Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The early morning skies were clear and the air chilly as I heard the automatic brew start on the coffee pot in the kitchen. The aroma of Gevalia's Kona blend was soon wafting through the house. As I began to get around, I realized that the house was very cool - so I turned the fireplace on. Yes, I know, I wish I could build a fire...but our home came with an gas insert, so I just turn it on. I hope to get into November before having to fire up the furnace.

I was reading Luke 2 this morning. The "Christmas" passage. What struck me in an interesting fashion is verse 25: "...And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him..." It was the phrase "looking for the consolation of Israel" that grabbed my attention. This word consolation is the Greek word: paraklesis. Perhaps it doesn't immediately ring familiar in your mind. A closely related word: parakletos might be more familiar. The first is a word that means something along the lines of "a coming to one's aid; an encouragement, an exhortation". The second is a word used of both the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ in the New Testament. It is translated "Helper" of the Holy Spirit in John's gospel and "Advocate" of Jesus Christ in John's first epistle.

Now, back to Luke 2. It was this godly man Simeon who was looking for the consolation, or the One from whom aid would come, to Israel. This word clearly is a reference to Jesus Christ. Jesus was the consolation, the encouragement, the One from whom aid would come! I love the way that Scripture refers to God. I am always seeking out the names of God, as well as, terms that reveal more about Him to me. Terms such as: the God of hope (Romans 15), the God of love and peace (2 Corinthians 13), the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1)... By the way, did you know that the word "comfort" in 2 Corinthians is the same word "consolation" in Luke 2? Isn't Scripture wonderfully consistent?

So, what does it mean to me? Well, to keep the context of the text, Jesus Christ was clearly coming to be the Messiah for His people. He was coming to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. It was to these Jews He would come as their Comforter, their Consolation. Upon their rejection He did offer Himself to the Gentiles - for which I am now eternally grateful!!

I have these things as comfort / consolation / encouragement (all the same word) now in my life:
1. Jesus Christ - my Consolation, my Advocate
2. Holy Spirit - my Helper, my Comforter
3. Scripture itself - my Encouragement (Romans 15:4 - "...that through perseverance and encouragement (paraklesis) of the Scriptures we might have hope..."

I don't know what you are facing in life. I pray that you come to realize the comfort that is found only in a wonderful relationship with Jesus Christ as your Lord, Savior and Consolation, the Holy Spirit as your Helper and the Scriptures as your continual Encouragement.

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