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WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2020

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Luke 2:25-33, where the Bible says,   

From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.  And he came in the Spirit 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 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.

 

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?


Have you ever had to wait for something for so long that you almost lost hope of it ever happening? There have been a few times like that in my life. It’s a time of whipsawed emotions. One minute you have hope that all the waiting is finally coming to fruition. Then something happens, and you feel despair in the growing realization that all the waiting might be in vain. We all go through emotions like that in life. But the question for today is not about the experience or the emotions, as real as those can be. Instead, it’s about this vital issue: “What are you actually waiting for?” That’s the key. The message of the Bible, which comes to fruition in the Christmas—Easter story, answers the question, “What is the one thing worth waiting for above all others?”

That’s the point of this moment in the life of Simeon in our text. Year after year, decade after decade, he’s waiting for one thing, “the consolation of Israel.” You see, there was a promise made that goes all the way back to the garden of Eden. It was the promise that God would indeed send a Savior for sinful people like you and me. He put that promise in a family that included Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David, and which finally came to fulfillment in the birth of Jesus from Mary. Both she and Joseph, his earthly father, were from David’s family tree, and, even more importantly, from the family of Adam (see Luke 3:23-38). The point: this was not just any promise. This was THE promise that all of people should be waiting for. It is the promise that our sins, though many and destructive, would be forgiven. This is the promise that life, abundant, eternal life, would indeed be ours again because of God’s work in the world coming to fruition in Jesus. This is the promise that there would indeed be a new heaven and a new earth where sin, death, and destruction would be no more.

Today, then, Simeon teaches us how to wait. He went about his work faithfully and religiously, always trusting that God would do what He had promised. Simeon also teaches us what to wait for. We need to be reminded that many of the things for which we wait so earnestly are not in fact the things that make life worth living. Simeon was not waiting for a political movement or a military revolt to overthrow Rome as so many of his countryman were. He was not participating in some ill-fated cultural movement or pietistic religious awakening that skews God’s work into our human efforts. He’s not into the utopian wishes of politics, economics, or leisure. These activities may have a proper place in life, but they cannot occupy THE place in life. Simeon waited for the fulfillment of God’s promise to engage the whole world for the sake of its very life and salvation. All that Simeon longed for was wrapped up in the baby he now holds in his arms.

As the second month of this new year begins, there are many things that demand our attention and action. Pop culture and the media identify certain things that are “worth waiting for.” Wall Street and the market are trying to get our attention too. Of course, there are also smaller demanding voices in each of our lives that are whispering, “Wait for this; don’t wait for that!” Today Simeon directs our attention back to the one thing that makes all those others worthwhile, God’s fulfilment of His promise in the person and work of Jesus our Savior. Be focused on that. Find yourself heading to church this year just to get to know more fully this Jesus who is “the consolation of Israel” and the Savior of the world. I pray that holding Jesus in your heart gives you the peace which holds in all circumstances; Simeon here reveals that is also a result of knowing Jesus by faith. So, in the end, it’s not, “What are you waiting for?” It’s really, “Who are you waiting for?” The good news is that this Jesus came just for you and me. And you don’t have to wait to get to know Him any longer; you can meet Him today in the words of the Bible.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, give us today the patience to wait on You in all things and to look to the wisdom of your Word for the day to day aspects of life. But, more importantly, give us wisdom to focus always on the things that last forever, our relationship with You and our love for others in Your name. AMEN.

 

 

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