His father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and told his mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed—and a sword will pierce your own soul—that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:33-35)
Pastor John’s Notes:
Whenever we hold a newborn baby in our arms, it is a sweet and endearing moment. But when Simeon held the newborn Messiah, he understood the gravity of the moment and spoke a word of prophecy over the child: Jesus would cause the rise and fall of many.
So what does it mean that Jesus would cause the rise of many? We see this in his work among the common people of Israel. Jesus ate in the homes of those who were labeled “sinners.” These were people who either chose or were unable to keep all of the Jewish laws and customs. By all external appearances, they were non-religious people. But Jesus chose to interact with them, teach them, and call them to be his disciples.
In contrast, Jesus also caused the fall of many. These were the elders, the teachers, and the religious leadership of Jerusalem. Many of these were false teachers and corrupt leaders who knew nothing of the Holy Spirit. Jesus called them “blind guides” and “hypocrites.” He spoke harshly against them and warned his followers not to follow their example.
Jesus is still doing this work. By his Holy Spirit, he calls common people into an extraordinary life as his disciples. He shows no respect for those who base their lives on human accomplishment, status, or wealth. He is building his kingdom on those who humble themselves and come to him with nothing to their credit. These he raises to become children of God and members of God’s household.
Lord Jesus Christ, humble me to the place where you can then lift me up. Teach me not to rely upon my own wisdom or current status, but let me surrender all these things so that I might live genuinely as a child of God and a member of God’s household. Let your kingdom continue to grow upon the earth as you draw all people to yourself.