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Characters of Christmas, The Waiters

Characters of Christmas, Message 2, The Waiters  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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There are different ways of waiting. We wait with expectation and excitement. We wait with doubt. We wait with dread. What are you waiting for?

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Matthew 1:18–2:12 ESV
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “ ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ” Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
Twice in just a few verses we hear that Simeon and Anna are waiting of the redemption of Israel. They were waiting on a savior.
Luke 2:1–38 ESV
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “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.” And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
Twice in just a few verses we hear that Simeon and Anna are waiting of the redemption of Israel. They were waiting on a savior.
Twice in just a few verses we hear that Simeon and Anna are waiting of the redemption of Israel. They were waiting on a savior.
We today are often waiting on all kinds of things. We tend to wait in at least three ways. I believe we see these same three ways evidenced in scripture.
We wait in expectation or excitement
We wait in doubt
We wait in dread
Let’s take a deeper look at these ways of waiting and see how the Christmas story helps us with each. We will work our way backwards. We will start with number three.

WAIT WITH DREAD

Matthew 2:3 ESV
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;
Simeon was told that he would not see death before
(TAH RASSO)

25.244 ταράσσωb: (a figurative extension of meaning of ταράσσωa ‘to stir up,’ 16.3) to cause acute emotional distress or turbulence—‘to cause great mental distress.’ ἐνεβριμή-σατο τῷ πνεύματι καὶ ἐτάραξεν ἑαυτόν ‘he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly distressed’ Jn 11:33; τὸν δὲ φόβον αὐτῶν μὴ φοβηθῆτε, μηδὲ ταραχθῆτε ‘do not be afraid of them and do not be distressed’ 1 Pe 3:14.

2:3 he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. The arrival of this true King of the Jews presents a threat to Herod the Great’s throne and to Israel’s corrupt religious and political leadership in Jerusalem (cf. note on 21:10).

We wait with dread when either we, or our way of life is threatened or at least could be threatened.

Matthew 10:28 ESV
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

We do not dread salvation, we dread judgement.

If it was salvation we would be looking forward to it not afraid of its coming.
Because we do not all know salvation, some of us wait in dread. Herod’s world and rule was about to come to an end and he was troubled.

Are you troubled by the coming of the Lord Jesus?

WE WAIT IN DOUBT

Matthew 2:7–9 ESV
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.

Why didn’t he go right then himself?

He knew the prophecies but, he doubted the prophecies.

There are those today who have similar doubts.

You are waiting with a “we will wait and see” type of viewpoint.

You have doubts.
In this case, you may even want it to be true. Herod didn’t but you may. Maybe it sounds to good to be true.
You ask questions like;
Can this really be true?
or
Can I really be forgiven?
1 John 1:9 ESV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Isaiah 6:5 ESV
And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
1 John 1:9 ESV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Romans 3:23 ESV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 6:23 ESV
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 5:8 ESV
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Matthew 1:21 ESV
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Romans 8:1 ESV
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
WE WAIT WITH EXCITEMENT
Luke 2:25–35 ESV
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “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 2:25-

I want to see the Lord

I want to see Him face to face. The one who saved my soul.

I want to see the baby, that became the man, that was the Messiah and died for my sins.

What gift this Christmas could be more exciting than that?

Luke 2:34 ESV
And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed
Luke 2:38 ESV
And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
Luke 2:34
Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains 33.351 ἐξομολογέομαι; ἀνθομολογέομαι

ἀνθομολογέομαι: to acknowledge one’s thankfulness, restricted in NT usage to contexts in which God is the one being thanked—‘to thank, to give thanks to.’

(Lee Tro Sees)
Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains 37.128 λυτρόομαι; λύτρωσις, εως; ἀπολύτρωσις, εως

to release or set free, with the implied analogy to the process of freeing a slave—‘to set free, to liberate, to deliver, liberation, deliverance.’

What a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas! Set free, ransomed, redeemed.

John 14:1–3 ESV
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
John 14

Won’t you decide today to wait with excitement rather than doubt or dread?

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