“A Gift of Inestimable Value”
Jeremiah 33:17–26 is filled with language that draws from the many saving acts of God in the Old Testament to describe a day in the future when one person would fulfill the longings and expectations of God’s people. Jeremiah describes this Righteous Branch from the house of David as a King who will execute justice and righteousness in the land. In addition to fulfilling the Davidic expectation of being a righteous King, this Righteous Branch will also be a Priest who will offer sacrifices to the Lord on behalf of the people. He will be the one descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and be the source of blessing to a multitude of people more numerous than the stars in the heavens or the grains of sand in the sea. According to Jeremiah, judgment will not be the last word the people receive from the Lord. Instead, the Lord promises to restore their fortunes and have mercy on them through the Righteous Branch from the house of David.
Anna and Simeon have spent their lives longing to see the fulfillment of such Messianic expectations. Both are advanced in years and likely have seasons in which they wonder if the Messiah will come before they depart the earth. Then, one day it happens. Mary and Joseph bring their baby boy to the Temple to present him to the Lord in accordance with the Law of Moses, and the Lord reveals to Simeon and Anna that this boy is the one for whom they have been waiting. He will be a light to the Gentiles and for the people of Israel. As the Christmas carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem” puts it, in Jesus Christ, “the hopes and fears of all the years” are met in Jesus Christ.
As you celebrate Christmas, don’t lose sight of the true significance of all that we have been given in Jesus Christ. He is the true and better King from the house of David who rules in justice and righteousness. He is the true and better Priest who offered himself up as the once-and-for-all sacrifice for our sins so that we might be reconciled to God. He is the faithful offspring of Abraham through whom we have been adopted into God’s family. Let us join Anna and Simeon in praising God for allowing our eyes to see the birth of our long awaited Savior!