DENIAL OF MESSIAH’S IDENTITY, 20.12.18
Matthew Henry’s Commentary, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/mhc/luke/2.htm
From the day of Messiah’s birth, there were those who knew and identified Him as Messiah. The Shepherds, the Wise Men, and then, “a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and pious, waiting for the consolation of Israel” (Lk.2:25). “Here is a confession of his faith, that this Child in his arms was the Saviour, the salvation itself, the salvation of God’s appointing” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/mhc/luke/2.htm.)
“Now Anna, . . . . a prophetess. . . .. . well advanced in age . . . . . never left the Temple, serving night and day with fasting and prayers” (Lk.2:36,37), also identified Yeshua/Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah. “And it will be said in that day, “It will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God, We waited for Him—He will save us. This is Adonai—we waited for Him. We will rejoice and be glad in His salvation” (Isa.25:9). There were those who had prophesied; there were those who believed, and understood when the prophecies were fulfilled. He was so clearly identified; yet there were those who denied His identity.
Regarding Simeon, “it had been revealed to him by the Ruach ha-Kodesh that he would not die before he had seen the Anointed One of Adonai” (Lk.2:26). Now he had seen and held him and was ready to “bid farewell to this world. How poor does this world look to one that has Christ in his arms, and salvation in his view! See here, how comfortable is the death of a good man; he departs in peace with God, peace with his own conscience, in peace with death. Those that have welcomed Christ, may welcome death” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/mhc/luke/2.htm.) How clearly we can see the connection between Isa.25:9, the prophecy by Anna the Prophetess, and Simeon, and the birth of Messiah. It surely was an opportunity for all of Israel to lay hold of the truth. Yet Messiah’s arrival was so overlooked, misunderstood, denied, and rejected by the majority. How was it that all of Israel did not rejoice and embrace their Saviour? What happened?
“Joseph and Mary marvelled at the things which were spoken of this Child. Simeon shows them likewise, what reason they had to rejoice with trembling. And Jesus, his doctrine, and people, are still spoken against; his truth and holiness are still denied and blasphemed; his preached word is still the touchstone of men’s characters. The secret good affections in the minds of some, will be revealed by their embracing Christ; the secret corruptions of others will be revealed by their enmity to Christ. Men will be judged by the thoughts of their hearts concerning Christ. He shall be a suffering Jesus; his mother shall suffer with him, because of the nearness of her relation and affection”(Matthew Henry’s Commentary, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/mhc/luke/2.htm). How sad it is that all of humanity did not embrace Who He was/is/came to be/do!
“And even if our Good News is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case, the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, so they might not see the light of the Good News of the glory of Messiah, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves, but Messiah Yeshua as Lord—and ourselves as your slaves for Yeshua’s sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Messiah” (2 Cor.4:3-6). God sometimes chooses to harden hearts and blind eyes for the purposes of timing and/or judgment. Yahweh instructed Isaiah: “Go! Tell this people: ‘Hear without understanding, and see without perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people fat, their ears heavy, and their eyes blind. Else they would see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return, and be healed” (Isa.6:9,10). Isaiah asked God how long He was going to cause the people’s hearts to be hardened and their eyes to be blinded, and Yahweh basically told Isaiah that He would do this in His time, and in His judgment of Israel. And this Old Testament prophetic Word is repeated for our benefit, in the New Testament:
38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet, who said,
“Adonai, who has believed our report?
To whom has the arm of Adonai been revealed?”
39 For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah also said,
40 “He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts,
so they might not see with their eyes
nor understand with their hearts and turn back,
and I would heal them.”
41 Isaiah said these things because he saw His glory and spoke of Him.
42 Nevertheless many, even among the leaders, put their trust in Him. But because of the Pharisees, they were not confessing Yeshua, so they would not be thrown out of the synagogue;
43 for they loved the glory of men more than the glory of God.
44 Yeshua cried out, “Whoever puts trust in Me believes not in Me but in the One who sent Me!
45 And whoever beholds Me beholds the One who sent Me.
46 As light I have come into the world, so that everyone who trusts in Me should not remain in darkness.
Yahweh would harden their hearts and blind their eyes until the Gentiles could be grafted into the original olive tree.
As always, it is a choice to believe. The truth was/has been/still is, rejected by the majority. Although certainly Jews were the original majority of believers in Yeshua during the first Century, the majority were not included, and the fulfillment of Simeon’s prophetic words were, for the most part, ignored. “The one who believes in Him is not condemned; but whoever does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not put his trust in the name of the one and only Ben-Elohim” (John 3:18). Humankind brings themselves into condemnation because of their own choice to reject, rebel, and refuse to believe. “Such non-belief reveals insensibility to truth, indifference to the reality of things, unsusceptibility to the light, and a moral perversity which has been persisted in . . . . Nothing can indicate a more untractable, unspiritual, and carnal state than a refusal to admit so great and imposing a manifestation of the Divine nature as the Name of the only begotten Son of God”(Matthew Henry’s Commentary, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/mhc/luke/2.htm). Humankind brings condemnation upon themselves by their own actions, and then have the audacity to demand “How can a loving God condemn people to eternal damnation?!”
“Now this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world and men loved the darkness instead of the light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). “Unbelief is a sin against the remedy. It springs from the enmity of the heart of man to God, from love of sin in some form. Read also the doom of those that would not know Christ. Sinful works are works of darkness. The wicked world keep as far from this light as they can, lest their deeds should be reproved. Christ is hated, because sin is loved . . . . . Regeneration, or the new birth, is a subject to which the world is very averse” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/mhc/luke/2.htm).
“God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. For everyone who does evil hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds will not be exposed. But whoever practices the truth comes to the light, so that it may be made known that his deeds have been accomplished in God”(John 3:17,20,21). May God’s people go forth and proclaim Messiah; “let your light shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt.5:16), revealing His true identity for all to see. Let God’s people no longer hide their light and withhold the Truth because of fear of man, fear of rejection, fear of persecution, for our Lord said: “if they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:20).
© 2015, revised 2016, 2017, 2018 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.
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