And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Spirit was upon him (Luke 2:25).
Times were not easy in Israel.
The LORD of Hosts had promised that a Branch would come from the house of Jesse. Yet after Persian rule came the Ptolemies, followed by the hated Seleucids. Yes, the Maccabees gained freedom for awhile, but they brought in Greek practices, and now the Romans were in charge. Israel suffered under the Idumean Herod.
Simeon had seen some of these events take place. He was looking for the consolation of Israel. He looked forward to the LORD’s Messiah– the Christ.
Yet the LORD’s Christ was not coming to redeem Israel from Rome. He would not sit on a throne in Jerusalem and crush the Roman army. He would die on a cross, reckoned as a common criminal, to atone for the sins of mankind.
On the third day He rose from the dead, defeating both sin and death. The LORD’s Christ would rule– over all nations. The LORD’s Christ would defeat Israel’s true enemies– sin and death.
That is how Jesus of Nazareth represented the consolation of Israel: He showed the way of light and truth, the way of the Father: the way of eternal life, free of sin and death.
But Jesus is not just the consolation of Israel– He is the consolation of the whole world. Through Him Jew and Greek would be reconciled to become one Kingdom of God. His sacrifice could atone for anyone who believed in Him. Anyone could share in His victory over sin and death.
Jesus indeed is the consolation of Israel– and the consolation of the world. Do you find consolation in Him and His glorious work? Have you conquered the world of sin and death through your faith in Him?
Let us take comfort in the consolation of Israel: through Jesus Christ, we can overcome the world (1 John 5:4)!
Ethan R. Longhenry