In Nomine Iesu!
In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Prayer in Pulpit before Sermon:
Most Merciful God, Who out of love didst give Thine only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life, vouchsafe unto us, we humbly pray Thee, the precious gift of faith, whereby we may know the Son of God is come, and, being always rooted and grounded in the mystery of the Word made flesh, may have power to overcome the world, and gain the blessed immortality of Heaven; through the merits of this same incarnate Christ, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior + Jesus Christ. Amen.
St. Simeon in the section before our Gospel reading from the Evangelist St. Luke, proclaims all the good things that this Child would do for His people. He would be their Savior. This reading we will hear on February 2nd, the Festival of the Presentation of our Lord and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. These words that St. Simeon spoke about this Child were amazing and wonderful words. St. Luke in our Gospel reading for today states that both St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary marveled at the things that were spoken about this forty-day-old Child by St. Simeon in the temple of the Lord God.
They marveled because the things spoken about this Child were hard to believe. How could this seemingly normal, healthy Baby Boy do all of those great things that St. Simeon prophesied about Him. To all eyes that looked upon this Child, all they could see was another Jewish Baby Boy Who was brought to the temple of the Lord, so that His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, could obey the Law of Moses that prescribed her purification. Our Lord’s parents also marveled because the Child that St. Simeon had taken up into His arms was the Baby that they had been raising and caring for the last forty days. He just looked like another Child, He did not look like the Lord God Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and Earth.
How can the Lord God, the Creator of the world, be this Baby Boy? How could the Lord God dwell among His people in the Person of this Boy + Jesus? The Lord God had come down from Heaven and taken upon Himself our flesh, all so that He could redeem us back from sin, death and the power of the devil. This is too wonderful to believe! It is no wonder that His parents marveled at the words of St. Simeon. The words of the Prophet Simeon also should cause us to marvel, for this is our Lord God who has become a Baby Boy, born of our flesh, but without sin, so that He might rescue us from sin, death and the power of the devil. He has come to give us forgiveness of sins, eternal life and salvation. He does this by humbling Himself to be born of our flesh. It is truly a marvelous thing!
But St. Simeon in our Gospel reading from the Evangelist St. Luke today also tells His parents that this Lord God Who is also Man would be the cause of the falling and rising of many in Israel. He would be the fall of all the unbelieving world, who would reject Him on account of Who He is. He would be the rising of all those who cling to Him in faith; all those who cling to His works and merits on their behalf. Not everyone would believe on the Lord + Jesus. Not everyone clings to Him in faith. Not everyone rejoices at His works done on their behalf. No, many rather speak against the works and merits of the Christ.
Many have denied that the Lord + Jesus is in fact the Lord God incarnate. Some say that the Lord + Jesus was born of a woman and a man, just like we are. They deny that He is the Lord God. They believe He is just a man, like we are. Others believe the opposite is true that the Lord + Jesus only appears to have a human body, that He only has a Divine nature. Others taught that He was not fully God, but was adopted by the heavenly Father to be God. These all attack the Person of the Lord + Jesus either denying His divinity, or denying His humanity. That the Lord God has taken upon our flesh and dwells among us is a sign that is spoken against. Such false teachings reveal the false hearts of those who believe these errors.
But these are not the only things about our Lord + Jesus that are spoken against. This world speaks against the cross and death of our Lord. They either teach that He was just another Man Who was crucified, and that His death meant nothing. Or, they teach that only the human part of the Lord + Jesus died on the cross, that His divinity did not die. This separates the two natures from the One Person. The Person of the Lord + Jesus died according to both His divine and human natures. It had to be this way for Him to truly atone for our sins. The Lord God in the Person of the Son of God had to die on our behalf in order to redeem from sin and death.
Even while our Lord + Jesus was on the cross suffering and dying on our behalf His revilers spoke against Him. He was mocked by the scribes and the Pharisees. Even the two thieves that were crucified with Him mocked Him and ridiculed Him, until one of them repented and clung instead to the promises found alone in the Lord + Jesus. His reviler they beat Him, whipped Him, scourged Him, mocked Him, spat upon Him. They plucked out the hair on His cheeks. They crowned His head with a crown of thorns, and nailed Him to a tree, even though He was innocent of the crimes accused against Him.
They gave Him gall mixed with vinegar to drink. They reviled Him on the cross demanding that if He had saved others, that He should save Himself. They pierced His side with a spear so that blood and water flowed out. They did all this because they refused to believe that the Lord God had come down in our flesh to dwell with us and be our Savior. They spoke against Him being the Lord God, and so they crucified Him as a man, not believing that this Man could not only redeem Him by His death, but raise Himself up again on the third day.
Therefore, in the same way that they speak against the Lord’s cross and death, they also speak against His resurrection. If He did not really die, how could He have risen from the dead? He was only sleeping these false teachers say. Others believe He rose from the dead, but now teach that the risen Lord + Jesus cannot be all places at all times. Or, that He cannot be physically in the Upper Room with His Apostles. They teach falsely that the Lord + Jesus cannot be present in His Blessed Sacrament in His Body and Blood in, with, and under the bread and wine. The death, resurrection, and Sacraments of our Lord are spoken against by the unbelievers.
Our Lord + Jesus, our Lord and Savior from sin, death and the power of the devil; our Lord and Savior Who gives all those who cling to Him in faith, forgiveness, life and salvation, is spoken against by all those who find His works and merits too wonderful and marvelous to believe. St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary—His parents—marveled at the prophecies that were spoken of this Child, and they believed the all the words that were spoken by St. Simeon. We too cling in faith to the promises declared not only by St. Simeon, but by all the prophets, indeed, of all the promises declared through the Apostles and prophets of the entire holy Scripture. For we believe that this Man + Jesus is the incarnate Son of God, Who has come down from Heaven to be and dwell with us, His creation, so that He might save us from our sin, and free us from death. He is our rising out of death into life. He is our rising out of darkness into light. We cling to our Light and Life like a burr on a dress, for He is the Savior of the whole world.
Let those all those who find this news to be too wonderful take heed lest they fall. For He has come to redeem all mankind from their sins. He has suffered and died for the sins of the whole world. Those who reject Him—who continue in their unbelief—will find themselves cast out into the outer darkness of Hell where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. All those who cling to Him in faith—the faith gifted to us by the work of the Holy Ghost through the means of grace—will be raised again from the dead on the Last Day, and join Him and all the saints and angels of Heaven in singing the eternal Liturgy of the Lamb in His Kingdom which has no end. There we will eternally marvel at all the good things our Lord + Jesus has done for us poor, miserable sinners, so that He might cloth us eternally with His righteousness.
Therefore, my dear friends, let us depart in peace according to His Word, for our eyes of faith have seen the salvation of our Lord and Savior + Jesus Christ, Who has redeemed us all from sin, death, and the power of the devil, and given us forgiveness, life and salvation. In the Name of our Lord + Jesus Christ. Amen.
Prayer in Pulpit after Sermon:
Lord God, Heavenly Father, Who by the mouth of Simeon didst declare that Jesus Christ is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, we beseech Thee, enlighten our hearts with true knowledge of Thy Son, that, in adversities and perils, we may not be offended in Him, but cling to Him, and rise through Him, and abide in Him, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amen.
Soli Deo Gloria!