A response to Then Came Jesus by Lara Williams :: Week 2, Day 1
And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD ”), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just 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. So he came by 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 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”
And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:21-35 NKJV, emphasis mine)
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:28-39 NKJV, emphasis mine)
Wow. Two seemingly unrelated passages are studied today in Then Came Jesus, but at closer look I can see the connection. Simeon prophesied to Mary that “a sword will pierce through your own soul also” meaning (though she probably didn’t comprehend it at the time) that when Jesus would be sacrificed she would face the worst tribulation, distress, and peril she would ever experience. But with that would come “a light to bring revelation” and God’s salvation (Luke 2:30-32 NKJV). She didn’t have Romans 8 at the time, but she could still choose to believe that nothing could separate her from God’s everlasting love. She could still choose to focus on that love rather than the trouble at hand (Then Came Jesus, p. 23).
Lately I’ve been experiencing something troubling, something causing me great distress. It is too personal to share here, but I will say that it is a horrible sin and I want it gone. I keep praying that God would remove it from me, but as soon as I finish my prayers I attempt to come up with a plan to save myself.
Can you relate? Maybe you are addicted to cigarettes or worse — Candy Crush — and you keep devising ways to wean yourself off of your vice. Or perhaps you keep looking for something to replace it. That’s what I’ve been doing, attempting to wean myself from my sin and replace it with something “better.” In all this planning and self-salvation my focus is wrong. I keep staring at the problem at hand, when I should be looking to the everlasting love of God. And because my focus is off I am causing my own stress and peril and it is really all quite unnecessary.
I realized today that I don’t have to come up with a plan of action to be a conqueror. Because of Christ I already am. I don’t need to find the something “better.” Christ is the Better. Jesus has already taken care of things for me. He is sitting at the right hand of God making intercession for me as we speak… or as I write and as you read. And so, if Christ is praying for me, what more do I need?
I realize at this point, you may be thinking, “I still don’t understand the connection between the two passages.” Let me put it this way, and it is similar to what Ms. Williams said in her book, God sent Jesus to earth with a specific plan. It was a plan to bring Him glory all while doing us good (Then Came Jesus, p. 23). This is what Simeon was talking about when he took the Baby Jesus in his arms and blessed God saying, “For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples” (Luke 2: 30-31 NKJV).
Lord, thank You that You have brought the light of revelation to each and everyone of us. I thank You that because Jesus was born, and died, and is risen nothing — not tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword — can separate us from Your everlasting love. Jesus, thank You that because of Your life, death, and resurrection and because You make intercession for me I am a conqueror of sin. Not because of me and my plans, but because of You. I am grateful, Lord. Please help me to set aside my own plans for self-salvation in times of trouble and always look to You. In Your name, amen.
Are you reading Then Came Jesus or another advent study? What is God revealing to you? Please let me know by leaving a comment. You can also find out more about Lara Williams and her book Then Came Jesus here.