The Great Divider
In storytelling, what is called foreshadowing points all the way to the climax near the end. God doesn't make Disney Blockbusters, his inspired stories happen in real life and they're all true. He does, however, use the techniques of every good storyteller, including a foreshadowing seed. So as Simeon holds the baby Jesus in his arms, Luke reveals that he not only blessed Jesus and his parents, but he went on to make a prophecy about Mary, a prophecy that sends an ice bolt to Mary's heart.
"Now his father and his mother marveled over all the things said about Jesus, and Simeon blessed them. Then he said to Mary, Jesus' mother, 'Look! He's divinely appointed -the fall and the rising of many in Israel- a sign that will be refused. And you, your soul will be pierced by a sword, so that the inner thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.'" Luke 2:33-35
Because the story of Jesus is so well known, it's easy for us not to experience the tension these words generated when Luke's Gospel was read to folks in the first century who had never heard the Story. Think about the questions raised by Simeon's strange prediction--Why would this Baby become so controversial among His own people? Why would so many oppose Him? What was this piercing sword?
What strikes me is how many think of Jesus as the Great Uniter. In this passage, he is, in fact, the Final Divider. Since Jesus is God's Son who came from heaven and lived on earth, the decisions we make about him determine our eternal destiny.
LORD, I'm so thankful that some of my Jewish friends are serious about reading their own prophets like Isaiah and Micah, jotting down what they said about the Jewish Messiah, and then comparing this with Luke's account about Jesus. This has helped them realize that Jesus, the ultimate Jew, is the reason why you commanded all those sacrifices in the centuries before Jesus. They all foreshadowed what would happen in the climax of your redemptive Story. LORD, move many as they interact with Luke's Christmas Story to beware of their frozen heart and respond to the warmth of your love.
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