Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor
Volume IV, Issue LII
The Future, the Babe of Bethlehem
The 'other' weekly news magazine this week asks "Want to Know My Future" [click to read] as it looks at our ability to gain new understanding from DNA testing. The poor little baby on the cover is surrounded by potentially predictable diseases and captioned: "New genetic tests can point to risks, but not always a cure." Sadly, what happens when a central bureaucracy, strapped for healthcare dollars, decides that some individuals are simply too expensive to care for? The potential of early treatment and prevention is overshadowed by the dark specter of arbitrary withholding of treatment... or worse.
DNA is not the ultimate factor in determining a person's success in life, however. We all know of people who have overcome health challenges to become great; and well blessed persons who squandered their advantage. Dare we explore the potential that exists in the unseen realms of human existence...
His parents were poor, coming to the Temple with two turtledoves (the poor person's alternative to a lamb), to redeem the child as required by the Law. Certainly the simple carpenter and his young wife did not command unusual attention. They were simple people meeting a religious obligation from their simple means.
But Simeon, who is simply identified as a righteous man, not necessarily a priest or religious leader, comes forth with an amazing statement. This "righteous and devout" man was "looking for the consolation of Israel." The time was not a time of great spiritual revelations, in fact, there had been 400 years without a major written prophecy. Simeon had the assurance, however, that he would see the Messiah before he died.
Beginning in Genesis 12, G-d promises that: "all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." Yet, the promise of Isaiah 42:6: "I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the gentiles" does not find fulfillment until Simeon recites the promise over the Babe of Bethlehem.
Indeed, the promise of Christ is radical transformation: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." -- 2 Corinthians 5:17. Such a bold statement asserts that in Christ a person can be way more than his genetic code suggests.
A New King... A New Kingdom
Cerainly the promise is seen on a personal level, but there is more as Scripture asserts that Christ shall redeem and rule the World. Modern men may scoff, but in the previous issue of THYME, we see Pilate take this matter very seriously. Herod, the ruler at the time of Jesus' birth, reacted in the following manner:
“And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the
people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And
they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by
the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least
among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that
shall rule my people Israel.” -- Matthew 2:4-6
The Gospel of Matthew goes on to record that Herod took this prophecy seriously. He was willing to inflict genocide on Judea rather than see a threat to his throne. Isaiah 60 talks of this new Kingdom, as does Hebrews 11, where it speaks of the hope the Saints of old had for G-d's rule!
The great hymn Joy to the World [click to read] speaks of the hope of this Kingdom! The link to the Jesus Film Project below will provide even more of the story of the amazing life we celebrate this time of year.
Graphic by Kristina Elaine Riley.