Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 3 Study # 6
Thesis: The Master Plan is to bring Peace to Israel.
Introduction: In our studies of the introduction to Simeon's prophetic utterances, we have seen that the "Big Picture" has to do with resolving the problem between the Creator and the creation. That "problem" was created by both the creature's rebellion against the Creator's objective and methods and the Creator's "just" response. The "uncleanness" issue and the "purification" rites addressed this. The "presentation" of the firstborn son as an agent of the Task addressed this. Even the nature of the sacrificial birds as both burnt offering and sin offering addressed this.
Now, in our study this morning, we are going to see that the same theme absolutely dominates Luke's presentation. As we "plug the details into the larger picture", we are compelled by the terminology to see what the "Issue" is: the methodological focus upon "Peace" as a key factor in the Master Plan.
May 29, 2005
- I. What Is the Master Plan?
- A. The answer is given in Simeon's "looking": what the text calls "the consolation of Israel".
- 1. First, the "problem" for "Israel".
- a. It is a combination problem.
- 1) It is a problem of being compelled to function within a context of severe external conflict.
- a) There is an enormous, and tenacious, "kingdom of opposition" that is dead-set against the Master Plan.
- i. This kingdom is fundamentally angelic: Ephesians 6:12.
- ii. This kingdom is fundamentally fueled by deceptive spiritual powers above and beyond human capacities: Ephesians 2:1 and 1 Timothy 4:1.
- iii. This kingdom uses human beings as visible surrogates in an invisible warfare.
- b) Israel, chosen by Yahweh to be His fundamental visible instrument in this "clash of the Titans", is the primary target of the "kingdom of opposition" as it goes about attempting to frustrate the Master's Plan.
- c) Thus, we discover Israel under the dominion of both Caesar and Herod as key tools of the Kingdom of Darkness and suffering the consequences of the presence and activities of the opposition.
- 2) It is a problem of being compelled to function within a context of severe internal conflict.
- a) The problem for Israel was not just "without"; it was also "within".
- i. "Israel" got its name from the name change that occurred when Jacob wrestled with God in Genesis 32.
- ii. Jacob's "problem" was not just that he had a conniving father-in-law with whom he no longer felt safe, nor that he was headed back to the homeland where he was faced with Esau whose last impressions upon Jacob were of murder. His "problem" was that he had been the cause of both sets of difficulties because of his own conniving and treachery.
- b) The problem was not just "Israel's" problem as Paul pointedly revealed in Romans 7: it is a universal problem that man is driven by the Law of Sin in his own members.
- b. It plagues some folks more than others: Simeon was "looking for" the solution.
- 1) The vast majority of people are actively engaged in cooperating with the "kingdom of opposition" without much resistance because the "initial payback" is sufficiently satisfying to squelch the absence of joy.
- 2) But, there are the "Simeons" who have been brought to a taste of joy and seriously long for, and fully expect, the fulness of joy to come.
- 2. Then, there is what the text calls the "consolation".
- a. It is a combination "solution".
- 1) The word translated "the consolation" is the very word Jesus used in John 14:16 where He called both Himself and the Holy Spirit "Comforters".
- 2) By this method, Jesus revealed that the "solution" was going to be a "fix" for both the external and internal conflict issues.
- a) The external issues were to be placed last in the scheme of things, and Jesus is going to address these as Zacharias said in 1:71.
- b) The internal issues were to be placed first in the scheme of things, and the Holy Spirit is going to address these as He applies the redemptive works of Jesus to the hearts of the "Simeons" of this world.
- c) Once the internal issues have been addressed, the external issue will be.
- b. It works better for some folks than others: there were many "just" folks in Jerusalem, but there were not many "devout".
- 1) The "righteous" issue is the issue of personal faith in the provision of God for a just standing before God: Genesis 15:6, Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 5:1.
- 2) The "devout" issue is the issue of where that "justification" takes the one who has "believed".
- a) Abram was "justified by faith", as was "Jacob".
- b) Abram was "devout" but Jacob was not.
- i. The word means that one has drunk deeply enough of the joy of peace with God to long for much more.
- ii. The longing has created a sensitivity within that makes one very cautious about pressing one's agenda at the expense of God's.
- iii. Most folks take most of their lifetime to even get to the threshold of this "cautionary attitude".
- B. The answer is given in Simeon's identity and location.
- 1. Simeon was a "man" whose name was "Simeon".
- a. The Master's Plan addresses Israel only in terms of individual "men".
- 1) The text focuses upon the "man" by using the term twice emphatically.
- 2) The focus upon the individual signals God's plan's focus that fundamentally ignores the "masses" and settles in on the "one".
- b. The Master's Plan addresses the individuals as the "Simeons" of this world.
- 1) The name arises from the Genesis 29:33 context of Yahweh's "hearing that I am hated".
- a) According to Genesis 29:31, it was Yahweh's sympathy for "the hated" that moved Him to act on her behalf.
- b) Yahweh knows the complications that the "problem" has created and He has an abundance of mercy for those who suffer because of it as Mary said in 1:48-54.
- 2) It is not the "haters" for whom Yahweh has sympathy.
- 3) In His sympathy He offers the "Simeons" a new identity: Peter, a small manifestation of the larger Rock: Matthew 16:18.
- 2. Simeon was "in Jerusalem".
- a. Jerusalem is first introduced in 2:22 and it is a point of focus here.
- b. Jerusalem is where the "problem" rages.
- 1) The name means "the foundation of Peace".
- 2) The illustration is the two prominent "mounts" that make up the upper and lower city.
- 3) The point is that the city is where the two "mountains" have come into the apex of their conflict.
- 4) The fact is that the Kingdom of Yahweh has, and will, triumph over the kingdom of opposition by using the very activities of opposition to accomplish the triumph.
- c. Jerusalem will become the final solution as the City of Peace ruled by the Prince of Peace.