Saturday, December 23, 2017

THE CHRISTMAS CONSOLATION - NOT A THROWAWAY PRIZE, BUT THE REAL GIFT OF HEAVEN (THE HOLY SPIRIT!)

"And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him" Luke 2:25
When we think of the word “consolation”, immediately the thoughts go to “consolation prize – a gift to someone who has not won the actual prize or reward that is offered in any particular thing. It is not like one of those participation trophies that give children, so their feelings are not hurt, but a sympathy premium for one who has failed to place in a certain contest.

In the Bible however, the word “Consolation” (in this verse) has a completely different meaning. In God’s Kingdom, the word translated “Consolation” does not mean some pity party or back up prize or anything like that. The Word God used here by the Holy Spirit Who inspired the Greek Dr. Luke to write this Gospel is “paraklesis”!

The original word for “consolation” – Paraklesis – adds an incredible dimension to the Christmas story! Contrary to what modern languages treat as an almost throwaway prize to a person who didn’t place in a race or something, God’s Word “Paraklesis” is the main prize!

The Word “Paraklesis” means “a calling to one’s aid” first of all and in essence, it means “a coming to the aid, comfort, encouragement, joy….and consolation” of someone! It is the root word of another word “Paraklete” which is the Bible word for the Holy Spirit! We know the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God Who has done just some of the following:
-      Hovered over the Face of the unformed earth (Genesis 1:1)
-      Caused Moses to write the first five books of the Bible – the Torah – the   Beginnings of mankind and the Law
-      The Same Spirit raised Jesus from the dead, after He was crucified, died   physically and placed in a tomb. On Resurrection morning, Paraklete   raised The Alpha and Omega to visible life on earth.

With this in mind, about this unique man involved in the Christmas story, we return to Simeon and what his “waiting on the consolation really means”.  First, let’s look at Simeon. His actual Jewish name is Shimon and is similar to the man called Simon Peter, the great Apostle of Jesus Christ. He was such a great and devoted follower of Yahweh, that the Lord allowed Him the privilege of being recorded in History as the only person other than the Baby Jesus’ parents to hold the Christ child.

Mary and Joseph had made the long, probably day long trek from Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, in order that the 8 day old baby could fulfill the Law He (Jesus) wrote, to be dedicated at the Temple! (See Leviticus 12:3).  The same God, via the Paraklete – Holy Spirit, led Simeon (Shimon) into the path of this all-time special couple – Mary and Joseph, so Simeon could encounter the new baby before He was taken to the priests to be circumcised. 

What Simeon prophesied under the Anointing of the Holy Spirit, is not just profound, but forcefully emphatic of the Mission of King Jesus. In this one briefly recorded mini-passage, Simeon accomplished three things – two Kingdom-related and one very personal.
- Item 1:  On a deeply personal level, we see the reward of a faithful, devoted man of God. Here is what Simeon said after God Himself allowed Him to see God as a baby: "Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation" (Luke 2:29-30). The lesson for us today, and for ALL men and women of God, the 10% of us who have/live/promote a Biblical Worldview is this: God knows what who we are PERSONALLY and will shine His Mercy, Grace and Favor on Faithfulness. This is the true meaning of Romans 8:28a “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him".

- Item 2: The Promise of Judgment against the rebellious and enemies of God. Simeon prophesied something we know is coming, from both the very Voice of Jesus and many scripture passages throughout the entire bible.  He said in Luke 2:34-35 "And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed". The lesson for us in this sober Christmas message from Simeon for all time, until the end of time is two-fold. We had better prepare ourselves to leave this planet at a moment’s notice by having our hearts right before God and all our sins forgiven.  Secondly, we duty bound to tell and share the urgency of this message with everyone who will listen – even those who hate God outright. While there is life, there is still hope. It is not over until it’s over, because if these rebels leave this life in their current position of estrangement from their Creator, the sword will pierce their souls” Luke 2:35b). That sword is the Law of God which will use in their conviction and eternal punishment.

- Item 3: The Consolation was the Main Promise. Simeon held the Baby Jesus and said what the Lord wanted him to say: ",
29 “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 A Light of revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”(Luke 2:29-32) Then Jesus, when told the disciples who wanted Him to stay (John 16:7) "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” That Helper promised by the Savior Jesus was/is the Holy Spirit – the Paraklete, the Consolation of Israel and the Light of the Gentiles (those of us who are not Jewish born). 

The Consolation was The Main Prize…so to speak. It is not some prize we give to someone who does not win first, second or third. The Consolation is the actual Gift of God to ALL humanity and more specifically, available to all whose sins are forgiven and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, for the Salvation of our souls. Amen. 
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