— Bungee jump
— Sky dive
— Climb a mountain
— Travel the world
— Swim with dolphins
— See the Northern Lights
— Ride in a hot air balloon
— Float in the Dead Sea
These are all things you’d find on a modern-day “bucket list” of things people want to do before they die.
These aren’t promised experiences. Rather, they’re hoped-for experiences. We hope we’ll have the time, the energy, the health, and the funds to be able to cross them off our list. We might get to some of them, some of us might get to all of them. Regardless, none of these experiences are guaranteed.
The Israelites were an oppressed people during the time of Roman rule. I imagine that the Jews of Jesus’ day had “see the Messiah” on their bucket lists. I’m sure many expected the Messiah to be a conqueror of superhero proportions – the heart of Captain America, the strength of the Hulk, and the intellect of Tony Stark.
Though the story of Jesus proves He was and is far superior to the greatest superhero of our imaginations, the Israelites didn’t see Him as such – especially considering how He made His debut.
Jesus entered this world in the humblest of ways as a tiny, little infant. No palace. No princely swaddling cloths. No grand feast to celebrate His arrival.
Surely, with such meager beginnings as this, no Israelite could confidently scratch “see the Messiah” off their bucket list. No Israelite, that is, but one.
There was a righteous man named Simeon who received a promise from God that he would see the Messiah before he died. We read that he spent his life “waiting for the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25) – waiting not simply for a period of time, but for an individual.
Simeon’s confidence that he would see the Messiah was founded in God’s character. He trusted God to do what He had promised and we can be sure that He was abundantly blessed for his faith:
he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” | Luke 2:28-32
Simeon spent much of his life “waiting for the consolation of Israel” and because of God’s great favor, he was granted the privilege of witnessing His arrival. Though in the form of a little baby, though born to an ordinary woman and a lowly carpenter, Simeon knew Jesus was the Son of God, the long-awaited Christ, Redeemer of the world. With
See the Messiah
confidently scratched off his bucket list, Simeon left this earth with the greatest peace. He didn’t figuratively see salvation – no, he very LITERALLY beheld salvation with his own two eyes. His response:
This Christmas season reminds us that we have been granted an even greater promise than that which was given to Simeon. Christ came into the world two thousand years ago for a single purpose. His birth was the beginning of our salvation.
The Word of God promises the end of our destruction, the guarantee of a new life, the assurance of unsurpassable peace, the security of an eternity in heaven with Christ if we believe that Jesus entered this world as a baby, died on a cross for our sins 33 years later, and rose from the dead on the third day. He did all of this because He loved us.
We may not all get to sky dive or bungee jump or see all the wonders of the world before we die. Many of us may leave this earth with our bucket lists unfinished. But friends, whatever you do, make sure you do not leave this earth without knowing the One who gave His life up for yours.
Let this Christmas be more than presents, hot chocolate, and cozy fireplaces. Let this Christmas be the beginning of an indescribable, incomparable relationship with Jesus Christ.