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. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:25-35 ESV
Salvation for All Peoples
Jesus Christ, God the Son, was and is the promised SEED of Abraham, the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the world, of whom the prophets of old foretold was to come. He came to save the people from their sins.
Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to God the Father except through him. He is the only way to God and to heaven. There are no other ways. Not all roads lead to heaven, and not all religions believe in the same God. Not even Jews, if they don’t believe in Jesus, believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for HE is Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit. And, not all “good” people go to heaven, either. Not even all those who profess to believe in Jesus Christ, or who call themselves Christians, truly believe in the One True God, and are going to heaven.
Now, it was the will of God that the Son of God (God the Son) should be born into this world as a baby to a virgin, who was conceived of the Holy Spirit. So, when Jesus walked the face of this earth, he was fully man, but he was also fully God, and he never sinned. He grew up, became a man, and at around the age of 30 he began his earthly ministry.
I believe his first message was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And, he continued to preach that we must leave everything to follow him, and that we must die to self and to sin and to follow him in obedience. If we do not, he said we are not worthy of him (Matt. 4:17; Matt. 10:34-39).
For, you see, Jesus didn’t come to this earth to die on a cross just so we could be delivered from the punishment of sin and just so we can go to heaven when we die. The whole purpose of his death on that cross is that we might die with him to sin and live with him to his righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us.
For, you see, he came to deliver us out of our slavery to sin and to make us slaves of his righteousness. He came to transform us; to change us, and to make us, to mold us into his likeness. He called us to be a holy people, and he called us out of darkness (sin, wickedness) into his light (truth, righteousness). And, as holy people we are to live lives which are separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made into His likeness (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
The Fall and Rising
Jesus Christ was appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel. For, not everyone believed in him. In fact, the vast majority, when he walked this earth, did not believe in him, but they rejected him. But, there were those who had faith in him, though they were few in number before He died. But, after his resurrection and ascension to heaven, and after he sent the Holy Spirit to indwell his followers, then the numbers of followers increased.
And, it is the same way today. Not everyone truly believes in Jesus Christ. Not even many who profess faith in him truly believe in him. For, to believe in Jesus Christ is not merely to acknowledge his existence or even that he died on the cross to save sinners. It is not merely to make some momentary decision to believe in him, either. For, to believe in Jesus we must leave our lives of sin behind us to follow him in obedience to his commands. And, this is not momentary. It is continuing until the day we die.
So, for those who refused to believe in him, which includes all those who refuse to forsake their sinful lifestyles to follow him in obedience, they have fallen and they will fall, i.e. they will not have eternal life with God but they will die in their sins without God, without hope, and they will spend eternity not in heaven but in eternal flames (Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 5:3-6).
Yet, for those who truly put their trust in him to be their Lord and Savior, who have been crucified with him in death to sin, and who have been resurrected with him to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness, they have the promise and the hope of eternal life with God if they continue in him in his righteousness. For, we must walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit of God if we want eternal life with God.
[Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 2:6-8; Eph. 4:17-24; Eph. 5:3-6; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Co. 6:20; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Jn. 14:23-24; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; Jn. 8:31-47; Rom. 11:17-24; 1 Jn. 2:24-25; Col. 1:21-23; Jas. 1:19-25; Jas. 4:7-10]
A Sword will Pierce
When Jesus lived on this earth, during his years of ministry, he was hated mainly by the religious leaders within the temple of God. They opposed him vehemently, and they did everything within their power to try to trip him up with his words and to try to discredit him in any way that they could. They hounded him at every opportunity, but he did not give in to them.
When they could not stop him and his influence over the people, then they plotted his death, which they then carried out. And, it was a horrible death, too, for first they beat him beyond recognition and then he had to carry his cross to Golgotha, and there they nailed his hands and his feet to the cross and they left him hanging there to die, and he did die.
And, his mother stood by and watched his death, so that sword did pierce through her, for any mother who truly loves her children will suffer with her children when they suffer. I know, for I am a mother of four and a grandmother of fourteen, and I do feel it when any of them truly suffer.
But, Jesus said that we, as his followers, will also suffer in like manner as he suffered. If he was hated, he said we would be hated, too. If they hounded him, they will hound us, too. If they tried tripping him up with his words, we will have people who will try that with us, too. If they accused him falsely, they will do that to us, too. If they said he was of the devil and that he was crazy, we should expect that to happen to us, as well, if we are truly following him in obedience to his commands.
And, Jesus did have all those things happen to him and much more. So, he said we should expect to be treated as he was. So, it should not come as a surprise to us when people in the institutional church and leaders within the church, too, come against us, hate us, reject us, and persecute us for righteousness’ sake. For so many of them are not true followers of Christ, or they are living in spiritual adultery against their Lord, and they are following after men and the flesh, instead.
All Through the Night
An Original Work / December 7, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
Blessed are you when you’re persecuted
Because of your faith in Jesus Christ.
Blessed are you when people insult you,
And falsely say what leads folks to doubt.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is
Great in the heavens. You’re not alone.
When you are persecuted in one place,
Flee to another. God will be there.
You will be hated by all the nations
Because you testify of God’s grace.
Many will seize you and persecute you,
And put to death the foll’wers of Christ.
Yet, do not fear what humans may do to you,
For I’m with you all through the night.
I tell you, love your enemies with my love,
And forgive as I forgave you.
Pray for those who do evil against you.
Rest in my love and grace from above.