Blessings Through Christ
“Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed’” (Luke 2:34–35).- Luke 2:22–38
All those who received the Aaronic blessing under the old covenant enjoyed certain blessings whether or not they had true faith in His promises. When God blessed the harvest, everyone enjoyed an abundance of food. Faithful and unfaithful alike enjoyed security when Yahweh fought for the nation of Israel. Great were the benefits of being a member of the visible covenant community.
Yet in the new heavens and earth, the good things spoken of in the Aaronic blessing will belong to all those in Christ alone. As Paul teaches, “Not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel” (Rom. 9:6–8). Only true Israelites, those who possess the faith they profess, will finally enjoy the Lord’s blessing.
This blessing is mediated to the faithful through the Messiah, Jesus. Today’s passage tells us about righteous Simeon who was privileged to speak God’s words of favor over the infant Jesus. As the Father’s chosen king and head of His people, Jesus is the one on account of whom many in Israel will rise and fall (Luke 2:34). The true identity and destiny of every man will be determined based on his response to the Son of God. All who oppose Him will fall, but all those who receive Him gladly, as Simeon shows us, will be shown to be the Father’s righteous people (vv. 22–32). Those whose thoughts and hopes are set upon the Creator will, like the prophetess Anna, show themselves when they worship the Savior and announce the good news of His arrival (vv. 36–38).
Christ was the only man who ever obeyed the Lord perfectly, and so He alone enjoys the full benefits of the peace and smile His Father conveys through the Aaronic blessing (Num. 6:22–27). And since He was faithful even unto death (Phil. 2:1–11), Jesus alone is qualified to be the one in whom we find refuge from sin and wrath in order to share in His blessing. He has taken the place of Aaron as the Great High Priest of God’s people in order to bless those who trust Him (Heb. 9). His perfect priesthood gives us confidence that the Lord’s blessing will come to those with faith, confidence that was not possible for those who heard the blessing from the lips of sinful priests.
Our pluralistic and relativistic society pressures us to deny the exclusivity of Christ. However, we must not cave to the pressure to affirm other roads to salvation outside of conscious faith in Jesus. Consider a time when you had a clear opportunity to affirm that faith in Christ alone is the way of salvation but you were silent. Repent and meditate on John 14:6 that you might be prepared when a chance to show yourself to be faithful comes again.
Passages for Further Study
1 Tim. 2:5
1 John 5:20