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33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
(Luke 2:33-35 NIV)
Are you feeling slightly intimidated? If so, I was too. But try reading the few verses leading up to our passage. At this point, Jesus is a baby, and His parents brought Him to the Temple to dedicate Him to the Lord. While in the Temple, a prophet Simeon said wonderful things about Jesus, but then he got very intense. That is where we pick up on our passage.
The falling and rising of many in Israel, a sign to be spoken against, people’s thoughts and hearts would be revealed, all because of a baby. Wait, what? Don’t all of these statements sound negative to you? And it did to Mary and Joseph too, I’m sure, but I don’t think that was Simeon’s intent. He didn’t mean to lead to panic, but to hope.
You see, when Simeon spoke of the rising and falling of many in Israel, he meant Jesus’ presence here on earth would cause the wicked to fall and the righteous to rise. Not only that, but this statement foreshadows Jesus’ death and His resurrection – the fall and rise. See that hope I was talking about? The reign of evil would fall; the ones who were found to be holy would rise. Jesus Himself would die (fall), then rise.
God will redeem hopeless situations, bringing good out of bad, just like what happened with Jesus. Jesus fell (died), and all hope seemed lost. But then He rose and was exalted! This should give us hope! You see, God can see the whole picture; we can’t. He is in control of how the story ends, and we aren’t. So, we have to trust that even though our life may feel chaotic or out of control, God will show up and cause us to rise after what feels like a fall. God can and will do this in your life. Just wait, trust, and have hope.
When I was applying for college, I had gotten into my first choice, the University of South Carolina! I was so excited to turn in the deposit that would hold my spot at the university when my mother gave me disappointing news. No one in our family would have the $150 in time for me to hold my spot. I was going to have to start a semester late. Beyond devastated, I cried out to God asking for Him to make a way for me to be able to go for the Fall semester. Weeks passed, and nothing happened. But then, the day the money was due, my mom found an unaddressed envelope in our mailbox with the exact amount of money needed for the deposit! I was truly shocked. My parents are so private that they definitely didn’t make it known that we were suffering from money troubles. The only explanation was God had provided.
Now, obviously starting college a semester late is not the end of the world! But at this point in my life, I felt like my life fell. My friends were going to leave me behind, I was embarrassed I didn’t have $150, and I felt like there was no way out of my situation. But God knew the end of my story. He caused my life to rise after I felt like it fell, and He will do the same for you! It might not look like providing the right amount of money at the right time, but if you trust in Him, He will raise you up to be with Him. We just have trust in Him. He always shows up.
This Christmas, as things feel chaotic, slow down and remember that God is on His throne and He shows up.
- In the passage, Simeon prophesies that Jesus will cause many to fall. He will reveal people’s hearts and they will speak against Him. How can the revealing of someone’s heart lead to their downfall? Why would this cause people to not like Jesus?
- Who do you think Jesus was causing to “fall”? Who do you think He was causing to “rise”?
- What do you think Simeon meant when he told Mary that a sword will pierce her heart?
- What situations are you currently going through where you feel hopeless?
- How does this passage encourage you to have hope in hard situations?
God, help me have hope in the situations that seem hopeless. Give me the wisdom to trust You even when I don’t want to. Show me how You can bring goodness out of brokenness, Father. Help me say the words, I trust You, and truly mean it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hey, my name is Lexie Quesada. I have known the Lord since I was 12 years old and am by no means a biblical scholar. I do, however, love talking about God and how He loves us all individually! As the middle child in my family, I am naturally rebellious and unique. I am currently married to my amazing husband, Frank, and have one beautiful 8-year-old daughter and a son on the way. It is an honor to be a part of this Christmas devotional series.