Message for December 2011
Through the ages, there are evidences of various seemingly insignificant characters or events that make an enormous impact on life. History is full of obscure events that have changed the world; small coincidences, seemingly insignificant events that have changed the path of history many times, sometimes affecting the lives of millions.
The Bible makes a brief mention of a nameless Innkeeper who turned down Mary and Joseph’s request for a room in Bethlehem, the night that Jesus was born. Hence Jesus was born in a stable, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. If he had the slightest clue that the soon-to-be-born Jesus was the Saviour of the world, the inn keeper’s actions may have been different. Perhaps he would have reserved the best room in the inn for them and welcomed the couple with great pomp and show.
In the gospel of Luke we read about the shepherds who were informed by the angels of Christ’s birth and the wise men who visited Jesus. But there were two other individuals who saw Jesus as a baby and recognized Him for who He was. When Jesus was still a baby, Mary and Joseph took him to the temple in Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. In Jerusalem lived Simeon who was righteous and devout. Moved by the Holy Spirit, he went into the temple courts when baby Jesus was brought there and took Him in his arms and praised God saying: Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32).
There was also a prophetess – Anna. The 84 year old widow never left the temple, worshipping night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to Jesus, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:38).
What was special about these two individuals that made them recognize Jesus? How did they know he was the Son of God? As the Bible says, both Simeon and Anna were faithful to God. They were patient and waited upon God to fulfill His promise. They walked close with God. Had the innkeeper been like them, he too would have realized that the Saviour of the world was to be born. In not being faithful to God, he had missed a great spiritual opportunity.
When our Saviour came down to earth as a man, he emptied himself, becoming vulnerable. He came so that he could save us from our sins and to do that he bore the pain of being crucified on the cross, facing rejection, opposition, ridicule, mockery and cruelty. That was the extent of His love and with his sacrifice, he transformed the world.
What is stopping you from having a closer walk with Jesus? Are you missing out on spiritual opportunities because of your lapse? What does it mean to be faithful to God? I sincerely feel that what we need is for us to be tuned to the voice of God; so that we feel His presence and hear his voice. We can be like Simeon and stay close to God and wait on Him or we can be like Anna and share God’s love to those around us.
May the New Year bring you joy, hope and peace!