The salvation of the whole world

In the days when Jesus was born in Bethlehem more than 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 before he saw the Christ of the Lord. One day, the Holy Spirit led Simeon into the temple - the very day the parents brought the baby Jesus to fulfill the Torah's requirements. When Simeon saw the baby, he took Jesus in his arms, praising God and saying, "Lord, now let your servant go in peace, as you said; for my eyes have seen your Savior, whom thou hast prepared before all peoples, a light to enlighten the Gentiles, and for the price of thy people Israel (Lk 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 prophesied this long before: it is not enough for you to be my servant to set up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the scattered ones of Israel, but I have made you the light of the Gentiles, that you are my salvation to the ends of the earth (Jes 49,6). God has called the Israelites out of the peoples and separated them by a covenant as their property people. But he did not 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 kept their herds 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 befall all the people; for today the Savior is born to you, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And you have to sign: you will find the child wrapped in diapers and lying in a crib. And immediately there was with the angel the multitude of the heavenly hosts, who praised God and said: Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth among the people of his pleasure (Lk 2,10-14).

When describing the extent of what God did through Jesus Christ, Paul wrote: For it pleased God that all fulness should dwell in him, and through him he reconciled all things with him, whether on earth or in heaven, by Peace made by his blood on the cross (Kol 1,19-20). Just as Simeon had proclaimed in the temple about the baby Jesus: Through God's own Son salvation had come into the whole world, to all sinners, even to all the enemies of God.

Paul wrote to the church in Rome:
Because Christ died at the time, when we were still weak, for us ungodly. Hardly anyone dies for the sake of a righteous man; For the sake of goodness, he may venture 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 we now be saved by him from the wrath, now that we have done justice by his blood! For when we have been reconciled to God through the death of his Son, when we were still enemies, how much more will we be saved by his life, now that we are reconciled (Rom 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, God through Jesus achieved all that was necessary for the salvation of 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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