Summary: The people who first heard the prophecies concerning the Messiah only saw him in black and white. We can see Him in color.
Soon It Will Be Christmas Day – Part 3 December 23, 2001
In Pleasantville, USA, there has never been any rain.
There has never been hatred, aggression or tears.
In Pleasantville, USA, there has never been a passionate kiss.
There has never been a flat tire, a red rose or a work of art.
Until now. (From movieweb.com/movie/pleasantville)
Those are the words from a trailer for the 1998 movie “Pleasantville.”
The story revolves around a teenager named David Wagner - a present day kid who is hooked on the 1950s. He spends most of his time watching reruns of a classic black and white television show called "Pleasantville," set in a simple place where everyone is swell and life is pleasingly pleasant.
But one evening, life takes a bizarre twist when a peculiar repairman gives him a strange remote control, which zaps David and his sister, Jennifer, straight into Pleasantville.
They find themselves cast as members of the TV family, the Parkers. David has become "Bud" and Jennifer has been transformed into "Mary Sue," and they are surrounded by the black and white suburbia that once kept David glued to the tube for hours.
It doesn’t take long for them to discover that there’s no news, weather or sports when you’re living in a black and white paradise where everything is always...pleasant. The sun always shines, every player on the high school basketball always makes every shot, and nobody ever questions why things are always so perfect.
But then Jennifer brings her present day attitudes into this unsuspecting environment.
Long repressed desires begin to boil up through the people of Pleasantville, changing their lives in strange ways that none of them had even dared to dream of… And when this happens, the people begin to appear in bright, vivid, living color.
Everything in Pleasantville was black and white until they received a visit from two kids who had lived in the real world.
For the past two Sundays we’ve considered some predictions in the Bible concerning someone the Jews called “the Messiah.” Messiah just means “anointed one” or “specially chosen one.”
But the truth is, the people who first heard the prophecies recorded in the Old Testament only saw the Messiah in black and white. They had marvelous clues, but not all of the details. So they anxiously waited for the Messiah’s arrival - the first Christmas Day – when everything would be clear and they could see the Messiah in living color.
One man had received a promise from God that he would meet the Messiah before he died. Luke 2 tells us about him.
25Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
Simeon is a senior citizen. An elderly gentleman. He’s seen many years come and go. He was just a boy when the Roman Empire took control of Palestine almost 60 years prior to this incident in Luke 2. He undoubtedly remembers the way Pompey, the Roman general, conquered Jerusalem after a 3-month siege of the temple area, massacring Jewish priests in the performance of their duties and then entering the Most Holy Place. This sacrilege began Roman rule in a way that Jews could neither forgive nor forget. He’s even lived through the changes that have occurred because of Roman rule.
But still, after seeing all this change and all of the bloody destruction in his homeland through the years of his life, Simeon remains a man of hope. Verse 25 says that, “He was waiting for the consolation of Israel,” that is, the comfort, the relief that the Messiah would bring to his people. He most definitely remembered the words of the prophet Isaiah, words that had gone through his mind every day for many years, words that the composer Handel would later carefully put to the music of The Messiah,
“Comfort ye, Comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned” (Isaiah 40:1-2)
Simeon longed to see this comfort come to his beloved city of Jerusalem. Especially because of the promise he had received that he would not die before he had seen the Christ.
Luke 2 goes on to say…
READ Luke 2:27-32
27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant in peace.