There’s a story that’s often mentioned in church around Christmas time, about a bunch of shepherds who were watching their flock one night when an angel showed up and made this announcement:
Or, to use the Hebrew term for Christ: Messiah – the promised annointed one, the one Jewish people were waiting for!
So those shepherds would have known what the angel meant. Just as a man called Simeon (or in Hebrew: Shim’on) knew, and recognised the Messiah even as a tiny baby! Which is what comes next in that same chapter in Luke – the baby’s birth is the part people hear about a lot more, but let’s follow his parents to Jerusalem a while later:
And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
The birth of Jesus was no surprise. It had been foretold by the prophets over the centuries. God had been planning this right from the beginning, from the time when sin entered this world and brought with it the need for atonement and salvation. And those who had their spiritual eyes and ears open – they recognised Messiah when he arrived at last, and rejoiced.
If, like me, you’re Jewish – rejoice! our Messiah has come, just as God had promised! Put your faith in him and be saved!