Jesus: light for every race and nation

dreamstime_xs_26281138 © Dennis Van De Water lighthouse at night.jpg

It’s an extraordinary thing that what began as a tiny rag-tag group in an insignificant country swallowed up within the Roman empire, should have grown and persisted to the point that more than 2000 years later, all across the world, people set aside time to celebrate the birth of its founder.

Extraordinary from the perspective of people using psychology, sociology, logic, economics and so on to explain it;  but promised by God, centuries before.  In Isaiah 49, God speaks to his Servant, whose mission is to bring the people of Israel back into proper relationship with their God.  God says, “it is too small a thing for you … to bring back those of Israel … I will also make you a light for the Gentiles (the non-Jewish nations), that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

Forty days after Jesus birth his parents take him to the temple in Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, which is what God’s law required.  His mother must be purified, and the baby must be consecrated to the Lord, because he is the first-born son.  That same day the Holy Spirit has prompted Simeon to go to the temple;  Simeon recognises that this baby is the One he has waited his whole life for:  he is God’s salvation, who will not only gather the people of Israel back to their God, but also be a light to every nation.

The shepherds told everyone what the angel had said about this baby;the Holy Spirit prompted Simeon to announce who it was who had suddenly come to the temple;if you and I know who Jesus is, we also have a responsibility to let people know.It is too small a thing, for Jesus to be worshipped by our little congregation!