Todays readings.. 2 Kings 16, Ezekiel 6, Luke 2
What thoughts are provoked in your mind as you read the Bible? We keep many of our thoughts to ourselves, especially if they are “disturbing” thoughts. Today we read in Luke ch. 2 of something that was to happen “so that the thoughts from many hearts may be revealed” [v.35]
Who said this to whom? The man who said it is only mentioned in this chapter of the Bible. His “name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel (i.e. the Messiah), and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to Simeon by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
“And he came … into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
‘Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation … a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel’ “ [v.25-32] A remarkable thing to say: especially that this baby would be “a light to the Gentiles.”
The Jews saw themselves as superior to all other races – a Jew of that era, for example would not sit and eat with a non-Jew. (Acts 10 v.28); throughout their lives they had virtually ignored many Old Testament references to the Gentiles, but an extraordinary set of circumstances led to Simeon’s prophecy being fulfilled.
Then a child is brought to Simeon and he “said to Mary his mother ‘Behold this child is appointed for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that the thoughts from many hearts may be revealed” [v.34-35]
What heart searchings there were in the years that followed, especially Mary’s as she stood by his cross. The teaching and life of Jesus Christ has challenged the thinking and actions of human beings ever since.
Those who ignore Jesus will find he will ignore them on that future day, now so close, when he comes again. We must each ask ourselves, what thoughts does that babe in the arms of Simeon, 2,000 years ago, provoke in my heart? Those thoughts lead to our actions – of one kind – or another.