Summary: This message invites the listener to see more than just a cute little baby in a cute little manger at Christmastime, but to see what Simeon saw when he met the baby Jesus in the temple. He saw a Sacrifice, a Savior, and a Stone.
Simeon Sees (Luke 2:22-35)
Christmas is a time of surprises. There was a lady who was preparing her Christmas cookies. There was a knock at the door. She went to find a man, his clothes poor, obviously looking for some Christmas odd jobs. He asked her if there was anything he could do. She said, "Can you paint?"
"Yes," he said. "I’m a rather good painter."
"Well," she said, "there are two gallons of green paint there and a brush, and there’s a porch out back that needs to be painted. Please do a good job. I’ll pay you what the job is worth."
He said, "Fine. I’ll be done quickly."
She went back to her cookie making and didn’t think much more about it until there was a knock at the door. She went, and it was obvious that he had been painting: he had paint all over his clothes.
She said, "Did you finish the job?"
He said, "Yes."
She said, "Did you do a good job?"
He said, "Yes. But lady, there’s one thing I’d like to point out to you. That’s not a Porsche back there. That’s a Mercedes." (Bruce Thielemann, "Glory to God in the Lowest," Preaching Today, Tape No. 75)
He misunderstood what it was he was supposed to paint.
I think the same thing happens to people when they think about Jesus, especially at Christmas. They see Him as a cute little baby in a cute little manger, but they don’t see Him for who he really is.
I’m sure it was the same when Jesus was born. People didn’t see Him for who He really was, but one old man did! Six weeks after Jesus was born, his parents took Him to the temple to dedicate Him to the Lord, as was required by the Mosaic Law. Now, most of the people there just saw a dirt poor couple with a six-week-old baby, but Simeon saw something far more.
40 days after a first-born son was born, the Mosaic Law required the parents to bring him to the temple. And there, they were to dedicate him to the Lord and offer a sacrifice.
vs.25 (read to vs.32)
When you look at Jesus this Christmas, see more than just a cute little baby in a cute little manger; see what Simeon saw soon after that first Christmas.
1st of all SEE A SACRIFICE. SEE SOMEONE WHO GAVE UP EVERYTHING TO COME INTO THIS WORLD.
Mary and Joseph sacrificed a pair of doves or two young pigeons, because they could not afford a lamb. The Mosaic Law allowed such a sacrifice for those who could not afford the normal one.
Jesus was born into abject poverty. He left the splendor and wealth of heaven for a cow pen on His way to a cross. Jesus made a great sacrifice to come to this earth.
But not only that, Jesus became a great sacrifice Himself.
Mary and Joseph brought a sacrifice to the Temple. Actually the Law required that they bring two sacrifices, according to Leviticus 12. They brought a burnt offering and a sin offering. In this case, they brought two birds. They placed their hands on those birds, signifying the placing of their sins on those birds. Then those birds were killed in Mary and Joseph’s place, dying as punishment for their sins.
Mary and Joseph BROUGHT a sacrifice, but Jesus Himself WAS the sacrifice for our sins. Our sins were placed on Him, and He died in our place, as punishment for our sins. That’s why He came. He came as a sacrifice for our sins. And He died in our place so we could live in His place forever!
So this Christmas, Don’t just see a cute little baby in a cute little manger. See the sacrifice for your sins (and mine).
During the 2008 presidential race, John McCain was asked by Time magazine to share his “personal journey of faith.” In his article, McCain shared a powerful story of something that occurred while he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam:
When I was a prisoner of war in Vietnam…my captors would tie my arms behind my back and then loop the rope around my neck and ankles so that my head was pulled down between my knees. I was often left like that throughout the night. One night a guard came into my cell. He put his finger to his lips signaling for me to be quiet and then loosened my ropes to relieve my pain. The next morning, when his shift ended, the guard returned and retightened the ropes, never saying a word to me.