I’m now six chapters into reading Luke – but this title comes from back in chapter 2 where Jesus is presented in the temple. These words of praise are spoken by Simeon, an old holy man who is told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before seeing the Lord’s Messiah. As he clutches Jesus in his arms he praises God.
This follows the beautiful praises that are declared in the first chapter, first by Mary and then by Zechariah. The story of salvation is so remarkable, it starts and ends with awe at what God has done. How wonderful to witness salvation and respond with joy and praise.
Mary, Zechariah and Simeon rejoice because they recognise the enormity of what they see before them. The immortal has come to be with the mortal. The sinless with the sinful, the worthy with the unworthy, the holy with the unholy. Love has come down and the only appropriate response is ceaseless praise.
I read John 1 today with a friend, and in that chapter it says,
11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
I don’t know how to comprehend the fact that Jesus, the most worthy, put those who are so evidently unworthy before himself by coming to a world he created, only to be rejected. Jesus came with a knowledge that there would never be a return on his sacrifice because there is nothing of comparable worth that could ever be given back, and yet he still came.
This salvation is the perfection of grace – Jesus left heaven just to get me.
The only thing I can sacrifice is my own pride, and yet I don’t seem able to make that return. As I was praying yesterday I had a picture (so exciting, this is the first time that has happened) of a little figure hanging from a beam with one hand, clutching some small coins tightly in the other hand. I understood the small coins to be the things that I am proud of, things that I foolishly like to regard as successes of my own doing. It was so clear to me that holding onto these things, my pride, was the barrier to fully grasping the beam, of fully grasping the joy and life that is to be had because of my faith. Letting go of things not worth holding onto will enable take hold of the only things worth holding onto.
I find it so hard to give up these ‘small coins’, and yet Jesus gave up every treasure in heaven. I want to know that depth of love more fully, to be completely captivated by it.
I pray that I would be so captivated by Jesus’ grace, the salvation that is offered to me, that I would drop whatever I am holding to and sing praises just like Mary, Zechariah and Simeon. For my eyes, too, have seen salvation.