Advent, Week 4, Day 3 – Jesus, The Ransom Payer
Eight days after Jesus’ birth, Joseph and Mary took the baby to the temple in Jerusalem to be dedicated to the Lord, according to the Law. While there, they noticed an elderly man whose face was weathered, hair wispy and white. His appearance was nondescript, but his actions made him stand out among the crowd. As soon as this stranger spotted the baby, his limbs moved toward them as fast as his aged joints would allow; his eyes bright, and fixed on the child. Upon reaching them, he scooped the baby into his arms and began to worship:
29-31 “Lord,” he said, “now I can die content! For I have seen him as you promised me I would. I have seen the Savior you have given to the world. 32 He is the Light that will shine upon the nations, and he will be the glory of your people Israel!”
34-35 Simeon blessed them but then said to Mary, “A sword shall pierce your soul, for this child shall be rejected by many in Israel, and this to their undoing. But he will be the greatest joy of many others. And the deepest thoughts of many hearts shall be revealed.”
Mary and Joseph may not have understood all Simeon alluded to, but I’m certain his words encouraged them. He understood who this amazing baby was; so they weren’t alone!
It makes me wonder, as Mary stood at the foot of her Son’s cross thirty-three years later watching her beloved son die, if she remembered that conversation. In that moment, a sword surely piercing her own soul.
The cross is the real reason Jesus came. It was the price needed to be paid the ransom for our treason against a holy God.
I did say “treason”.
In the garden, Adam and Eve were offered the freedom to choose between God’s way and their own. They were warned that going any other way than God’s would result in death, for anything outside of a good God is evil. His world at that time knew only good, but God gave man freedom of choice because he wanted relationship, not servitude.
Mankind chose their own way, for the ability to “choose” between good and evil. Their decision immediately shackled the world to pain and anguish, as suddenly evil flooded in. They chose their own way, but paid dearly. I too often choose my own way, with similar consequences.
The most amazing gift of Christmas isn’t that Jesus came, or that he became one of us, but that he did it to restore all that had been destroyed by us. Only God could offer such a gift, and only a perfect, unrelentingly loving God would choose to pay the price.
Jesus offers his gift of restoration freely to any who would choose to go His way rather than their own. We must choose whether to accept or reject it. It’s still our choice.