Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Connecting Christmas and the Cross

Luke 2:34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed".

In this fifth and final song of Luke's account of Christ's infancy, we are brought to that one word spoken by Simeon before he disappears of the pages of scripture and history: behold.  As we have noted in the last four blogs, this song has a title from the Latin Vulgate: "eius ecce" or (behold this).

The connection between Christmas and the cross
I find it interesting that the things spoken of here by Simeon have details that correspond remarkably to the time of Christ's crucifixion"

1. Behold This same word was spoken by Pilate when he presented Christ to the crowds who had been demanding his crucifixion.  In John 19:5, we read of how Christ, when led out before the crowds with a crown of thorns on his head, was heralded by Pilate with these words: "behold the man".

2. This child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel  Simeon reminds the couple that this beautiful child upon whom they gazed was born to bring salvation.  As a result of Christ's crucifixion, the temple system would fall apart, Judas would hang himself for his betrayal of Christ and the whole Roman empire would never be same. 

3. A sword will pierce even your own soul  These words would find their fulfillment as Mary, 33 years later, would be standing beneath the cross, gazing in grief strickeness at the mangled body of Christ in his humanity. (John 19:26-35)  Though the cradle at Bethlehem was heralded by angels as glorious, the shadow of the cross was never that far. 

Despite the grief that lined Simeon's words, hope could not be eclipsed.  For it was in the death of Christ in His humanity that the God of glory in His deity would be shown victorious over death, Hell and the grave.