Suddenly! There appeared...
Luke 2:1-35 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. 2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
21 And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
22 And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
25 And 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. 26 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. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, 28 then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 A Light of revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”
33 And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. 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— 35 and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
In today’s text it says: And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. The angel appeared suddenly. That’s how it happens when the kingdom of heaven touches this earthly realm. The two coexist all the time but when the heavenly touches the earthly, when the infinite and eternal kingdom enters this finite, eternal realm there is a suddenness. The text continues: And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Again, there is a suddenness as the kingdom of heaven is manifested in the earthly realm. For those who see it, there is a sense of fear and awe. Perhaps if we too were able to see all that is happening around us, if suddenly we had eyes and ears into the kingdom of heaven, we too would have both fear and awe, we too would see and declare the glory of God. Yet this earth cannot contain all that is in the kingdom of heaven. The infinite and eternal cannot be contained within the limits of the finite. We go through our lives hoping to get glimpses into the heavenly realm, hoping that the suddenlies of heaven will invade and touch our lives.
On that day, or that night when Jesus was born, when the kingdom of heaven was manifested here on earth, the finite was forever changed. When heaven touches earth, when suddenly the kingdom of heaven is manifested and appears on earth, the earth is forever changed. Jesus taught us to pray: Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. We are to pray that suddenly the heavenly realm will be manifested here on earth and that forever the circumstances and the realities of this realm will be changed and they will align with the eternal realities of heaven. That’s what a miracle is. It is when suddenly, beyond human control or explanation the things of earth align with the things of heaven.
In the text it says: 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. 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 carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to 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 of revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.” Simeon saw, both with his physical eyes and with the eyes of the Holy Spirit that Jesus was/is the Christ. He saw the salvation of God, a light of revelation and the glory of the people of Israel. Simeon saw the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He saw the fullness of the glory and the promises of God. He saw all of the glory of heaven manifested in the child, Jesus. We too have been given the same eyes. In John 16:33 Jesus says: “when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” Like Simeon, if we will see with the eyes of the Holy Spirit, we to will see the fullness of the glory of God. If we will see the realities of heaven, we can declare them for the situations and circumstances on earth. Simeon saw the revelation of Christ in the baby Jesus. In Matthew 16:18-19 Jesus says: “upon this rock (the revelation that Jesus is the Christ) I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” In the revelation, the knowledge of the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, we have the keys to the kingdom of heaven. We have the authority to declare the realities of heaven to be on earth. We may not see all of earth line up with the things of heaven. This finite realm cannot contain the fullness of the heavenly realm. But if we will see, with the eyes of the Holy Spirit, what God is doing and has done, if we will see the realities of heaven for our earthly circumstances and declare them here, suddenly some of the things of earth will be forever changed.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You. May indeed Your kingdom come, may Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. May suddenly and forever the circumstances of earth align with the glory of heaven. Amen.