Luke 2:25-32 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. 26 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. 27 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, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: 29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation 31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, 32 A light to [bring] revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”
So many of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus can be easily applied to what missionaries experience, and can also be a source of encouragement to them. This text is another example, here’s what I mean:
1–Just like Simeon, the Spirit of God leads missionaries into the midst of people who acknowledge by their actions that they believe there is a God, that they want to worship Him, and that they care about pleasing at some level, but who they lack a personal relationship with.
2–Just like Simeon, missionaries believe and recognize that salvation is first and foremost a person, not just an action that moves a person from one state or condition of being to a different one. Without relationship with the person Who is salvation, there can’t be a transition from death, (relational separation) in to life, (personal, interactive relationship with their Creator).
In other words, missionaries, just like Simeon, proclaim that salvation is a person–Jesus, not a process!
3–Just like Simeon, missionaries understand and proclaim in front of everyone that Jesus was a gift from God that was given before the “face” of all people.
That the entry of God’s Son in to our world was a historical event that was the culmination of God’s design for Israel to live out their relationship with Him under the watchful eye of people that were of different languages, ethnicities, religions, and cultures. And that God included provisions in the law He gave to Israel that clearly demonstrated His love for all people, His desire for them to interact with His people, and His longing for them to become His worshipers too.
4–Just like Simeon, missionaries declare that Jesus is the Christ–the Jewish Messiah–the glory of Israel, but that He is also God’s gift of self-revelation to all people, (not just the Jews) to bring them out of the darkness and in to His marvelous light.
Encouragement is one of the greatest Christmas gifts you can give to a missionary. In most cases, you can give them that gift by directing them to God’s word and helping them to see that are a part of a long line of God’s people that obeyed His calling at great cost to themselves, and that like those that preceded them, He is using them to declare His glory among the nations.
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