Simeon took the baby, Jesus, into his arms, “and blessed God…for my eyes have seen Your Salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” (Luke 2:28-32).
Salvation is all glorious and rightly serves as the subject of great praise toward God. Other than Easter (perhaps), there is no season where we are more “in tune” with the glory of God in His Salvation!
The Gospel is glorious! It is the revelation that God sees and knows and is merciful! He sees our offense, knows our condition, and is merciful in providing a perfect sustitute to stand in our place to absorb the wrath for our rebellion against His holy and glorious purpose. What an amazing story!
We should not think though that the Gospel is “glorified” by all who know the story. It is CONVICTING toward many because it demands that a man admit his offense toward God. The Gospel demands that a man admit his hopelessness. The Gospel demands that a man admit the very wickedness in his heart that renders him utterly and completely unfit for Holy God! We have disqualified ourselves from even approaching the throne of God. We are unfit to to even see Him!
This is too much for many to admit. They will not yield to the revelation of God and admit their unholy estate…and for them…there is no way out. For them then…the Gospel is the “burr” under the saddle of life. The Gospel is the deeply embedded splinter in their foot. The Gospel, for them, is not good news but a resounding chorus of doom.
It does not have to be that way…but if you choose…then this is the way it is and the way it will be. In the passage we read, the glory of God was a comfort because Simeon was “looking for” the consolation of His people. He was anticipating and waiting for the revelation of God’s Salvation. For others…such as Herod…the coming of the Messiah (a rival king) represented doom! This Messiah was an enemy to conquer!
Yes, we celebrate “Peace on Earth” at this time of year but there is only “peace” toward those who are faithful toward Holy God! If God is not pleased in our faithfulness toward Him…the coming of the Messiah (whether the first time in a manger or the Second time on a White Horse to establish the rule of His Kingdom) is not peaceful but dreadful! The birth of Jesus does not bring peace in this case; rather, the birth of Jesus initiates a countdown timer that we anticipate but only God sees…a countdown to the day when all stand before Him and He judges all rebellion and rules as King!
If we have not yielded to the revelation of God…the revelation declaring that we are helpless to change our hopeless estate, then we should not confuse ourselves by thinking that this is PEACE. We should immediately fall to the ground before a Holy God who came to die in our place, that we might have PEACE as it was intended with the One True God who reigns. Apart from such a response…there is no peace.