November 10, 2023
Celebrating Life in the Midst of Opposition
How did you celebrate the birth of your child or grandchild? Fathers sometimes hand out cigars when a baby is born. New parents send out birth announcements to family and friends. And they open their home to welcome family members and close friends to see the new baby. Soon after the birth, many Christian parents have their child baptized. Through the water and the Word, God makes the child His own. Baptisms at the congregation are often followed by a special baptism celebration with family and close friends.
Mary and Joseph also celebrated the birth of Jesus. Jewish laws required that a mother had to wait 40 days after the birth of the child to go to the temple and offer the sacrifice for her purification. “If the parents could not afford a lamb and a pigeon then they sacrificed two pigeons or two turtledoves” (Lev. 12:2-8). The Bible tells us Mary and Joseph sacrificed a pair of turtledoves.
Then they dedicated the Child to the Lord in the temple. As faithful Jewish parents, they followed the laws and customs and presented their Child to the Lord so He would serve God.
While there they met Simeon. Simeon, a righteous and devout man, had been waiting a long time to see God’s salvation. The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he would not see death until he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And the Holy Spirit revealed to him that the baby was the promised Messiah. He took the baby in his arms and proclaimed, “Now Lord, thou dost let thy bondservant depart in peace, according to thy word, for my eyes have seen thy salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for the Gentiles and the glory of the people Israel.” Now Simeon could depart in peace.
Simeon then said to Mary, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed—and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” I’m sure Mary remembered Simeon’s words about opposition.
Jesus grew up and eventually began His ministry. Many people believed in Him. But, others opposed him as Simeon had told Mary they would. They refused to believe He was the promised Messiah and the Son of God. He was beaten, stripped, and mocked. Because of the opposition, Jesus was arrested and nailed to a cross to be crucified. There on the cross, he suffered for your sins and mine. Even while he hung on the cross, he was opposed. Some Jewish people opposed the sign that was nailed above Jesus on the cross that read, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS” (Luke 23:38). Can you think of other people who opposed Jesus?
Jesus suffered and died. His suffering and death bring us forgiveness and everlasting life in heaven. Three days after Jesus' death, He rose from the dead. He showed Himself to many people during the 40 days he was on earth after the resurrection.
The opposition that followed Jesus continues even today. Do you know that there are over 100 million people today in the United States who do not believe in Jesus? And that that number continues to grow?
Some years ago I watched a video sent through Facebook of the group of pro-choice young adults who disrupted the convention of Students for Life in Washington, DC. The students were trying to begin a worship service and the young adults walked through their midst, holding up signs and chanting loudly “Not the Church, Not the State, Women must decide their fate.” So the worship services couldn’t begin. We must find ways to ask these pro-choice individuals, “What about the babies that are being killed? We as people who are for life must continue to love them, even in the midst of times like this that upset us. And we must continue to pray for them to change their minds about abortion and faith issues.
So, yes, there are still many people today who oppose life and the fact that we are saved through faith in Christ Jesus alone (Acts 4:12). Those who oppose this message often promote death as a way to fix unplanned pregnancies and encourage assisted suicide. And so the opposition that Simeon spoke about to Mary continues even today.
Thankfully, many people do believe in Jesus. Those who believe have eternal life as a free gift. We are His. And in Him, you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions (Col. 2:11-12). Let’s praise God for forgiveness and Life.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ into our world. He suffered in our place, taking all our sins upon Himself so we could have forgiveness and everlasting life. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Kay L. Meyer
Family Shield Ministries
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