And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. Luke 2: 25
This is an unusual label for Jesus, isn't it? We don't normally sing of this name nor use it in everyday conversation, but I hope this post will increase our understanding and cause us to savor Jesus all the more.
I can't imagine what it would've been like to have been a Jew in the Bible times. They had gone through their share of tribulation and battles. Being displaced from their homes was not uncommon and oppression was often their plight. They longed for the Messiah to come and redeem them. They were invested in the hope of this Savior. Growing up in the USA has been so comfortable that few of us can imagine the longing that the Jews had for the Messiah to save them. Even though most of us cannot relate to their culture, God's Word still speaks deeply to our hearts as we consider Jesus as our consolation.
Have you ever wanted something so badly that you could taste it? Maybe it's just out of reach or maybe it's something you've hoped for, but don't know if it could ever really happen. The longing feels insatiable. It overrides our thoughts and we don't feel like we're satisfied until that need is met.
I know that I seek all sorts of things trying to fulfill my deepest needs. Sometimes it's a friend's comforting words in my pain, other times it's a phone call for wisdom when I have a ton of questions. I might go crazy cleaning my house to attain a calm in my chaos or...okay, this one hits me right in the gut...that hidden stash of chocolate often does the trick when I'm seeking satisfaction.
Every single person, whether Jew or Gentile, believing or unbelieving, seeks something or someone to console their deepest needs. We're just made that way. Singers have called it "having a God-shaped hole", but ultimately it comes down to the fact that we humans were made in God's image and were once in a perfect relationship with Him, and now we're not (because of sin).
We console our deepest needs through a whole litany of things: food, fancy homes, cool clothes, shopping sprees, drugs, great cars, sex, working like crazy, sleeping, money...the list goes on and on. Sooner or later, though, we need more. Nothing satisfies.
Nothing apart from Christ, that is. And, Simeon and Anna (Luke 2: 38) knew this. They knew that this Christ child that they were meeting after a life-long wait was the only way to satisfy all our deep longings. Praise God that Christ is OUR consolation. All that we've been longing for is finally satisfied in Him. As John Piper has said: "So...set your heart on Christ because if there is any deep longing in your heart for a consolation and comfort that this world cannot satisfy, it is because God is preparing you to recognize and receive his gift: Jesus Christ, the consolation of Israel. Don't seek it anywhere but in Him."
Here's a link to a tremendous song that speaks of our satisfaction in Christ alone.