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Looking for the Consolation of Israel
By Dr. Mary Craig
In Luke 2.25-38, we read of a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This righteous and devout man was looking for the consolation of Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon this man. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before He had seen the Lordís Christ.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, he came into the temple one day just as a man and woman approached. They were bringing in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law. When Simeon saw the baby Jesus, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.
Simeon also blessed Mary and Joseph and said to Mary, Jesusí mother:
Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.
Simeon wasnít the only one hanging around looking for the consolation of Israel. There was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, 84 years old, and a widow. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of Jesus to all who were looking for the redemption of Israel.
Were these two chosen because they represented the best of the old covenant giving way to the new? Both were very God-centered people. Simeon was looking for the consolation of Israel. Anna spoke to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. They seem especially fit by a lifetime of devotion, worship, fasting, and prayer to recognize and receive Jesus as the Christ. They were prepared to receive Christ.
This Christmas, you can be prepared to receive Christ by learning from the examples of Simeon and Anna, the following three important aspects:
- LONGING. God stirred up a longing for consolation and redemption that comes only from Jesus Christ. This applies to Jesusí Second Coming as well. Hebrews 9.28 says: "So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him." Peter commands: "Set your hope fully on the grace that is coming to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 1.13) So as Simeon and Anna of the old covenant awaited the consolation of Israel, we today eagerly long for the consummation of the covenant in Jesusí parousia. The important thing is to recognize the true Messiah when He comes!
- LOOKING. The blessing of Godís consolation is available to all who will receive it. This is the lesson of "seek and you will find." When Jesus was born, the voice of God became flesh and came speaking consolation. Isaiah 40.1, 2 speaks Godís consoling cry that the warfare is ended and iniquity pardoned. Those who are war-weary and sin-sick look for the light that is Jesus to bring the consolation that Godís anger is dealt with in the Christ, Jesus the Messiah. To Jew and Gentile the promise comes that the Lord has consoled His people and will have compassion on His afflicted. It gives cause for rejoicing and singing! (Isaiah 49.13)
- LOVING. Consolation speaks to our longings for healing and restoration from the losses and miseries of life. Consolation is Godís coming to revive all that has been thrown away or lost. The Greek word translated "consolation," means "a calling near, summons for help, entreaty, encouragement, comfort, solace, refreshment." It means "to allay the sorrow or grief of" according to the American Heritage dictionary. Yearning leads to looking which leads to loving. 2 Timothy 4.8, written by the Apostle Paul near the close of his life, reveals the result of a lifetime of longing and looking. "Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing."
If you are longing for victory over the forces of evil in your life, if you are in bondage and looking for deliverance because you need to be delivered from powers that still hold you and keep you from the destiny God has for you, then look until you find Jesus, the consolation of Israel and the redemption of Jerusalem. Jesus came to bring restoration and healing from past losses and liberation from Godís enemies and the enemies to your soul. Jesus offers forgiveness and freedom, pardon and power.
Harry Potter may be out there demonstrating the power of enchantment, but maybe you find yourself disenchanted with such powers, disenchanted with the praise of men and the power of money, disenchanted with the pursuit of the ordinary. If youíre longing for consolation, start looking. If youíre looking, keep looking until you find. If youíve found Jesus already, sing and rejoice and praise Him, loving His appearing.
Our website manager, Kroy Ellis, a Jewish believer who has recognized that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, says to and of his fellow Jews:
Jesus is the Consolation of Israel. They are grief stricken and shaken by all that has been happening to them, by hopelessness, and all that they see is coming, as is America and much of the Western world. Whatever happens in Israel (Judah) affects the whole world, and all the nations will reel because of Jerusalem (Zechariah 12-14). But, especially in Israel, there is no consolation, no comfort. There wonít be, no matter where they turn, until they acknowledge their sin against their God and Savior and begin to say, Baruh ha ba bíshem Adonai, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD (Jehovah)."
The light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to Godís people Israel has appeared. Mary and Joseph marveled at what was said about Maryís child, Jesus. Do you? He appears to those who long and look for Him, to those who love His appearing.
© 2001 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.
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