“And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting 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. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 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
Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.’
And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Christmas is upon us. On this very Christmas Day, Jesus Christ the Son of the holy God forsook the throne of glory and came to this earth in order to save all sinners. Although Christians all over the world are rejoiced by the fact that the Lord had come to this earth for their salvation, recently I’ve felt that for some people this joy is misplaced.
From this Christmas Eve to tomorrow, the whole world will be celebrating Christmas. As I recall, last Christmas was very cold. It looks as though this Christmas will also be as cold as last year, given how it snowed so much last night. Today, many sinners who have no sincere desire to receive the remission of sins by believing in Jesus and serving Him consider Christmas as just another holiday to rest and enjoy. It’s true, as you know very well yourself, that Christmas is indeed a joyous day. But it saddens my heart to see people just wanting to enjoy Christmas without remembering its true meaning.
Over 2,000 years have already passed by since Jesus came to this earth. No one knows how long this world will continue to exist. But when we look at the various signs evident in today’s world and the Word of God written in the Bible, we can sense that the end of mankind may be quite imminent. With 2,000 years gone by since the first coming of the Lord, we are now living in a time when the day of His return is imminent. In this context, before addressing today’s Scripture passage, I would like to take this timely opportunity to explain how the people of the world will change and what it is that we the righteous should beware of.
Lately I’ve been very edgy and impatient. After some careful thinking, I found the reason for this: Many people nowadays do not recognize their sins even when they commit them, perhaps because the end of this world is near. Christians and non-Christians alike, countless people have fallen into the deep mire of sin to ruin their own lives, and some Christians are pushing themselves into destruction by forsaking their lives of faith.
The prevailing cultural trends of this age, from the way people enjoy their lives to how they think, all indicate that this world is nearing its end. Although we have now been saved by the Lord and born again, because the world is heading in this direction, if we accept the things of the world without distilling them through the strainer of the Lord’s teaching, we will suffer destruction in the end, swept away by the enormous tides of sin. We may be able to enter Heaven in the next world, but in this present world, we will be afflicted with suffering from the world and the servants of the Devil.
Because the Devil knows that his days are numbered, he is bent on stirring up even more wickedness in people’s hearts than usual. The entire world is rushing straight to the cliff of destruction because of the schemes of Satan. As the times are like this, the righteous must be that much more careful to make sure that their thoughts and hearts are set on the path of the right faith. Although even the righteous are engaged in worldly affairs to make a living, what’s far more important is that they should do and think of the work of God first. It is in your human nature to think only sinful thoughts if you are idle, and so you may commit sin without even realizing it. However, for those who are constantly thinking of the work of God, and who want to carry it out diligently, there is neither the time nor the desire to commit sin. Facing such an age of confusion, people like us who have been born again by the salvation of God, must have our bearing straight, and only then can the world be guided to the right direction.
As the righteous who have received the remission of sins from the Lord, we must believe in God wholeheartedly and offer ourselves to Him in obedience to His Word. We must lead a true life of faith, doing everything according to the will of the Lord. We will then prosper together not only in this present world but also in the God-given Kingdom of Heaven.
As mentioned, because this present age is tumultuously confused, my mind is not at ease either. Just a few years ago, the world was very different from today. Even though we might have lacked a few things materially while living in the world, our lives could still be prosperous and flourish thanks to the power of the salvation that our Lord had bestowed on us.
But how are we now? If we continue to be shaken by Satan’s work like this, we will end up ruining both our faith and our entire lives, as we will no longer be able to be taken care of by the Lord. So on this Christmas, let us not be swept away by the buoyant atmosphere of the season that seeks only material gratification, and instead carefully ponder on the real meaning of Christmas; that Jesus Himself came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man in order to save us. And restoring our hearts again, let us devote all our effort to live the rest of our lives by faith.
A Man Named Simeon
It’s written in today’s Scripture passage, “There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel.” After eight days went by since Jesus was born through the body of the Virgin Mary, she took the Baby Jesus to the Temple. Mary had given birth to Jesus Christ as a virgin according to God’s plan, and when she brought the Baby Jesus to the Temple, there was a man of faith named Simeon in Jerusalem. This man had been waiting for the coming of the Savior. It had been prophesied to him by the Holy Spirit that this man would not die before the arrival of our Lord on this earth.
So when Mary and Joseph were about to offer a sacrifice according to the custom of the Law, Simeon took the Baby Jesus up in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”
When Simeon saw the Baby Jesus, he recognized that this Child was the Savior of all mankind. He had been waiting for the birth of Jesus, trusting that God would fulfill His promise. So when Simeon saw the Baby Jesus, he said, “My eyes have seen Your salvation.” The incarnation of Jesus on this earth marked the beginning of salvation for all sinners. The name Jesus means the “Savior.”
Why was Jesus then incarnated in the flesh of man and born in a small town called Bethlehem in Israel? It was to save all human beings, who had become sinners, from their sins. So when Simeon saw the Baby Jesus, born on this earth in the image of a lowly human being to save the sinful human race, he said, “My eyes have seen Your salvation.”
Now, neither you nor I can see Jesus personally with our eyes. That’s because Jesus, having risen from the dead and ascended to Heaven, is now sitting at the right hand of the throne of God the Father. However, when Jesus Christ was born, this man named Simeon had seen the Baby Jesus personally. Although Jesus was just a Baby back then, Simeon recognized with his own eyes that this Baby was the Savior of sinners. In other words, Simeon witnessed that God Himself had come to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man in order to save the entire human race.
Simeon also said that Jesus was “prepared before the face of all peoples.” By this, Simeon meant that Jesus was the Vessel prepared for the salvation of every sinner throughout the whole world. Truly, Jesus is the Savior who came to this earth in order to save all the sinners of this world from their sins. He had come to this earth to save all the sinners of this world from all their sins, and He has indeed delivered them all from their sins and iniquities. My fellow believers, we cannot confirm the existence of Jesus with our own physical eyes as Simeon had done when he saw the Baby Jesus and said, “My eyes have seen Your salvation.” However, the remission of sins can still be obtained, but this is possible only for those who have the profound faith to believe that when Jesus Christ came to this earth, He became their propitiation and blotted out all their sins.
What is it then that the countless sinners of this world must do in order to receive the remission of sins? Salvation cannot be attained by those who look for the Lord only with their lips, singing on Christmas, “♬Joy to the World, ♪the Lord is come!” One can see the light of salvation shone by the Lord only if he believes in Jesus Christ with his heart, who is the King of kings, God Himself, and the Savior of all sinners. In other words, you must believe with your heart that Jesus Christ the Savior who came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man. You must believe that Jesus put on the flesh of man in order to save the human race, and that this Savior remitted away all the sins of this world in the most proper way, by being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. Only then can you truly say, like Simeon, you have also seen the salvation of the Lord.
Our Lord, the Savior of sinners, took upon all the sins of every sinner in this world through the baptism He received in the Jordan River, and to pay off the wages of these sins, He was crucified and shed His precious blood and died on the Cross. That is why it’s been possible for all the sinners on this earth to be saved. We must see this grace of the Lord and feel it with the eyes of our hearts rather than our physical eyes. Unless we are able to see with the eyes of faith the Jesus Christ who has saved us as the Savior of sinners, this approaching Christmas would be a completely meaningless day. If, on the other hand, you have true faith in the Lord in your heart, then you would no longer be a sinner no matter how sinful you may have been; instead you would be a righteous man saved by the Lord. Just by seeing the Baby Jesus, Simeon had the faith to say, “My eyes have seen Your salvation.” Like Simeon, only when we believe that our Lord came to this earth and blotted out all our sins can we say that we have seen His salvation. Like this, Jesus has saved all sinners. All of us should accept this Truth deep into our hearts and ruminate on it once again. Only then can the joy of the birth of Jesus Christ be ours.
It’s written, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This is how much our God loves each and every sinner in this world. In order to save all the sinners destined to be destroyed—that is, to save all the sinners doomed to hell for their sins—God Himself came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man. He has saved us all. By doing so, God has made it possible for all who believe in Him to receive everlasting life and the remission of sins. He has enabled each and every believer to abide forever in His Kingdom instead of perishing.
Jesus Is the Savior Prepared Beforehand to Save All Sinners
Jesus has washed all the sins of every sinner once and for all. Born on this earth about 2,000 years ago, long before you and I were born, He took upon all our sins, was condemned in our place, and thus became the Savior of sinners. Do you believe in this Jesus? When you and I were still sinners unable to receive the salvation of the Lord, Jesus was born on this earth 2,000 years ago in order to save us from all our sins. After accepting all sins by being baptized in the Jordan River, He was crucified and condemned in our place. Do you believe in this? This is what faith is all about.
When it says here in today’s Scripture passage, “You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,” it means that Jesus is the Savior of not just the people of Israel but also every sinner throughout the entire world. Jesus is the Savior who has brought the remission of sins to the entire human race. This salvation of the remission of sins offered by Jesus is not limited to the people of Israel alone. It is worldwide and universal. Our Lord is the universal Savior who delivers everyone in this world from all sins.
The Bible says that the Lord is “a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles.” The Lord has saved not only the people of Israel but also us the Gentiles, and everyone else throughout the whole wide world. In those days, everyone except the people of Israel was a Gentile. The Gentiles neither knew the existence of God, nor did they know the Creator who had made them. They were oblivious to both the Law of God and His love. However, my fellow believers, thanks to the God who created the earth and the heavens, it is now possible for everyone all over the world to be saved through the salvation offered by none other than Jesus Christ.
Out of His compassion, God the Creator Himself came to this earth for the sake of the human beings He had created, pitying that they were destined to die for their sins. Simeon spoke of this Truth by saying, “This Savior has been prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles. All the Gentiles will also receive the remission of sins by believing in Jesus Christ.”
The whole world is now filled with the joy of the approaching Christmas. Everywhere in the civilized world, even in Islamic and Buddhist countries, people are celebrating the birth of Jesus together. As we can see just by looking at the fact that people all over the world are using the Western calendar that’s based on the year of the birth of Jesus Christ, everyone is rejoiced and glad over the birth of Jesus. Why, then, is everyone using the Western calendar to remember the birth of Jesus? That’s because Jesus Christ not only came to save sinners from all their sins in the past, but He is still with us saving us from our sins, and therefore Christ is our Savior.
The salvation of Jesus is universal. Sinners in every country all over the world have received the remission of sins by accepting into their hearts the salvation offered by Jesus. This power of Jesus to save us from all sins is unambiguously universal. The entire human race must therefore listen to the Truth of salvation that’s shone on all the sinners of this earth. Jesus is the Savior of all sinners. This means that every sinner can be saved from all his sins by believing in the salvation of Jesus, the Savior of mankind.
However, we can see that nowadays, the meaning of Christmas has changed considerably. A message can change its meaning when it’s relayed through many different people. Likewise, I feel that the significance of the birth of Jesus has also changed a lot with 2,000 years gone by. That’s because many people today just think of Christmas as a day of celebration to enjoy themselves, and not a day to worship God or receive the remission of sins.
However, the true meaning of Christmas is found in ruminating on the fact that Jesus is the Savior of sinners. God had revealed this true meaning to Simeon, and Simeon relayed it to everyone else, saying, “God has become our Savior by coming to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man.” However, because people have changed too much nowadays, they don’t pay any attention to the profound spiritual meaning of this message and are instead just interested in enjoying themselves exchanging gifts with each other.
It’s absolutely important for us to have the right understanding, throw away our confused thoughts, and realize the true meaning of Christmas. God Himself came to this earth personally, incarnated in the flesh of man in order to save sinners. He has saved us humans from all sins by becoming a Man Himself. That is why we praise God every Christmas season, singing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King.”
As Jesus, God Himself came to this earth in the flesh of man. He led His everyday life just like everyone else in the world, and He also went through all the physical sufferings that everyone else goes through. However, one thing that sets Him apart from the rest of us humans is that He never committed any sin. That’s because even though Jesus was a Man in His outside appearance, He was fundamentally God Himself. So He knows all about man, just as He knows God the Father well. Jesus Christ is the Son of God the Father who came to this earth as the Savior of all the sinners of this world, and He is also God Himself.
Having Come as the Son of God and the Savior of Mankind, Jesus Bore All the Sins of Every Sinner in the Most Fitting Way
Jesus said to John the Baptist, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). Lowering His head to John the Baptist, Jesus told him to baptize Him. As you already know very well, by telling John the Baptist to baptize Him, Jesus was telling him to lay his hands on His head, push Him into the water, and then raise Him back up. Even now, this is what you have to believe in order to blot out all your sins. The word “thus” here means the most fitting and appropriate method. It was to save us that Jesus had come, and He has indeed saved us sinners in the most fitting and appropriate way. In other words, even though we sinners all deserved to be condemned, Jesus was crucified to death in our place, and thus saved all sinners. All our sins were passed onto Jesus when He was baptized.
What sins were passed onto Jesus? All our sins were passed onto Jesus and He bore them all. That is why we call Him Jesus Christ. The name “Jesus” itself means the “Savior,” implying that He has become the Savior of all sinners. When we say that we believe in Jesus, we must believe that the Lord Himself is our Savior.
After being baptized in the Jordan River, our Lord was punished on the Cross. Having risen from the dead on the third day from His death, He is now sitting at the right hand of the throne of God the Father as the Judge. From there He is admonishing all of us sinners to be saved as soon as possible by believing in Him.
Here in today’s Scripture passage, Simeon said,
“You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.” This passage is admonishing us to believe that Jesus came to this earth to save sinners. It is telling us to believe in Jesus and to thereby become sinless people—that is, righteous people. Indeed, to those who, like you, have received the remission of sins, Jesus is their glory. Jesus is the Savior to sinners, and to the righteous who have received the remission of sins, He is all their blessings and glory. In this Christmas season, we the righteous give all thanks and glory to Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit. To all those who believe in Him, Jesus Christ has become their glory. He has become the true joy for us the believers, and the true Savior for sinners. I admonish you all to believe in this Truth.
When Simeon saw the Baby Jesus, he said that he had seen God’s salvation. By this same faith, we have also seen the salvation of the Lord. What about you then? Have you also seen this salvation? Of course you have!
My fellow believers, I admonish you all to remember the real meaning of Christmas and accept it into your hearts sincerely. You must accept into your heart that God Himself came to this earth to save us sinners and has indeed saved us all, and you must give thanks to the Lord for His salvation. Celebrating the birth of the Lord with all our neighbors, and carrying on with our lives of faith, we must never allow our short lives to be wasted on useless things, but instead be faithful to the Lord’s good work and stay far away from sinful things.
Don’t say that you are trying to live for the Lord when you are not in fact leading a diligent and faithful life. The world is drifting to such profound sinfulness that once you fall into it, it will be next to impossible to escape from it. When I say that we shouldn’t lead an indolent life, some people misunderstand this and are offended by my words of admonishment. Such admonishments are offered because I can’t just turn a blind eye to people when they are going astray. But if your heart is not ready to accept my words of admonishment, then there is nothing more I can do for you.
It’s absolutely critical for you to be fully awake now, as this present age is an age filled with sin and wickedness. The nearer the Lord’s return gets, the harder we should try to gather together in fellowship rather than avoiding it, and whenever we are gathered together, we should pray together and learn the Word together diligently. Whenever we are apart, we should lead a faithful life from each of our positions, and whenever we are gathered in the Church, we should carry out God’s work and lead an upright life. That’s because with our faith, we have to expend our hearts, our minds, and our bodies on the good work and run our race to its end faithfully. As the people of faith, all of us must lead such a life.
I am so rejoiced that Christmas is upon us today. From the depth of our hearts, let us all give thanks to the Lord for shouldering all our sins, and grasping the meaning of this sacrifice. Let us also have the compassion to forgive those who wrong us. This means that since the Lord has blotted out all our sins and clothed us in so much of His grace, we also ought to be able to share His grace with everyone else. Above all else, none of us should ever fall into sin to perish away. If we fall into sin, the death that will visit us will not be a peaceful one, but we will be cast into hell to suffer forever.
So, on this Christmas Day, let us all ruminate on the grace of the Lord one more time. Let us give thanks to the Lord from the depth of our hearts, and let us also spread the joy of His birth to all those around us.