“This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel …”
The Christian church is now well into its observance of Lent.
Lent is that time of the year when Christians focus on the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus and what it means for us to follow him. Many Christians observe the season by engaging in small token acts of self-denial. Christians commonly forgo some sweets or meats or other pleasures or luxuries during Lent in a pale imitation of Christ’s great sacrifice.
The gospel, however, calls us to much more. Jesus did not come into this world to modify a few of our favorite habits. Simeon foresaw Jesus as the cause of people falling and rising. He foresaw people being tripped up by Jesus. And he saw a sword piercing the soul of Mary, Jesus’ mother.
What Simeon saw, in part, was the effect Jesus would have on people—even today. Falling comes before rising. We need to be humbled—to confess our sins and our need of God’s forgiveness—before our Lord can raise us up to be the kind of people he intends us to be.
All this is radical stuff. Falling and rising, dying and being born again. Sin is tough stuff to conquer. Ask Jesus. It is no easy thing to take up your cross. But Jesus led the way. Follow him—through the observance of Lent, Good Friday, and then EASTER!
Father, we fall before you to confess our sins. Forgive us and raise us up, we pray, to live life in your image to the praise and glory of your name. Amen.
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