The story of the birth of Jesus and his early childhood presents us with a number of dramatic and remarkable happenings. One of those amazing events occurred when his parents took him to the temple as part of the fulfilment of the Law of Moses concerning the birth of a male child. They brought him into the temple to dedicate him and offer the necessary sacrifices, involving a pair of pigeons and turtle doves.
At that time there was a man named Simeon, an old man. He had been waiting for the Messiah, and God by the Holy Spirit told him that he would not die until he saw the Messiah. On the appointed day, he was led by the Spirit into the temple. There he met Mary and Joseph who had come to present Jesus to God.
We read that Simeon took the child in his arms and praised God. In the process, he blessed the parents and then spoke prophetically to Mary, the child’s mother, ‘This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but He will be a joy to many others…’ He went on to say that the boy child had been sent as a sign from God, but many would oppose Him. Now, that is a significant prophetic statement. The operative word is, ‘destined’.
To be destined is to be preordained; foreordained; predetermined; someone or something assigned to a specific use, purpose or end. By application Jesus’ destiny was going to impact the end, life end or destiny of many others. In other words, the child had a destiny, and that destiny would define other destinies. Two routes and end points will emerge out of the child’s life. One group of people will fall as a result, whilst another group will be joyful, and so stand. Those who oppose the child, His ministry and message, will fall; whilst those who receive the Messenger and His message will be filled with joy.
You may well ask: what has that got to do with Christmas? Christmas presents us with the opportunity as well as the challenge of the Good News of Jesus Christ. It tells us that God in His infinite love sent His only Begotten Son into this world as a vulnerable baby, who would live a perfect, sinless life and die on a cross as a substitute for our sins. That’s His destiny, to be the sacrifice for the sins of the world. But that destiny defines two pathways – the pathway of life, and therefore joy, for those who accept; and the footpath of opposition, rejection and sadly, death. There are those who would reject this amazing offer by God of His Son, and there are those who would joyfully accept. So, Jesus was God’s gift to you and me. Your destiny will be defined by your response to this greatest of gifts. What is your response? Your response will define your destiny.
Copyright Emmanuel Mbakwe 2013©
If you have read this article and you are not a Christian, I would like to invite you to receive Christ as Saviour and Lord in your life by praying this prayer:
‘God in heaven, I acknowledge that I am sinner and deserve to be punished for all the wrongs I have done. I am truly sorry. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus to this world. I believe He lived, died and rose again for my sins. I repent of all past sins and ask you to forgive me because Jesus. I confess and ask Jesus to come into my life and be my Saviour and Lord. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me to obey you and lead me to follow you all the days of my life. Thank you God for giving me eternal life through your Son Jesus; Amen!’