The salvation of the whole world

In the days when Jesus was born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago, there was a pious man named Simeon who lived in Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would not die until he saw the Lord's Christ. One day the Holy Spirit led Simeon to the temple on the very day that the parents brought the baby Jesus to meet the requirements of the Torah. When Simeon saw the baby, he took Jesus in his arms, praised God and said: Lord, now you let your servant go in peace, as you said; for my eyes have seen your Savior, whom you have prepared before all peoples, a light to illuminate the Gentiles and at the price of your people Israel (Luke 2,29: 32).

Simeon praised God for what the scribes, the Pharisees, the high priests and the teachers of the law could not understand: Israel's Messiah came not only for the salvation of Israel, but also for the salvation of all the peoples of the world. Isaiah had predicted this long before: It is not enough that you are my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the scattered of Israel, but I have also made you the light of the Gentiles that you are my salvation to the end the earth (Isaiah 49,6). God has called the Israelites out of the peoples and separated them as his property people through a covenant. But he didn't just do it for her; he ultimately did it for the salvation of all peoples. When Jesus was born, an angel appeared to a group of shepherds who looked after their flocks at night.

The glory of the Lord shone upon her and the angel said:
Do not be afraid! Behold, I proclaim to you great joy that will come to all the people; for the Savior was born to you today, who is Christ the Lord in the city of David. And that has as a sign: you will find the child wrapped in diapers and lying in a crib. And immediately there was the multitude of heavenly hosts with the angel, who praised God and said: Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth with the people of his good will (Luke 2,10: 14).

When he described the extent of what God was doing through Jesus Christ, Paul wrote: For it pleased God that all abundance should dwell in him and that he reconciled everything with him, be it on earth or in heaven, by: Peace made by his blood on the cross (Colossians 1,19: 20). Just as Simeon had proclaimed about the child Jesus in the temple: through God's own son, salvation had come all over the world, to all sinners, even to all enemies of God.

Paul wrote to the church in Rome:
Because Christ died for us at the time when we were still weak. Now hardly anyone dies for the sake of a just one; maybe for the sake of good he dares his life. But God shows his love for us in the fact that Christ died for us when we were still sinners. How much more will he save us from anger now that we have been justified by his blood! Because if we were reconciled to God by the death of his son when we were still enemies, how much more will we be saved by his life after we are now reconciled (Romans 5,6-10). Despite Israel's failure to keep the covenant that God had made with them and despite all the sins of the Gentiles, through Jesus Jesus accomplished everything that was necessary to save the world.

Jesus was the prophesied Messiah, the perfect representative of the covenant people, and as such, the light for the Gentiles, the One by which both Israel and all peoples were saved from sin and brought into the family of God. That is why Christmas is a time to celebrate God's greatest gift to the world, the gift of His one and only Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

by Joseph Tkach


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