Summary: Tell me the story of Jesus, the Messiah
A bus driver and a pastor were standing in line to get into heaven. The bus driver approached the gate and St. Peter said, "Welcome, I understand you were a bus driver. Since I’m in charge of housing, I believe I have found the perfect place for you. See that mansion over the hilltop? It’s yours. The pastor heard all this and began to stand a little taller. He said to himself, "If a bus driver got a place like that, just think what I’ll get." The pastor approached the gate and St. Peter said, "Welcome, I understand you were a minister. See that shack in the valley?" St. Peter had hardly gotten the words out of his mouth when the irate minister said, "I was a pastor, I preached the gospel, I helped teach people about God. Why does that bus driver get a mansion, and I get a shack?" Sadly St. Peter responded, "Well, it seems when you preached, people slept. When the bus driver drove, people prayed." SOURCE: James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited. (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 146.
It is my hope and prayer that you stay awake. In all seriousness, I find the exercise of preaching to be really discouraging at times. When you know what the Bible says and you say it in the most creative and clear way possible yet people persist in their sin and lukewarmness it often feels like an exercise in futility. Having said that I guess I will keep on preaching.
For the next six weeks we are going to try to acquaint ourselves with the story of Jesus. Certainly this will not be exhaustive we have tried to pick six events from Christ’s life that may give us a more in-depth glimpse at who He really is and why answering the call to follow Him is critical in our lives.
Many of us struggle on a daily basis with the effects of sin in our lives. It affects our relationships, our families, our work ethic and even our personal self-esteem. Sin will run your life if you let it. The sad truth is that too many people in the church have experienced the church or a pastor’s preaching and teaching but have not experienced Christ. It may be that you are learning and my prayer is that you will commit yourself to accelerating that process.
Following Christ is not a stagnant process. It is a journey. It is daily. It is invasive and it is rigorous. It is also the only way to live and experience true joy and peace on this earth.
Recently I read the cards that people from this church wrote expressing their greatest hopes for their lives. Overwhelmingly, people longed for peace. Peace in their homes, peace in their families, peace in their community and in the world.
Today we begin this introduction to Jesus Christ by retelling the story of an incident that happened shortly after His birth.
We find this account in Luke 2:25:
At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
as you have promised.
30 I have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared for all people.
32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
33 Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.” Luke 2:25-35 NLT
What a beautiful story from the early life of Jesus. But let’s look closer at this elderly man and three reasons why he was so exuberant in his praise.
1. A Messiah to be Anticipated
At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.