Luke 2:34, 35
And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel…
We do not suppose that Simeon saw the future course of the Savior and of his gospel in clear outline; but, taught of God, he foresaw that that little Child he had been holding in his arms would be One who would prove a most powerful factor in his country's history; and he saw that relationship to him would be a source of the greatest blessing, or of weightiest trouble, or of most serious condemnation. Thus guided by this venerable saint, we will regard the gospel of Christ as -
I. A TOUCHSTONE. Our Lord himself was a touchstone by which the men of his day were tried. He came not to judge the world, but to save the world, as he said (John 12:4-7); and yet it was also true that "for judgment he came into the world," as he also said (John 9:39). His mission was not to try, but to redeem; yet it was a necessary incidental consequence of his coming that the character of the men who came in contact with him would be severely tested. When the Truth itself appeared and moved amongst men, then it became clear that those who were ignorantly supposed to be blind were the souls that were seeing God ("that they who see not might see"), and equally clear that those who claimed to know everything had eyes that were fastened against the light ("that they who see might be made blind"). As Jesus lived and wrought and spoke, the hearts of men were revealed - those who were children of wisdom heard his voice (John 18:37), while those who loved darkness rather than light turned away from the revealing Truth. And today the gospel is the touchstone of human character. They who are earnest seekers after God, after wisdom, after righteousness, gladly sit at the feet of the great Teacher to learn of him; but they who live for pleasure, for gain, for the honor that cometh from man only, for this passing world, pass him by, indifferent or hostile. They who are prepared to come as little children to learn of the heavenly Father, receive his Word and enter his kingdom (Luke 18:16); while they who consider themselves able to solve the great problems of life and destiny keep their minds closed against the truth.
II. A SWORD OF SORROW. It was not only Mary's heart that was pierced by reason of her affection for Jesus Christ. Loyalty to him proved to that generation, and has proved in every age since then, a sword that has wounded and slain. At many times and in many places it has meant violent persecution - stripes, imprisonment, death. In every land and in every age it has exposed men to hostility, to reproach, to temporal loss, to social disadvantage, to a lower station, to a struggling life, to a wounded spirit (Luke 9:23; John 17:14; 2 Timothy 3:12). Our Lord invites us to regard this inevitable accompaniment of spiritual integrity as an honor and a blessing rather than a stigma and a curse (Matthew 5:10-12).
III. A STUMBLING-STONE. That "Child was set for the fall... of many." The truth which Jesus spoke, the great work of salvation he wrought out, has proved to many, not only in Israel, but in every land where it has been made known, a rock of offense (see Luke 20:18; 1 Corinthians 1:23).
IV. A STEPPING-STONE. Not only for the fall, but for the "rising again," was that Infant "set." By planting their feet on that safe, strong rock, the humiliated and even the degraded rise to honor and esteem, the humble to hopefulness, the weak to strength, the blemished to beauty, the useless to helpfulness, the children of earth to spheres of blessedness and joy in the heavenly world. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;