy 4:16). Jesus Christ IS the Most Splendid Redeemer! Without Him there is no hope whatsoever of being freed from the captivity of sin (John 8:36, Titus 2:13-14).
You see, “18[t]he birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly. 20But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because H e w i l l s a v e His people from their sins.” 22Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him IMMANUEL, which is translated “G O D I S W I T H U S.” 24When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her 25but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son. And he named Him Jesus.” (Matthew 1:18-25, HCSB09).
This is the Good News…that He IS the Good News! We do not have to be without God nor without Hope because Jesus Christ is IMMANUEL, God With Us!
May you and yours have a Very Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year with God and with Hope!
On Behalf of the True Hope Ministries Team
1. In the immediately proceeding portion of the text in Luke 2, we are given a glimpse of another who experienced such an anticipation for Christ to end the silence and the perfect joy when He did… “36There was also a prophetess, Anna, a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well along in years, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and was a widow for 84 years. She did not leave the temple complex, serving God night and day with fasting and prayers. 38At that very moment, she came up and began to thank God and to speak about Him to all who were looking forward to the REDEMPTION of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:36-38, HCSB09). Redemption (lytrōsis): liberation. Liberation brought only by Christ Jesus!
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