A Light in the Darkness - The Dedication Pt. 2
Maybe you have forgotten what this chapter is about since it's been so long since I've updated. Here is the chapter => http://www.whiteestate.org/books/da/da5.html
Last we left off with Simeon who speaks this prophecy at the meeting of Jesus…
Luke 2:29-32, 34-35:
“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”
“Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
If you were Mary, hearing this about your child, what would be going through your mind? Of course, hindsight is always 20/20, and we from the 21st century already know the ending. Let’s just try her shoes (sandals?).
The beginning of the prophecy sounds amazing.
“God’s salvation.” “A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles.” “The glory of Israel.”
And then the second part gets a bit muddled.
“Fall and rising of many in Israel.” “A sign spoken against.” “A sword will pierce through your own soul.”
And all of that is for this entire purpose: “That the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed”
At least, if I were Mary, that is what I would be pondering while I teach my son to start crawling or walking. “Why would He be destined for a sign that is spoken against? What will He do to reveal hearts? Why will a sword pierce through my soul, ‘also.’ Other’s souls will be pierced because of this sign?”
What do you think of when you hear, “Fall and rising of many in Israel?”
My initial thought was like, kingdoms rising and falling. Others might think of someone who falls down and then gets back up. Falls down and gets back up. Stumbling around.
The latter would be more accurate.
When Simeon brings up this “fall and rising of many” it’s a reference to a messianic prophecy in Isaiah.
“He will be as a sanctuary,
But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense
To both the houses of Israel…,”
Carries some parallels to Simeon’s prophecy doesn’t it?
So whatever Jesus was going to do, it was going to be offensive to the people of Israel. It would cause many to “fall,” but also, rise again. Fall and rise where? Stumble in what?
They must fall who would rise again. We must fall upon the Rock and be broken before we can be uplifted in Christ. Self must be dethroned, pride must be humbled, if we would know the glory of the spiritual kingdom. The Jews would not accept the honor that is reached through humiliation. Therefore they would not receive their Redeemer. He was a sign that was spoken against.
To our very own sinful natures, Jesus’ life and character is what causes us to fall. He is the “Rock” upon which we fall and become broken. His life is to make our hearts fall broken before the throne of God, recognizing our incredible unworthiness. However, His life is just the penultimate of the prophecy.
When Jesus died on the cross, although He was a savior, the King of the Jews, the “fullness of God,” to the those around Him, He was dying as a criminal, a rejected homeless guy being forsaken and cut off from God. He became “a sign which shall be spoken against.”
“A sword will pierce through your own soul also.” How vividly the prophecy must have replayed to Mary as she watched her 33-year-old son hang there, naked, bleeding, deserted, and tortured by not just physical, but emotional and spiritual agony. I know people who are 33. That’s young. (Luke Evans, James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson etc). To die young is pretty tragic (Heath Ledger would have been 33 today). But, to die an ignominious death while at it? Why?
"That the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." In the light of the Saviour's life, the hearts of all, even from the Creator to the prince of darkness, are revealed.
This next section deserves a “WHOA!” In the cross, the depths of everyone’s hearts from A-Z and Alpha to Omega would be revealed.
Jeremiah 17:9 says,
“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
Our hearts are full of so many layers of self-delusion, self-denial, the prophet says, “who can know it?” According to the Bible we can’t even know our own hearts. And yet there is something so powerful about the cross in that it reveals our own hearts, but not only that, even the very heart of the Infinite One. How does that work? How do you get a finite being, who can’t even understand their own finite hearts, to understand the heart of the Infinite?
But the gift of Christ reveals the Father's heart. It testifies that the thoughts of God toward us are "thoughts of peace, and not of evil." Jer. 29:11. It declares that while God's hatred of sin is as strong as death, His love for the sinner is stronger than death. Having undertaken our redemption, He will spare nothing, however dear, which is necessary to the completion of His work. No truth essential to our salvation is withheld, no miracle of mercy is neglected, no divine agency is left unemployed.
Through the cross, He reveals His heart. And in revealing His heart, it brings into sharp focus the contrast of Satan’s heart.
At the cross of Calvary, love and selfishness stood face to face. Here was their crowning manifestation. Christ had lived only to comfort and bless, and in putting Him to death, Satan manifested the malignity of his hatred against God. He made it evident that the real purpose of his rebellion was to dethrone God, and to destroy Him through whom the love of God was shown.
Not only that, through the cross God throws the curtain back and it sheds a light so blazing that it lights up even the darkest of places in the universe – our own hearts. Perhaps that is what is meant by
2 Corinthians 4:6 - For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.