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Jesus the Missing Link

 

Luke 2:29-38

 

Jim Davis

 

The gospel stories open with the anticipation of the coming of the Messianic king. The Gentile world as well as the Jewish world was anticipating the coming of the king. The Jewish world had been intensely looking for a Messianic king for over 450 years. Today many Jews are still looking for the Messiah. The Old Testament closes with these words which expressed Israel’s frustration from waiting the Messiah 450 years before the Messiah came. They were so frustrated that many were beginning to think that it was futile to serve God as they awaited Israel’s redemption. Malachi tells us what they were thinking.

 

Malachi 3:14-18

14 "You have said, 'It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty? 15 But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.'"

 

16 Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.

 

17 "They will be mine," says the LORD Almighty, "in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not. NIV

 

The stories of the gospels take up where Malachi left off, only it was 450 years after Malachi wrote the last book of the Old Testament. Imagine waiting 450 years for the Messiah to come.

 

The King Is Coming

 

Throughout the gospels accounts we see that the Jews were anticipating the coming of the Messiah. In Matthew chapter 1 the writer tells us that Jesus is the son of David. He traces Jesus’ genealogy from Abraham through king David and continues the genealogy through Joseph. The really important thing to pick upon in the first chapter of Matthew is that Jesus is the son of David. The Jews were anticipating that a son of David, who would also be from the tribe of Judah, would come as the Messiah to sit upon the throne of David.

 

The Magi from the east were anticipating one who would be born king of the Jews. In the second chapter of Matthew the Magi from the east, who by the way were not Jewish, they were Oriental scientist; by implication magicians, or wise men who came asking, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2). They saw his star because they were looking for it. They naturally came to the capital of the Jewish nation, and from there they were led to the Christ child by the star.

That eastern star went ahead of the Magi until it stopped over the place where the child was. When the wise men found the child they fell down and worshipped him. They opened their treasures and presented their gifts of gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. Then angels warned the wise men not to return to Herod, so Herod slew all the babies in Bethlehem two years old and younger.

 

It is evident that even Herod was fearfully anticipating the Messiah. Herod, who was a Gentile king, was troubled by their inquiry? He had questioned the wise men about when they first saw the star, then, he ordered them to find the baby and send him word of the baby’s presence so he could come and worship him. Instead, when they did not return he ordered all the babies two years old and younger to be slaughter.

 

Those who worshipped God in spirit and truth were anxiously anticipating the Messiah. Luke records Jesus’ parents bringing him to the temple for purification, while there they met Simeon, a devout man who was waiting for the consolation of Israel, who was full of the Holy Spirit. The Lord had revealed to him that he would not see death before he had seen the Christ. Simeon took the baby in his arms and proclaimed:

 

Luke 2:29-38

29 "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,

you now dismiss your servant in peace.

30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,

31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people,

32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles

and for glory to your people Israel."

 

33 The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."

 

36 There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. NIV

 

Four hundred and fifty years of waiting drove them to look for Jesus like they were looking for the missing link to their lives. The faithful Jews were expecting the Messiah to bring the consolation and the redemption of Israel. The Samaritan woman believed the Messiah was the missing link to what she needed to know.

 

John 4:21-26

21 Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

 

25 The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."

 

26 Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he." NIV

 

Have you noticed something about the coming of the Messiah? They had a hard time seeing the Messiah when he did come.  Jesus Christ is the one the world has a hard time seeing, and I believe this is true with many congregations throughout the world. Without Christ the world is incomplete—without him your life is incomplete—without him there is no church. There can be no true church without the presence of Christ’s spirit, or without the mind of Christ.

 

Today as we approach Christmas many are trying to remind us that Jesus is the reason for the season. They get upset when we take Jesus out of Christmas. However, the Bible teaches us that Jesus was the reason that God created every season—he was the reason God created the world.

 

Without Christ the world is lost—have you notice that the darkness in the lost world is getting darker—the world as well as the church needs the direction only Jesus can give.

 

No Jesus No Peace, Know Jesus Know Peace

 

Jesus is the missing link in many lives. When the angels proclaimed Christ’s coming to the shepherds they sang: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests" (Luke 2:14 NIV). It is little wonder that the Spirit led Simeon and Anna to expect the consolation and redemption of Israel. The culmination of God’s hopes and dreams for heaven and earth descended to the earth as God became flesh.

 

Jesus descended to his throne to bring peace through service to humanity. He was much different than most earthly kings—he descended from heaven’s throne to live among us—to live life as we must live it. Earthly kings usually ascend to their throne, and always rule so that the subjects of the kingdom can serve them.

 

1 Samuel 8:6-18

6 But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. 7 And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do."

 

10 Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day." NIV

 

Ironically, this was the kind of king Israel was still looking for in the Messiah. They thought of an earthly king that would overcome world powers through physical conflict. Jesus came with the attitude of a servant king.

 

Matthew 20:25-28

25 Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave- 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." NIV

 

Herod killed all the babies two years old and younger because his position was threatened. Jesus never felt threatened by others.

 

Luke 9:46-50

46 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all-he is the greatest."  

 

49 "Master," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us."

 

50 "Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you." NIV

 

Herod was afraid that someone greater than him would overshadow him, or dethrone him but Jesus was not afraid that others would do greater works than he did.

 

John 14:12-14

12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. NIV

 

Last supper discussions revolved around who was to be the greatest. Jesus had no more instituted the Lord’s memorial feast when a discussion broke out which would be the greatest in his kingdom.

 

Luke 22:24-30

24 Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. NIV

 

Jesus demonstrated the heart of a servant as he got up in the middle of the discussion and began to wash the disciples’ feet.

 

John 13:1-17

13:1 It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. 

 

2 The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

 

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"

 

7 Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."

 

8 "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet."

 

Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."

 

9 "Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"

 

10 Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you." 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

 

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. 13 "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. NIV

 

Earthly rulers desire recognition and praise. The Caesars in Rome even command citizens to worship them. Jesus teaches us to do our duty and forget about the recognition.

 

Luke 17:7-10

7 "Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, 'Come along now and sit down to eat'? 8 Would he not rather say, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink'? 9 Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'" NIV

 

Jesus was exalted to God’s right hand because he came to this earth to exalt us though serving our needs. Christianity is not designed to bring men cowering to one another or to God. Christ came to lift us up to God.

 

Conclusion:

 

Jesus could have called twelve legends of angels to force men to do what he commanded. Instead he chose to be crucified.

 

Matthew 26:48-54

 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed him.

 

50 Jesus replied, "Friend, do what you came for."

 

Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus' companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

 

52 "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"  NIV

 

Sadly, Jesus’ attitude of desiring to follow the Scripture’s path to greatness is the missing link in the world and in the church. We need to find him in the worst way.

 

Jesus Christ may be the missing link in your life. Why don’t you invite him into your life so that he can reconnect you to God?

 

Gospel of Christ is God’s message give to save us (Romans 1:16).

 

You must listen to what Christ instructs you to do (Romans 10:17).

 

You must believe Christ message and follow his instructions.

 

You must confess Christ (Matthew 10:31-32).

 

You must repent of your sins (Luke 13:3).

 

You must be baptized into Christ, it is the only place forgiveness can be found (Acts 2:38)

 

You must arise out of baptism to follow Christ (Romans 1:1-6).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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