6th January 2020

Proclaiming the Gospel

“For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
Luke 2:32 (NIV)

Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th this year. This day celebrates the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi and acknowledged by Simeon blessing Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:25-35). Poor old Simeon. He could probably barely see. He knew his life was nearing its end but he also knew that God had one last job for him. God had promised him that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah, the one Israel was looking forward to. And now his moment had come. How he knew that out of all the babies there probably were in the temple, this was the one we don’t know. But we know that in some mystical way the Holy Spirit left him in no doubt. Now he said God could take him—he was ready to die—that this baby was to be “a light for revelation to the gentiles.”

Ancient Israel had been called as God’s chosen people to set the example of following God’s instructions and way. But instead they soaked up the pagan culture of the nations around them. As a result, the blessings God had for them turned into curses and captivity. And when God sent his prophets to remind them of what they were supposed to be doing, they laughed them to scorn and treated them badly. Interestingly, Nineveh, a gentile city, repented at the preaching of the prophet Jonah, but Israel did not repent in response to the prophets’ messages and warnings.

What was so special about Simeon’s prophecy? He was proclaiming that the message of salvation to the gentiles would be proclaimed not by Israel, but by Christ and His church. They crucified Jesus but he was raised from the dead and gave his disciples the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptism them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

All this was foreseen by Simeon. Today one-third of the earth’s population profess Jesus as Lord in some way or another. We have our part to play in this great plan of God. Our contribution may seem to be small or meagre but it isn’t to God. The Hymn There is a Balm in Gilead sings, “If you cannot preach like Peter, If you cannot pray like Paul, You can tell us the love of Jesus, Who died to save us all.” And as the Apostle Peter says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (I Peter 3:15).

Prayer
Help me, Lord, not to hold back from acknowledging my faith in Jesus when the occasions arise. In His name.
Amen

Study by Christopher Reeve
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About the Author:
Christopher Reeve is assistant pastor of the Invicta (Blean) Congregation near Canterbury, which is part of Grace Communion International/Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Invicta Fellowship
Blean Village Hall
School Lane
Blean
CANTERBURY
CT2 9JA

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11.30 a.m.

Local Congregational Contact:
Mrs Annette Woods
Phone: 07473 188326
Email: annettewoods2@nhs.net