When someone mentions the apocalypse, I wonder what pops into your mind? Do you think of the sun growing dark or the moon turning to blood? To you imagine chaos in the streets, rioting, looting, and things burning? Do you imagine war and death and horror? Are these the signs of an apocalypse? Do you imagine a catclysm of epic proportions?
These may be signs of the apocalypse, but I want to say that there is a sign of the apocalypse that is far more familiar and wonderful. We are about to celebrate the dawn of the apocalypse. It did not begin with a great deal of fanfare.
The apocalypse began, and I use the term "began" very loosely, with a silent invasion. It was not a massive army that invaded, but a single subversive. He did not ride in on a war horse, he came as a baby, the son of a poor carpenter of Nazareth named Joseph.
You may have not thought of Jesus as being a sign of the apocalypse. You have probably never thought of Christmas as a time to commemorate the greatest invasion in the history of the world. But he is a sign of the apocalypse. The innocent baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger came to bring a sword, to ultimately slay all of his enemies, and to rule the world with a rod of iron. This baby will celebrate on Christmas will make the mountains quake, he will shake the stars from the heavens, and he will smite the world by the words from his mouth. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, and the rule of his kingdom will never end.
Simeon knew this. Simeon was a godly man who lived for the day of this king's arrival, this rebel who would overthrow the prince of darkness. Simeon took the baby from the arms of his young mother and said, "Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed" (Luke 2:34). Simeon saw that this baby was the beginning of the end of the world as it was, and that he would usher in the world to come.
I know that many of you that read my blog believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and I know that some of you do not. I beg you all to consider this sign again. When you pass a nativity, even a cheesy nativity, and you look at that scene of the donkey and sheep and doting mother and father, please consider what you see. Consider who this baby is that angels announce his birth. That so many, myself included, swear to their last breath that this little baby is the future King of Earth, the defeater of Death, and the scourge of Satan. Are we Christians all mad? Am I insane? Maybe. Or maybe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
Is it true, or is it not true that this baby would grow up to be crucified and then rise from the dead? Did he come out of the tomb or didn't he? If he didn't, then I am a fool. If he did, then you are a fool if you do not consider what I say. Take heed this Christmas season in the midst of your giving and receiving of gifts. You are celebrating something as old as the fallen world: the promise of an apocalypse. This child has come for judgment, both yours and the world.
My dear friends, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas. Above all, I want you to see that Jesus Christ is Lord. It is true! The little baby did grow up and conquer sin, death, and hell. Won't you at least consider the possibility? And if you already believe it, I hope that you will believe it enough to tell someone how Jesus brought the sword to your own soul.
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